Content marketing is the key to open the door to your social selling success. And, to walk through that door, you need slide content through the customer’s ‘mail slot’ to make a connection, build a relationship and help close the deal.
Yes, helping to frame the business opportunity and presenting features and benefits are essential. However, we do all of that with content. Successful sellers are writers and publishers!
Don’t See The Connection Between Content Marketing and Social Selling?
Don’t you see the content and selling connection? Well, your customers recognize the importance of great content to help them make a purchase decision. The best social selling teams and representatives are journalists and curators; delivering the right content to the right customer on the right channel at the right time of the sales cycle. Research shows customers’ native behavior includes searching, consuming content and self-educating. They certainly are NOT going through their summer reading list when they are online; they are busy working. Many are self-educating early in the sales cycle.
- Forrester research shows 90% of customers start their purchase with a search engine. Are they finding you? Provide the type of content to get you found early in the buying process on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Search. This is the secret sauce to beat and differentiate yourself from the competition.
- 46% of buyers consume content weekly. And, 37% spend time daily to get a better understanding of the application technology to business problems, reports ITSMA/CFO. Another research-report indicates buyers consume no less than 3-4 pieces of content to help them make their sales decision. You can be a part in providing that content.
- 45% of buyers require person-to-person contact in the buying process, reports ITSMA/CFO. And, what are customers looking for with this person-to-person contact? Expertise, which can take the form of content via a Twitter or LinkedIn relationship!
3 Ways To Source Content For Your Social Selling Strategy
Not all content is created equal and all content does not have to be built from scratch. Many conversations I’ve had with the thousands of sales representatives I have trained, center around where to find great content. Ultimately, it’s a sales executive’s job to pick the right content for the right conversation. They have to choose from where to source information over the course of a customer relationship or sales cycle.
- Create Your Own Content. Forrester reports 70% trust content provided by an individual, while 10% trust ads on websites (think about the tweets that point to the registration page). So, it makes sense for sales executives to create their own content. Check out this social-selling problem solver’s cloud blog at Cloud Disruption.
- Connect With Company-provided Content. Many companies use solutions, like Spredfast and HootSuite, to create and provide ready-made and ready-to-use content for sales executives. It’s up to the seller to modify the content with their own voice or to use as-is. What if all of your company’s reps sent out their tweet or LinkedIn post at the same time? I would not worry too much about that since most individuals have discreet social networks and there is very little duplication, from the customer’s vantage point. It’s easy enough to show how to add one’s own voice.
- Curate From 3rd-party Sources. There is no dearth of content to be curated from third-party sources like the Wall Street Journal. Curate content to provide your customers with 3rd-party support of your sales conversation. Also, they will appreciate you showing them the most important stories to read.
3 Reasons To Use Content To Build Your Social Selling Advantage
- Differentiate Yourself From The Competition. There are many sellers who find a prospect on LinkedIn and then inundate them with a phone call or email to set an appointment. Imagine the impact of sharing relevant content BEFORE you reach out to customers. How different would THAT be. How differentiated would that approach make you? Get familiar with the channels your customers use and begin to create, curate and connect with them.
- Content Is The Cure For The Common Sales Objection. A well-crafted blog post or a curated article passed on from HBR.com to your customer can help thwart the ‘same old objection’ that you hear.
- Feed The Content Hungry Customer. If you feed your content-hungry customer at each stage of the purchase process, they will be satiated and ask you back for desert and coffee. Remember, they are looking for different content as they self-educate and get closer to the sale, so be ready to serve it up.
Do you have a great social selling experience that includes a personal content marketing strategy? If so, please share it below. Or, please contact me directly at MarketingThink.com, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+.
Are you managing your sales strategy with content? Or, are you waiting for an email, call or even a page from your customer to invite you into the sales process? If your answer is yes, then it’s RFP for you. Rest Forever Peacefully (or Request For Proposal). Either way, you are getting involved too late in the sales cycle.