HOW TO USE CONTENT IN YOUR SALES PROCESS TO CLOSE MORE LEADS

As marketers, we focus much of our time and energy developing content that attracts prospects. And sadly, that’s where it ends for many businesses, as they regularly neglect or even forget the most important audience of all; their sales team.

The truth about blogs, whitepapers, video, case studies, and other forms of content is that they seldom convert deals on their own. For conversion, you still require a motivated sales team armed with content for their role in generating customers.

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The role of content in the sales process

The role of content in your sales process is to ensure your sales team are empowered to send helpful and useful content to prospects ahead of a sales call. The idea being to educate buyers on their most significant questions before they even ask them.

This builds both rapport and trust because every time a prospect or lead goes to the effort in consuming a piece of content that addresses their questions, their trust in you rises. Importantly, they are also self-qualifying. To take this a step further, every item of content your prospect consumes, is the equivalent of a personal meeting with them.

In fact, the more content your prospects view, the likelier they are to purchase from you and in a sales process, this is known as assignment selling.

What is assignment selling? 

Assignment selling was first proffered by Marcus Sheridan and is the process of educating prospects with your valuable content as much as possible before you go on a sales call. Using the educational content, that you have generated around your products and services, the aim is to resolve and answer the critical questions your prospects might have, so they are much more prepared for a sales appointment.

Assignment selling makes it a rule that for any prospect requesting pricing or a sales meeting, is required to consume the educational content you’ve created. Using this approach will likely see the total number of sales meetings drop, however close rates and revenue are likely to rise up.

How to use assignment selling in your business

Commence with a review all your content on your website and your sales approach by asking:

  • Is your content promotional or educational?
  • Is your content helpful and useful for customers attempting to make a purchasing decision?
  • Is your content blatantly biased?

To really cut-through and grow your sales, your content and sales approach should be in tandem and at its heart be relevant, helpful, complete and honest. 

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Get your sales team involved in content creation

Sales teams will be forthcoming regarding the most critical questions your prospects have and if you’ve answered those questions meticulously and honestly. Once you have your sales team’s input, they can use your content to save time and help prospects better prepare for sales appointments.

Sales-team

 

Teach your sales team how to navigate your CRM and website for content 

Getting your sales team to make use the content is easier said than done, so making sure they know where they can access it important. Investing in a CRM with sales tools like HubSpot SalesPro will allow your content to be easily accessed and searched by product or service, topic, or customer channel. At the very least, why not work with your sales team to create a spreadsheet or directory that they can bookmark that includes links to content they can use.

Remember, sales team members are time poor, so get creative with how you reach them – perhaps consider an internal podcast so that they can consume content stories and instructions at a time and place that suits them.

 

What types of sales content should you be creating?

The ideal sales content is no different to marketing content, particularly if your content is actually attracting leads. You want your sales team to know this content inside and out. For example, what types of leads is the content attracting? What topic questions and buyer personas are resonating? Understanding the diagnostics around your marketing content will provide sales team members context to better nurture the lead and ultimately close the sale.

How you can use content in the sales process to close more leads

Blogs, Vlogs and Podcasts

Amazing blog, vlog or podcast content is best originated from the questions your customers ask. As already discussed, your sales team are in a great place to advise what these questions are. By keeping an open line of communication between sales and marketing, these questions will be answered.

Your sales team members can use these blog, vlog or podcast content to address the critical questions to educate the prospect build both trust and identifying if there is a mutual fit.

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Whitepapers and eBooks

Similarly, with regular collaboration between marketing and sales, you can identify the subject matters for whitepapers and eBooks that will best resonate with potential customers. And through this interaction sales team members will have a sense of ownership of this content, making it more likely that they will use it to engage with customers.

For sales team members, the benefit of white papers and eBooks is that they take blogs a step further with valuable information that deepens trust and even elicits gratitude from prospects.

Customer Case Studies

Solutions based case studies are highly valued by sales team members. Sharing examples of solutions that are similar to their industry, business or problem/opportunity scenario serve the de risk the buying decision. Marketing teams need to work hard to generate these cases studies by constantly engaging with sales team members to unearth actual data, personal anecdotes, insights and testimony from customers.

 

Sales content for prospect meetings

Are sales team members well prepared for their discovery meeting? In our experience most people are not well prepared at all. So surely this represents a massive opportunity for consistent sales content that helps selling in your company’s way.

Sales Playbooks

No one wants to be that sales rep reading a script line-by-line to a prospect. Whereas we all want to hit the salient points of conversation during a sales meeting and a sales playbook will outline your sales process and yes, call scripts which are more like talking points. In addition to this sample agendas, emails qualification criteria should make up a playbook providing sales team members with the information they need.

Product Specifications and Video Demonstrations

This is another content type that’s extremely useful for both the sales rep and the prospect. A product specification, technical data sheet or a video demonstration should answer the following questions:

  • Who is the product for?
  • What does it do?
  • How does it help create value?
  • How much does it cost?
  • How is it setup?
  • What are the technical details?

A product specification, technical data sheet or video demonstration is essential for any initial meeting with a prospect.

Competitor Evaluations and Analysis

Being aware of the competition - what they are offering? How is their brand is positioned relative to your brand? These questions are important for core understanding. It helps frame up why your businesses brands are the right choice. By providing this information in an easy-to-consume format like video and your sales team will improve its close rates when competitive situations inevitably arise.

 

Content for Closing Sales

The best content created is meant to help close sales. And these types of content are best delivered by the sales team:

Email Templates

Arming the sales team with email templates for a number of different scenarios not only will save them time but also increase the chances of closing because the templates will come from a carefully curated and considered place. Think of the repeatable formats like follow-up emails, outreach emails, check-in emails, thank you emails. In an ideal world, there should be an email template for every type of prospect interaction.

       
        documents-presentations

 

Documents and Presentations

Marketing often is the creator of this type of more formal content – think company brochure, proposal templates, customer proposals etc. Again, the input from sales is critical. They are the ones who will have their name on the document and they will be the one who needs to explain it.

social-messages

Social Messages

You might not immediately think of social media as a sales tool, however it’s valuable for the sales team to interact with prospects via social media. Providing them with some suggested tweets, links to valuable content for re-sharing and LinkedIn messages is a great way to encourage this behaviour.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Content is a valuable resource for sales people that can help, provide utility and entertain prospects throughout the buyer’s journey. Most importantly, content generates mutual trust and respect.
  • Using the principles of assignment selling is a great way to improve close rates by using content.
  • Getting sales team members involved in content creation creates a sense of ownership which will increase its usage
  • Sales content should form part of a CRM like HubSpot for ease of automation, task management and reporting.
  • Don’t limit your imagination when it comes to sales content. It can help close sales deals, so the more formats and ideas the better.

 

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