In B2B sales, the only thing we can depend on as constant is the buyer’s ever-changing needs and preferences. As the buyer gains an advanced ability to conduct detailed research and self-solve problems, the position of the B2B salesmanbecomes ever more difficult to define. It is now more challenging than ever to capture and keep potential buyer attention, maintaining influence throughout the buyer journey to ensure a purchasing decision is in your favor. The skill of the salesman is no longer the lynch-pin of success; in order to regain sales control, you need to embrace sales content…
Content selling: What does it mean?
Content selling combines the powerful collateral assets of content marketing with an effective sales process to nurture potential buyers in a fresh, revolutionary way. Recent studies show 95% of buyers purchase from the vendor who fed them relevant content throughout their buyer journey, proving how impactful content can be to a B2B sales strategy.
Content selling can be put into practice in several ways; whether your team communicates content to the buyer through email, automated workflow or social media, ensuring each and every prospect has access to the precise information they need throughout their journey is paramount. This content answers their immediate pain point queries whilst boosting product value by helping potential buyers understand how your product or service solves these pain-points and promises a positive return.
Content selling is a simple but highly effective approach. It maximizes assets your organization has already created through a previously established sales process to drive a highly targeted and efficient approach to winning new business.
Benefits of content selling
So, why should you embrace content selling? What value does this approach offer your sales team and your wider business results?
- Meet buyer needs: Recent studies into the buyer journey prove one key thing- your buyers always want content. Whether they look to assets for education, a deeper product understanding, or details related to contract or implementation, content is key to fuelling a purchasing decision. Embracing content selling helps your sales approach give buyers all the information they need whilst cleverly ensuring they encounter specific information you want them to discover.
- Align sales and marketing: Organizations who seamlessly combine these essential departments are 67% more likely to achieve success. However, this process of alignment is difficult. By working alongside marketing to create a widely accessible library of valuable content, you start to bridge the gap between these departments and additionally spread the costs of content creation. As both departments can maximize content to help achieve the desired results, this is the perfect way to align department processes and combine KPIs for streamlined business success.
- Adapt content to fit the sale: The beauty of embracing content as part of your B2B sales approach lies in its versatility. Different prospects will find different pieces of content beneficial at different times, and with a wide library of assets available, your team is always primed to offer a bespoke brand experience to each lead. Your team can select which content assets best suit the prospects industry, pain points and goals, ensuring they seamlessly deliver a relevant and insightful approach perfectly tailored to the potential buyer, propelling them closer to a purchasing decision.
- It costs nothing (or very little!): As we mentioned above, these assets are (usually) already created, or already part of your B2B marketing budget. All your team needs to do is have access to these assets and understand how they can use them to encourage the desired buyer progression. This may take a training session or two, but ultimately it doesn’t compromise your budget and helps your business achieve a return on your initial content marketing investment. Should you find content selling effective, you could look to invest in an automation software to trigger content sending; marketing can also benefit from this investment, you could even split it between departments to improve the likelihood of ROI!
Types of content to boost sales success
Effective content selling is (as you might imagine) dependent upon the content assets at your disposal. Let’s work through the three stages of the buyer journey to better understand which assets are particularly beneficial for a content selling strategy.
- Awareness assets: In the awareness stage, potential buyers have identified a business problem they wish to solve and then start to conduct research into the types of solution on offer. Assets such as blogs and eBooks relaying detailed, educational information surrounding the business pain points your product can solve are essential. Use these assets to establish your expertise in solving these commonly faced business problems, whilst gently introducing your product and its capabilities to benefit your potential buyer’s business.
Don’t focus too heavily on how your products or services are better than the rest. Instead, aim to enlighten buyers about what you do and how you can help them in a broad sense. What are the key benefits your services offer, and why are they important to the world of business? Before moving on from this stage, buyer’s would have identified the kind of solution they want and outlined their essential criteria for that solution. (i.e. price, features, use case/implementation details)
- Consideration assets: At this stage, buyers can start to stagnate as they consider which vendor to purchase from and justify their investment to business stakeholders. Your content assets must focus now on providing a return by, for example, using customer testimonials, explainer videos and infographics to help potential buyers understand exactly how your product will give them ROI. Your content needs to speak their language by maximizing industry-specific terms, proving to potential buyers why your brand and product is better than the rest and deserves their investment.
Potential buyers often ask difficult questions at this stage of their purchasing decision. They crave information surrounding competitors and pricing, so use content to creatively and effectively communicate your answers to these challenging questions.
Use the versatile mediums of content to neutrally and informatively explain how you differ from competitors. Make sure you justify your pricing structure and help potential buyers identify how they can secure ROI. Before moving onto the next stage, buyers must be sure they wish to purchase from you and understand how your product will seamlessly align with their current processes and business goals.
- Decision assets: At this stage, buyers want content surrounding the details of their purchase, such as contract terms, implementation guidance and best practice guides to prepare their team for this new investment. Buyers at this stage want to know how they can effectively use your specific product features to revolutionize results. You’ll need to look to produce step-by-step product guides, checklists and whitepapers, packed with plenty of highly branded content.
Look also to include customer testimonials rich in specific product detail, outlining how individual clients from your key target industries have maximized your product and what results they each achieved. Should your product have many varying use cases, be sure to create content specific to each one so future clients can quickly and easily understand everything they need to know about using your product.
Part of content selling success lies in understanding when to send these valuable content assets to those working through your pipeline. Timing is everything and sending the right content at the opportune moment could close you the sale! Using a tool like Lead Forensics, you can identify the businesses visiting your website, instantly learning when a potential buyer displays brand engagement with a site visit. Our software provides real time data and contact information for key decision makers, including email addresses and telephone numbers. This enables your team to maximize potential buyer engagement by sending rich, insightful content at the perfect moment, increasing their likelihood of sales success. Find out more- book your free demo today!
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