Content marketing is making huge strides in the sales process. Why? It is effective.
Content keeps people engaged without sales calls and content is scientifically better at impacting people. You may already know that videos have a higher retention rate than text, but did you know that stories trigger the brain more than just facts and figures. It is recommended to incorporate story telling into marketing in order to relate to your audience, appeal to emotions and engage their brain more.
The idea behind story telling is to show not tell. When using facts and figures to portray an idea or product you will only engage two parts of your reader’s brain, the Wernicke’s Area (language comprehension) and the Broca’s Area (language processing). Using stories you can trigger multiple areas of the brain by describing the surroundings, Motor Cortex (movement), Sensory Cortex & Cerebellum (touch), Olfactory Cortex (scents), Auditory Cortex (sounds) and Visual Cortex (colors and shapes). By triggering more areas of the brain you are making it more likely that your audience will remember your content.
It is easy to learn how to market a product through storytelling.
There are 5 key steps to telling a successful story:
- Get Personal – connect with your audience emotionally. Appeal to the pains they may be experiencing without your solution.
- Avoid Clichés – they have minimal impact and are more likely to drive people away than engage them.
- Avoid Complex Language – keep your story conversational to create a more enjoyable experience rather than overwhelming your audience.
- Be Relatable – add meaning for the audience.
- Be Descriptive – take advantage of describing scenes in order to activate more areas of the brain in order to be more memorable.
In order to successfully engage with the audience you also need a hero they can connect with 5 things the hero must do in order to engage your audience:
- Sets out to achieve a goal.
- Butts heads with an antagonist or a problem that needs to be solved.
- In order to conquer the hero must make a transformation.
- Finds a mentor with resources.
- The hero prevails!
In order to practice what we preach we wrote a story about ‘John’ who is struggling to maintain sales. This is just one example of how to market a product with storytelling. Continue reading in order to learn what actions John takes to alleviate his sales woes.
John sits at his desk, a nearby copy machine whirrs, and the clock chimes 8 times. It’s the start of a new work day. The same daunting task looms before him as it had for days and weeks and months.
John needs a way to sell, market and close deals efficiently and cost effectively. As he braces for the chaos that is about to begin, he glances over at the stainless steel framed photograph of his family. It has been weeks since he has made it home for dinner. He is lucky if he makes it home to tuck them in.
As owner of the company John has many functions. His days are filled with company operations, client management, proposal creation and employee management. Lately his time has been devoted to hiring and training sales reps. Due to the nature of the industry, the sales process is long, which makes the training process longer.
Last month John had to replace their last sales rep because goals were not being met. John has since picked up the sales calling while training the new sales rep. Before John picks up the phone for his first round of calls he runs his fingers through his graying hair and wishes there was an easier way to sell.
This led John down a rabbit hole of internet searches for a sales and marketing solution. What stood out as the best option for John was outsourcing.
Fast forward two months.
John is sitting in a conference room filled with people determined to cure his sales and marketing pains. They previously mined John’s company for existing content and learned the sales process. These people were now going to change the selling process and with John’s help, create fresh content.
Outsourcing and how to market a product is new to John and he is nervous it won’t work. In this monochromatic room, tan walls and brown furniture, he tries to turn his fears and doubts into confidence. If this is successful the ROI will be substantial, not to mention the time and money that will be saved by not having to hire new sales reps every six months.
The outsourcing team created content to address frequently asked questions. As John supplied information for content he quickly realized that each piece had a specific purpose within the sales process. Content was not being created solely for marketing; it was being created with sales strategy in mind.
After two days with the sales and marketing outsourcing team John was feeling confident. Two weeks following content creation, cold callers hit the phones and pushed the first wave of content. Using cold callers lowered the cost of calling for John and increased the volume of calls made.
Through cold calling and trackable content each prospect was scored. The scoring made it possible for John’s heavy hitting sales person to focus on prospects that showed interest. John was still the closer and was brought in early to guide buyers through the sales process. Although John’s initial headaches were gone he had a new one.
Cold calling, content nurturing and focusing on interested leads meant John was working to close more deals than ever before. Most of his calls involved explaining their solution and he was feeling like a broken record. John was getting involved too soon. John wondered, “Is there a way to get people the right information without getting tied up on the phone?”
He called his sales and marketing outsourcing team and explained his challenge. They proposed to automate the sales process with content. Together they created headshot, demo and whiteboard videos in order to clone John and get the information in an easily shareable form.
Now, sales reps could send prospects pertinent information through a marketing automation platform. The data was tracked and if the content was viewed the prospect could move to the next step in the sales process.
John’s time was further leveraged by bridging the information gap with content. He was spending less time involved in the sales process and the company was working more deals than ever. John was working less hours and spending more time with his family.
Today John sits at his desk, sipping coffee while he views marketing automation reports. His reports show that two clients viewed videos on how to calculate ROI. Today is the day to get them to buy. Before picking up the phone, John smiles to himself and thinks, “Two sales a day and only two calls. Not too bad.”
To learn more about how to market a product with content, check out these blogs:
Get Prospects to Take Action: Content Variety
How to Guide B2B Prospects through the Sales Cycle with Content
Today’s B2B marketing environment is rapidly progressing with the abundance of tactics that are available and easy to adopt in the digital space. The purpose of this blog series to outline four simple tactics to help boost the effectiveness of your sales and marketing processes, while increasing quality lead generation. This blog, the first in the series, will discuss why you need to shift your channel strategy in order to maximize your marketing efforts, and ultimately close more business. Additionally, the impact of partnering with a company that does B2B marketing outsourcing and how they can sometimes be more effective than even the best internal teams will be discussed.
The first point of note is that it makes sense for any company, large or small, struggling or successful, to consider utilizing an outside partner in executing aspects of their sales, marketing and lead generation processes. Outsourcers can be hyper-effective in managing some or all aspects of a B2B company’s sales and marketing process.
Adopt A Multi-Channel Strategy
In today’s rapidly evolving B2B market, most companies can no longer rely on a single channel to produce enough closed business to stay ahead of the competition. You have to provide the opportunity for your buyers to when and how they so choose as there has been a dramatic shift in how to sell effectively. No longer can you try and drive buyers through your sales process; you have to help them through their buying process. Your choices are numerous and not all channels will generate closed business equally, depending on the nature of your business and the vertical you operate in.
How then is a business to decide which additional channels to pursue when there are so many available especially with the proliferation of the digital space?
First, it is imperative that when you pursue a new channel (or channels), you do so in a way that you are able to measure the effectiveness of the investment, so you can determine downstream whether it is something worth continually pursuing. There are many sources for data on which channels have proven the most effective within specific industries, so entities like Forrester or Marketing Sherpa are a great place to start, as well as analyzing your own historical data. Just remember to design your new approach/strategy in a way that you will be able to return actionable metrics from your efforts.
So then after you have chosen which channels you would like to expand into the question remains: “How should I execute this new strategy? Should I have my internal team try and tackle the extra workload? Should I hire additional personnel with expertise in the area?”
All three options are viable for moving your initiatives forward, which leads to the final question: “What is the most cost effective way to accomplish this new initiative?” The remainder of this blog will discuss how utilizing an outside partner can in many cases be the most cost conscious and effective strategy to expand your channel marketing.
B2B Marketing Outsourcing
Companies that specialize in outsourcing business processes are not a new concept. It is important to select a partner that you trust to handle such a crucial area of your business, because you are going to have to be willing to rely on their experience, expertise and methods to effectively help you close more business – because at the end of the day that’s what matters most for any organization.
Some outsourcers specialize in specific channels while others offer a more full-service approach and have the ability to successfully navigate multiple channels with an integrated approach. First things first, ensure that you select and organization that will provide transparency and robust success metrics of their efforts so you can accurately assess the ROI of your new relationship. However, it is important to point out that the most successful relationships are built on trust, and attempting to micro-manage a partnership like this can many times hurt the success of the campaign – you have to let the experts do what it is they know best, yet hold them accountable through metrics and transparent reporting.
In the next blog in this series, we will discuss the importance of pursuing lead quality over quantity, and how shifting your focus on lead generation can directly result in more effective sales teams and more closed business.
At Gabriel Sales we look at sales and content marketing execution like we do any other business process – it should be just that, a process. Sales and marketing can no longer live in their own silos and operate independently. Efforts need to be aligned from initial targeting and strategy development and all the way through to client servicing post-purchase. There are two things that remain constant through this process: the presence of your team and educational content marketing. This blog will focus on the importance of content for the sales side of your organization, and how it can be best employed to convert more opportunities.
The days of the hard sale and forcing buyers to purchase are long past. Buyers want to buy on their own terms. When you couple this with the increasing strain on organizational budgets and budget making, the job of the traditional sales rep is getting ever-more difficult. This shift in the relationship of the buyer and seller is driven even further by the abundance and proliferation of information in the digital space. Information is readily available for buyers to educate themselves, identify potential solutions and make purchase decisions. The role of the seller is to help them through this process while keeping your solution top of mind.
There is no substitute for talented, intelligent and effective sales reps. However, in today’s market, it is impossible for even the most exceptional reps to be effective if they don’t have the necessary content to support them throughout the sale. This blog will focus on what content should be available to help maximize efficiency and conversions, differentiate yourself within your competitive set and how that content should be organized to achieve these things.
Content marketing can be designed in order to increase the effectiveness of your sales team, not just fulfill obligations of the marketing department.
How is your content marketing going to empower your sales reps?
We view content organization in a three-stage system. It is imperative that you have ammo in place across all three fronts in order to effectively empower your sellers and provide value through your content. Your content should be clear, digestible and actionable.
The thought process here is that the role of your reps is to help move the buyer through each level of content as they themselves move through their own buying cycle. You have to hold their hand and make them feel like they are in control and buying on their own terms. If you do this effectively, your content will make the sale for you. A description of each stage of content that you need to address can be seen below:
Stage 1 – Inform your potential buyer that solutions exist and that there is a gap between their current state and the “ideal state.”
This is the education level of content. Content that falls in this stage is not designed to convert your buyer. Many times, your organization’s branding and offerings are not even discernable at this stage. The goal here is two-fold: educate the buyer on an area of solutions/offerings that your business lives in and bring to light for them the pains and needs that they need to solve within their role. You need your potential buyer to be aware that there are gaps between how they are operating and the most efficient level that they could operate at.
Your sales reps need this information so they can properly help the buyer along their purchase process. The most effective reps will know how to properly apply this information to prospects that are ready to be moved along the sales cycle.
Stage 2 – Educate your potential buyer on your solution.
Now that you are dealing with a buyer that is aware that they have performance gaps or inefficiencies, it is time to present how your solution can help them do their job more effectively. Use this stage of content to differentiate yourself within your buyers consideration set. Show how you out perform compared to the competition with your offering.
Your sales reps need this stage of content in order to keep moving the sale forward. The only way to properly convince a buyer of your effectiveness in today’s market is to show them concrete examples and allow them to come to the conclusion for themselves.
Stage 3 – Convert them!
Your buyer is aware of the market of solutions, they’ve identified pains and needs that they need to fulfill, and they know there is a gap between their current state and the “ideal state.”
Now is the appropriate time to utilize the more traditional hard sell. Pricing structures, key performance metrics and client servicing value-adds are going to be effective now that your buyer is prepared and ready to digest them.
This is where your most experienced sales folks will strive, but they will only do so if they have effective content to combine with their personal style and influence. Empower your reps effectively by putting the tools in their hands that they can use to close more deals faster.
Buyers are 100% in control of the buyer-seller relationship now. This is directly due to the availability of information present in the digital space. It is more important now than ever that your sales and marketing teams are aligned with content strategy geared to guiding the buyer to your solution; not forcing it upon them.
Gabriel Sales has excelled for over 10 years at developing strategy and content plans that result in successful, scalable and repeatable sales engines. For more insight on content marketing and sales execution, check out “Get Your Prospects to Take Action: Content Variety.”
If you’d like to chat with us directly about your own system or getting one into place, please don’t hesitate to contact us.