In the current world of marketing and sales, buyer behavior has changed and online content is crucial to being successful. In fact, The Content Marketing Institute states that, 9 out of 10 B2B marketers are using some form of content marketing. Furthermore, at least 81% of buyers do online research before making a purchase. With this new reality, here are tips for building an online content strategy that helps your salespeople be more successful.
Equip Your Salespeople With Content For All Phases of the Buying Funnel
The traditional buyers funnel is the journey from Unawareness to Awareness to Comprehension to Conviction and finally, to Action. Prospects who are unaware of what they need, but simply have questions they need answered, turn most often to Google. When they are met with quality online content in the first 1, maybe 2, pages of results that provide the needed information, they become aware of your business as a trusted resource.
Early in the Buying Funnel, most prospects who land on your site aren’t quite ready to buy yet. They are researching information and learning about what businesses can provide the needed solutions.They are comparing your products and services to competitors to find exactly what they want. With this to think about, remember that your blog and social media content meet prospects at the top of that funnel, before they ever have a conversation with a salesperson. Having content: blogs, videos, eBooks, podcasts, webinars etc will interest them when they are exploring your site. It helps them transition to the Comprehension step and builds your reputation as a trusted resource. Admittedly, someone may not likely be ready to buy from you after reading one blog post, but it starts a relationship - positioning you ahead of your competition as they move closer to making a purchase in the Conviction and Action phase.
Be strategic. Tailor content to fit the prospect’s specific needs and have information that relates to each phase of the buyer's journey. The information they are looking for evolves as they move closer to making a decision, so have content that is designed to meet a buyer at every stage. Remember, it’s about positioning your business as an industry leader, so having a well-developed blog section with a wide range of information for the prospect to turn to is key.
Don’t Push a Sale, Problem-Solve Instead
A word of caution. Quality online content is not a chance to shamelessly self-promote. Content that is constantly selling is a huge turn-off for prospects. A prospect will not want to work with someone who is just looking to make a sale. They will turn to a partner who is offering genuine helpful advice. Focus on helping them find a solution rather than trying to push and sell your product.
Sure, you're sharing information...information that will meet prospects where they are and will move you to the front of the line ahead of your competition. Think of it this way, prospects are going online for information anyway. You’re not going to stop them from researching prior to making a purchasing decision. Would you rather your competition have that early chance at a prospect before you? Reality is...it’s a part of the sales process that you can no longer ignore.
When sending these posts, you want to make sure that every single piece of content has a call-to-action included. If they are already reading a blog on getting leads, why not offer another piece of valuable content at the end? This will take them to the next step in their personal customer journey. Once someone subscribes, you will be able to track what they are looking for in the future, so you can stay one step ahead and send content before they even know they need it.
Once you know where content marketing fits into your sales funnel, you will know when and why you are sending specific content to specific prospects or customers. And, once people read your content and recognize you more as an industry leader, they will be more inclined to buy from you.