Content is now a critical piece of the puzzle to drive sales conversations for your business development rep. In fact, buyers now typically engage with 7-12 pieces of content prior to engaging with a sales rep, and they continue to engage with content as they make their purchase decision. So you need to support your sales professionals with the following content to ensure maximum success. This is even more important when you are involved in B2B sales or B2B outsourced sales. Below is a table that details the type of content your sales reps will need to help move deals forward.
Prove You Understand and Empathize with Your Buyers’ Needs
When you are developing your buyer’s interest, you need thought-leadership content. This content takes the shape of blog posts, checklists, and short headshot video clips that are educational and easy to consume. Keep these short and easy to digest in two to three minutes.
Outsourced Sales Engagement
As a buyer starts to engage, you need to make it easy for them to understand your solution. If you are just getting started, you don’t need to break the bank creating this content. We find that most companies have the features and benefits content they need on their website already. So after most content audits, that we offer as part of our strategy consulting, we typically only recommend:
- A short animated power point presentation converted into a succinct video overview
- Video demo screencast of the product or solution
- Organized microsites that aggregate your thought leadership and solution oriented videos that make it easy for the buyer to buy.
Finally, we find that most companies have the content they need to convince clients to buy covered. Typically this content is found in existing PowerPoint decks, proposals, RFPs, and contracts. Or for professional services firms, it is found in the deliverables. In some cases, you may want to simply consider digitizing some of this content and making it accessible online.
As a B2B outsourced sales company, we are committed to supporting our business development reps with:
- Content that supports your B2B outsourced sales process
- The ability to score client engagement with that content to help you score and prioritize leads
As you can see from the content we described above creating this content does not need to be overwhelming. For a quick examples you can check out what we are talking about by checking out our own:
Sales Ready Leads Program
Tradeshow Support Package
It simply requires authentic thought leadership that is professionally produced (not over-produced). We find that we can typically create the content we need to be successful as a B2B outsourced sales company with a 1 to 2 day onsite content workshop. If you think we can help we make evaluating that for yourself easy. You can get started with a free assessment, and you can start that process by contacting us today.
Trends come and go and we are currently in a cycle where 70% of your buyers prefer to learn about a new product or solution via email with solid educational content. So generating leads with this tactic is one of the most cost effective ways to fuel the top of funnel with leads required for a successful sale automation engine and cold calling team.
But getting your messages through spam filters and into your recipients’ inboxes is not as easy as it was six months ago. It is even more daunting for B2B Sales. Smaller businesses, especially those unfamiliar with email’s thorny technical issues and best practices, can struggle at first.
Here are some basic tips for companies new to eMail marketing (and this will hopefully give you some food for thought addressing why you should consider B2B Sales Outsourcing to help you if you are just getting started):
Don’t send your initial cold emails to people that have not agreed to receive it
Start building your email list the right way with these two proven methods:
- Use callers to get buyers to opt-in. (But in many verticals this can be expensive unless you know exactly who you need to target)
- Start with a rented opt-in list. There are multiple providers that can send emails for you, and Gabriel Sales works with several that specialize in B2B targets.
Hitting buyers that are not anticipating or that have not agreed to receive email makes a poor brand impression and violates ISPs’ terms of service. Simply buying a cold list and emailing it, especially through an automation platform, practically guarantees deliverability issues. This approach will eventually damage your brand and get you blacklisted (cause email to bounce). Your list and your deliverability are both hard assets, and you need to treat them that way.
Don’t use gimmicks
Your email shouldn’t be deceptive. We have recently seen other companies send a barrage of email with subject lines like; “Missed the meeting”, “Following up on your question” or “Missed you on the call”. These emails are being sent by people that we have no idea who we are. These may work in the short-term, but in the long term you will end up being on the receiving end of spam complaints.
Keep volume low when you are just getting started
If you are sending marketing email through your corporate server, you’ll want to keep outbound email volume low. In fact we don’t recommend doing this at all. Although email amounts vary wildly between ISPs, sending more than about 1,000 identical emails at a time is practically inviting an ISP to take a closer look on what appears to be bulk email pouring from a personal email server. This is one of the many reasons it makes sense to leverage an automation platform to manage your outbound email efforts once you have a target that has opted in. This is also why we use Whitelisted Service Providers to generate your initial opt ins.
Consider an eMail Service Provider
Delivery now takes place in an ever increasingly complex environment. A good service provider or a marketing automation platform (once you have an opted in lead) will improve deliverability by:
- Providing increased technological capability to deliver emails
- Continuously monitoring and diagnosing to solve delivery challenges such as authentication and new ISP filtering practices-as they crop up
Providers work with hundreds if not thousands of customers to spot trends first. This is simply too daunting for an SMB to manage.
How Gabriel Sales Sales Outsourcing Can Help
eMail marketing for both top of funnel lead generation, and for developing and engaging buyers are just two of the many tactics we leverage to generate sales qualified opportunities for our clients. If you are new to eMail marketing you can started with us in two ways:
As a B2B Sales Outsourcing and Outsourced Marketing company, we understand that ROI is important. For both of these packages, we offer a free preliminary assessment to see if eMail marketing is viable and/or the right strategy for your business.
eMail is now preferred by 70% of buyers wanting to learn about new products or services so eMail marketing is now an important feature in our Outsourced Sales and Marketing Campaigns.
As part of this race to the In-Box, companies are now facing more complex challenges in the day to day processes delivering eMail effectively. And recently Google has built an “organizer” within your Gmail to determine which messages go where as a filter called “Promotions”.
Even the buyer you signed up to receive updates can now land in the “Promotion” tab. And Google does this by examining the content of the email itself. As an outsourced sales and marketing company here are best practices we use. The one rule of thumb, as you check out the tips below, is that the more authentically educational and straightforward you are, the better your results will be.
The advantage and outsourced sales and marketing company provides, over a company doing this on their own, is that we see the results of many campaigns while SMBs may only see the results of two to six campaigns per month. We can help you with a cross pollination of best practices. So after reading this article if you feel like we can help please feel free to Contact Us. And in case you missed our article on What to Avoid in Subject Lines we recommend you read that as well. Here are some tips:
Mention the Reader By Name
Address your recipient by their first name by always using the Merge Tag inside of your tool. This personalizes your story and makes buyer feel more connected. Every automation system has this feature. It also dramatically increases the likelihood of deliverability.
Keep Your Links Down
The more links you have the more likely you will be filtered by Gmail and other spam filters. An email with a signature will already have at least one link. And your email will also have a second unsubscribe link. As a rule of thumb include no more than 1 to 2 additional links and offers in an email to keep those links down. We recommend 1 when possible but you need to weigh giving your buyers options vs. what will drive the quickest engagement. Is it worth losing top of funnel engagement for deeper engagement.
Write in Traditional Letter Form
Keep your message simple and clean. While the occasional high budget and heavy HTML designed email still works, a simple email written in letter format makes the reader feel like you are writing directly to them. Your product and solution and the pain you solve are more important than being flashy. It also gets past Google more often.
Lose the Images
eMail does not work like Social Media. Get rid of images. Google and other spam filters often see images as a sign of a promotion or spam message. You will increase your volume of readers by not having pictures. The point of email is to drive traffic to content on your website (especially if you are using a lead scoring automation tool). This also includes those small 1K gifs of your logo in the footer.
Depending on who you are selling to, up to 60% of your email may be opened on a mobile phone. You need to consider this when thinking about the length of your email and offer. Know your audience and consider this when drafting your text and subject line.
How an Outsourced Sales and Marketing Company Can Help
As an outsourced sales and marketing company you can quickly gain the expertise, capability and capacity start leveraging eMail marketing as part of your outsourced sales and marketing campaign immediately using a blended team including:
- Sale strategists
- Systems integrators
- Content producers
- Marketing coordinators
- Database marketers
- Trained business development reps
What makes Gabriel Sales unique is that we can build a repeatable outsourced sales and marketing process as we also build a sales automation engine. When it makes sense, you can transition all or some of the parts of that engine in-house. To learn more, please check out our Sales Ready Leads Educational microsite.
Your buyer now expects you to make it easy for them to buy. So Gabriel Sales now provides both Sales Outsourcing and Outsourced Marketing support for our clients, because content is required to support your sales effort. Here are some rules of thumb and best practices we use to help create powerful content that will support your sales outsourcing without breaking the bank:
Generate Thought Leadership Content – For many companies the production of the content can be tough but the substance of the content is all around them. What we find when doing a content survey and initial interviews is that what our clients believe to be common sense and basic information, is not that common or basic for the buyer. With a series of headshot interviews, we can help them to create a series of blogs, checklists and short informational videos that are authentically educational.
Content Needs to Live Online – You need to make sure your buyers and your sales team can access your content online. This allows your content to be shared easily by your sales team and/or your sales outsourcing team. Your blog is the easiest way to start. And when we work with clients we supply our simple to use WordPress plug-in Digital Demand Center. This allows us to quickly organize content for campaigns to specific buyers. The tools allows you to contextualize all your content for specific buyers and also helps with search engine optimization & email marketing. The more you share the more business you will generate. Below is an example of how you can organize blog posts and videos using a powerful microsite in Digtial Demand Center to automate buyer education.
Use Multiple Formats – Not all buyers like to be educated by the same format of content. Turn this into an advantage for your sales reps and use a mix of video, blog posts, webcasts, checklists, and eBooks. We really like webcasts as anchor content because we find that we can take a well thought through webcast and turn it into multiple pieces of shorter content in different formats. Once again if you take care of the substance we can take care of the production to support your sales outsourcing clients.
Use Automation Technology to Score Your Leads – Automation technologies are here for good. They give you the ability to educated buyers, stay top of mind and prioritize leads for you sales outsourcing team. You should expect any sales outsourcing partner to be using these tools to increase your effectiveness and efficiency.
Don’t Forget Calls to Action – You should end every piece of content with a next step to make it easy for your buyer to buy.
If you would like to learn more about Gabriel Sales and our history please visit the About Us Page or feel free to Contact Us to learn more about how we can help with your sales outsourcing and outsourced marketing needs.
In 2014, as we shifted from pure sales outsourcing to a sales outsourcing and outsourced marketing company, we searched and found a framework that would help us to do 4 things:
- Continue to craft solution sales scripts to leverage inside sales rep
- Craft a powerful story that could be told using video for thought leadership
- Provide a framework for content producers to continue to support that story
- Most importantly – force alignment between sales and marketing around a consistent a value proposition that would drive deals forward to transactions.
That is when we came across Michael Skoks’ “4Us”. See the article on Forbes here. The framework was originally designed for Michael Skok to decide what companies to invest in as a venture capitalist.
But we felt like it had powerful implications for successful sales and marketing acceleration. It just made sense. If a product or solution was worthy of investment the same characteristics should also make it faster to scale sales. It will make the solution a “must have” not a “nice to have”. If you focus on the reasons it is a “must have”, you have a better shot of scaling quickly .
After using this framework for the past several years, it has become a valuable tool in our strategy consulting (especially when combined with a Buyer Persona exercise and a Message Framework). The reason it is so powerful is deceptively simple but worth stating -This framework forces both sales and marketing to focus on the real reasons buyers buy and move into the sale funnel (spoiler alert: it’s not technical features and benefits). Buyers buy because it will give them a personal win, a professional win or both. Here is how it works.
Is the problem Unworkable? Does your solution fix a broken business process where there are real, measurable consequences to inaction? Will someone get fired if the issue is not addressed?
You need to focus on fixing problems that do not already have an easy to fix or easy solution. If your solution is a commodity you need to look for another unique value or you will be out gunned by companies with more money to spend.
Is fixing the problem Unavoidable? Is it driven by a mandate with implications associated with governance or regulatory control?Not all solutions will be mandated but you should always look for them. However, there are tangential ways you can get the same flavor -most often by focusing on the customer in your area like your buyers’ customer satisfaction scores, increasing customer retention, and improving customer loyalty.
Is the problem Urgent? Is it one of the top priorities for a company? In selling to enterprises, you’ll find it hard to command the attention and resources to arrange a deal if you fall below this line. In our experience, (and this is putting on our sales hat) there are really only three key criteria that make a problem urgent for a buyer:
- It will help them hit their quarterly or annual bonus compensation
- It will help them get promoted
- It will keep them from getting fired
Matching this value prop to specific buyer’s personas becomes extremely powerful, especially for sales. If you can hit this hard, it will keep you from a stalled sales pipeline and help you avoid getting the dreaded “no” decision.
Is the problem Underserved? Is there a conspicuous absence of valid solutions to the problem you’re looking to solve? Focus your initial message on the whitespace or the gap between solutions. This is especially powerful if you are taking on incumbents, and gives you a wedge offering to pilot your solution if you can price effectively.
Exiting this exercise you should have 4 to 5 bullets that become your core value prop from there alignment becomes simple because you can craft a powerful sales story that both sales and marketing can work together on. You simply put your buyers personas into buckets and you have a clear understanding of what story you need to tell to move them through the sales pipeline. Here is an example of what that looks like.
How Gabriel Sales Can Help
Gabriel Sales specializes in helping companies committed to growth scale. Scaling starts by aligning both sales and marketing around a powerful sales story. We have found no faster path to this story than anchoring that story in repeatable and clear value propositions that can be supported by simple content and clear sales scripts.
To learn more about how we can help you identify and share this message with your ideal target markets and buyers you can contact us here. Please feel free to check out our sales consulting and sales outsourcing services page. Or if you have your process buttoned up and are simply looking for more sales ready leads we can help with that as well.