Can posting the right content for the right customer on the right channel at the right time really speed up a sale?
When it’s put that way, that type of sales success sounds more like it’s driven by publishing instead of selling, right? I thought only call-blitzing sales rep could make a sale close faster.
So, here’s a news flash! Successful sales reps and marketers need to be good at publishing, too. Good content skills speed up the quota-busting long game. If you are not integrating your content marketing strategy into your field marketing, corporate marketing and field sales organizations, then you need to make this change – to create more sales opportunities, increase sale size, and decrease the sale cycle.
The Content Marketing, Social Media and Social Selling Recipe
Unlike email or telemarketing, content marketing is not a direct marketing tactic. It is an ingredient in the sales recipe – something that will make it ‘cook quicker.’ The three steps to create this marketing mix to accelerate the sales pipeline are:
1. Awareness. Establish your brand awareness and credibility by showing you understand the customer’s challenge through content posted on your social channels. Your customers find out about you from your reputation, which manifests through your social posts in relevant watering holes.
2. Consideration. Drive purchase consideration by getting customers to click through to your destination or reply with a comment. This engagement connects so you can help them solve their problem. This initial conversation, combined with content, will help your customer understand you can solve their problem.
3. Acceleration. Increase relationships and accelerate pipeline by delivering the right content at the right time – via 1-1 and other broader nurturing channels.
Using these three steps will accelerate sales more than if selling without social media and content marketing.
Content marketing can help accelerate pipeline on two levels – at the marketing department/organization AND from the individual sale rep level.
How Marketing Departments Can Use Content To Accelerate Sales
Marketing organizations can use content to activate late-funnel conversations and consideration by delivering relevant information to specific customer watering holes – LinkedIn Groups, external communities, etc. For instance, if the marketing team was close to closing key deals around cloud-based point of sales solutions, then content could be created in a format (e.g., infographic) to resonate in watering holes.
Unfortunately, many companies have not adopted an end-to-end content model to take advantage of these targeted opportunities. And, just loading up Twitter with a selection of branded Tweets won’t work either. Neither will blog posts placed on company-owned sites since they need to be amplified, in addition to being posted.
How Social Media Can Accelerate Pipeline From An Account Based Marketing or Sales Organization Perspective
Content can also accelerate ABM- or sales team-based pipeline. A company can create targeted content to speak to the key point that will help close the sale. For instance, if a company is selling analytics solutions to the target account, then they could create a SlideShare presentation to speak to the key customer needs. After syndicating this content on owned social channels get the team to distribute and deliver this content – infographics, SlideShares, blog posts, etc. – via individual digital, social and email channels.
In regards to sales- and ABM-focused social listening, companies can monitor key accounts to understand if there are any dots to connect – to help handle an objection or double-down on a point of interest with custom content.
So, if you are trying to accelerate pipeline, you need first to build a process to map content to the right customer on the right channel at the right time. There is no one size fits all when it comes to pipeline acceleration and content creation.