As CEO, you understand sales cycles, economic uncertainty, and rollercoaster sales rides. You've still been able to grow your business, but sales problems are a shadow over your success.
If you are trying to fix a sales problem, you need warmer leads yesterday. Enter B2B content marketing.
Integrating Content Marketing Into Your Sales Approach
Content marketing educates your prospects, and gives you the chance to show off your expertise. It builds rapport and trust, and yields tremendous insights into who is researching you and your products.
All of these things lead to warmer leads that close faster, sending you on the road to sales recovery. You just have to follow these steps to make it work.
1 - Identify Your Prospects' Drivers
You have to know your current buyers really well if you want produce content they'll appreciate. Define your buyer personas to nail this down. Personas are light years beyond the conventional target market because they dig deeper into who your best buyers are as people.
2 - Provide Information That Helps Your Prospects First, You Second
- What are the symptoms and problems that lead to the purchase of your product or service?
- What would your prospects research in Google to learn how to solve that problem?
- What are the considerations the prospect needs to make?
- What are the pros and cons of ALL possible solutions?
Start with these questions. Then, task your marketing team with writing the answers. This content has to be about the prospect's problem, NOT about your company's goals.
Focus on helping your prospect first, and the benefits you'll get second. In other words, don't be a salesperson. Be a consultant.
This educational approach produces sales prospects that are less guarded, and much warmer.
With a steady stream of warm prospects and leads, you're guiding your business to sales recovery.
3 - Distribute and Promote Your Content Where Prospects Hang Out
Your content will live on your blog and website for the most part. That means your marketing team needs to distribute your content in "outside" spaces where your prospects hang out.
Space number one is Google. Your content should be written around keywords that your prospect would use while researching their problem. This makes it much more likely that your content will show up in search results when prospects are searching.
Space number two is social media. Every industry is a little different, but you should test sharing your content on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. B2B seems to do best on LinkedIn. Your industry may have specific social sites as well.
Your social posts should not be ONLY your own content. Your marketing team should share other content that benefits your prospects. This builds goodwill with other social folks (leading to reciprocation) and helps your prospects.
Space number three is email. If you have a solid database of leads, customers, and prospects, you should send a weekly email sharing your helpful content.
4 - Use Your Analytics Tools to Target Prospects Intelligently
If you aren't using analytics tools on your website, you're missing out on the greatest benefit of B2B content marketing. Analytics show how many prospects are viewing your content, what content is performing best, and most importantly, who is viewing your content.
Prospecting is much easier when you know which companies are visiting and what topics they're viewing. Suddenly, you have great insight into what they're actually looking for. You then have a much more receptive prospect when you pick up the phone to connect.
5 - Use Your Content to Support Your Sales Process
No one likes being sold to, but we all like to have information that supports our buying decisions.
All of the helpful, educational content you write can be used in your sales process. When you have a call with a potential buyer, listen to their concerns, areas of confusion, and misconceptions. Do you have a blog post or guide that addresses that topic? Be the consultant and share a link to your content. This added value will go a long way to moving them down your funnel.
It's Time to Adapt Again
A sales slowdown requires your leadership to adjust course and adapt (again). B2B content marketing should be on your short list to get back on the path to strong sales.