Traditionally, content was often thought of as a marketing tool; shared by sales folks when requested but otherwise left in marketers’ hands. But today, content’s role in the sales cycle has changed. Not only can it provide value, build trust and make people want to buy what you’re selling, but it also has the power to shorten sales cycles and convert prospects into customers. Here’s a look at how you can tap into this tool and experience the rewards.
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Focus on your Audience
When salespeople first start thinking about using content strategically, they typically think about the content itself. Makes sense, right? They want to figure out how they’ll use certain pieces and when. But this is backward. Instead, think of your audience. Which personas are you targeting, and how much do you know about them? How do they think, and what do they value? You need answers to these questions before you can move on to finding content that will resonate.
Next, consider the buyer journey and where this persona might be in it. Are they coming to you ready to make a purchase, or do they still need some information from you to share with their executives? Their stage of the journey – and all of their unique factors – should be taken into account before you ever start filtering through the pieces in your content library.
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Accessing the Right Content
If you read the words “content library,” and said, “huh?” – you might need to back up a few steps. The most sophisticated organizations have centralized and organized their content within a content experience platform, tagging each piece precisely based on persona, industry, company size, geography and stage of the buying journey. If yours hasn’t done this yet, that should come first. But don’t worry. Simply share this article with your marketing team, or offer to get the process started yourself. It takes some time and care to create an accessible content library, but the benefits reach far and wide.
Once you have your content in one place and tagged properly, it will be quick and easy for you to find the right content for the right prospect. Let’s say you’re putting together a sales package for a buyer who is the vice president of a software company, between 40 and 50 years old with an average annual income of $150,000. They have already reached the bottom of the funnel and expressed a lot of interest, so you just need to pull a sales package for them and you’re done… right?
Not so fast. The right content is nuanced, which is the reason for all the emphasis on ample tagging. If you grabbed a sales package asset for this buyer, without any context about company size, you could seriously miss the mark. Imagine sending a sales package created for the VP of a startup to a VP at a company like Oracle… you can see how that could lose you the sale in a snap. The enterprise VP would be looking for specific reports, technical specifications and legal compliance documents, among other requirements, and the absence of these things can make the buyer decide quickly that you don’t understand their needs. So, take care with how you search for and use content, going beyond mere persona alone.
When you’re aiming to convert prospects into customers and shorten the sales cycle, your top priority should be giving your audience exactly what they need. Accomplish this, and you’ll move them through the buyer journey much more efficiently than you would otherwise. By starting first with a focus on your audience, organizing your content and sharing only the most relevant, personalized pieces, you can do exactly that. Prepare to say hello to a smoother sales process, more satisfied buyers and higher conversion rates.
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