A long time ago we published a blog post hypothesising on a similar situation: a sales representative and a marketer walking into a bar, but the question we asked was: who pays for the drinks?
Today I want to tell you how to use your professional skills to get a free drink. It's an open secret that sales and marketing are the reason for office parties: getting those to departments to align is a challenge for every organization. Now we even deal with sales enablement: what marketers should do to ease sales' tasks. There is strong link between sales and marketing, just one simple word that we hear and read about everyday. No, it's not revenue. It's content.
In today's digital world, content is the voice of your brand. The voice that turns visitors into an audience, customers into brand ambassadors. However, if you want to take your brand from good to great, content is essential. You might not agree that content is king, but it is the glue that holds sales reps and marketers together. It is the ultimate enablement tool for both teams. Content-driven inbound marketing is a powerful way to grow an online business and increase brand awareness, find leads and increase brand loyalty.
So let's dive into this list of the four most cherished skills when it comes to content selling. If you want that free drink (and also high performance and optimised conversion rates), you had better start practicing.
1. Be an amazing listener: perceive
Lead nurturing starts with getting to know your prospects thoroughly and then crafting a strategy. Marketing automation capabilities suit this well as a starting point. Once you've "met" your prospects and are aware of their demographic and behavioural nature, it's time to start a conversation. How? By asking questions and more importantly, listening carefully to their answers. It is crucial to make sure you are not doing all the talking. Instead, let the prospect feel able to thoroughly discuss their problems and guide you towards understanding their needs. From there, be open for collaboration with your lead. Present to your prospect the array of products and services available and let them decide which solution will best fit their needs. The personal approach will increase the sense of trust and loyalty towards you and the company you are representing.
2. Be the expert: educate
We've become accustomed to having all the necessary information at our fingertips (literally, if your mobile is in your hand and your mobile Internet is working). You need to make your product/services information available and you need to constantly feed it to your prospects. Constantly develop your expertise beyond the scope of products/services you are trying to sell:demonstrate knowledge about industry trends, best practices or key observations, and build a reputation as a trusted source of intelligence. Alignment between marketing and sales is a crucial aspect of content selling, with regards to sales reps being able to map the right content asset at the right time. And keep in mind that every educational asset/material you share with your prospect needs to be personalised: refer to a specific chapter of a white paper, paragraph of an article, statistical quote, etc. and explain how it is relevant for the potential buyer. This will show your expertise and awareness of trends and market environment, as well as build authority in the eyes of your prospect as a trustworthy source of highly relevant information.
3. Be ready to measure up: prove value
Developing clear ROI metrics is a needed reality check and one way to achieve competitive advantage. You have strong competitors whose products aren't in any way worse or less valuable than yours. You need to outline clear and specific ROI, based on previously discussed needs to show your prospects why they should choose you over your competitors. Use everything you have: visual content, graphics, videos, case studies, etc. to illustrate the value of your products/services and enabling your prospect to make an educated decision. Presenting a set of alternative solutions and respectively - their ROI, will position you as a trusted resource. Once again, full awareness and evaluation of content assets, achieved by synchronising efforts with the marketing team and their tools, such as Content Marketing Analysis, is more than necessary in your Toolbox.
4. Be mobile-friendly: personalise your approach
Whatever the stage in the buying cycle, sales reps need to have constant access to up-to-date, customised content collateral in order to deliver the highest value to their prospects in the most personalised way. Mobile technologies come in handy here (pun intended). Even though only 40% of salespeople are currently equipped with tablets, 70% of executives in sales organizations using tablets are already realizing ROI, according to The Sales Management Association. Mobile sales enablement allows field sales reps to present ROI metrics for their own products/companies, but also demonstrate and evaluate alternative solutions while still in the sales meeting. You will also provide your sales reps with a constant access to a broad range of content collateral so that they are always prepared. Even if the prospect demands unusual material.
Mobile technologies enable sales reps with instant and constant access to tangible assets to justify their own expertise and to illustrate the ROI metrics in a timely manner. Keep in mind that any type of content asset from the corporate library can have an impact on the lead's decision and nurture him towards conversion, so your sales reps will need access to it.
So how do you get that free drink? Try summarising this post to a fellow marketer/sales person in the bar. They will either get you one as a thank you for the insight. Or get you one so that you stop talking about work. Let us know how it goes.