In today’s hyper-competitive market for products and services, a salesperson can position themselves before they actually meet a client for the first time. This positioning does not involve sales tactics or “breakthrough” methods. It is a matter of presenting one’s self as a B2B sales expert on solving the unique problems of prospects and customers in their niche. Salespeople that consistently make their expertise known in the marketplace can become sought-after specialists. There are direct benefits for doing this. Those who are successful at making their proficiency public knowledge typically have the option of asking for premium compensation.
Marketers and salespeople have more tools than ever to publish their expertise, due to the proliferation of venues provided by the internet. A salesperson can create expert content about solutions within their chosen industry and post it:
1.) On Blogs
2.) In Whitepapers
3.) In Podcasts
4.) In Internet Videos
5.) In Press Releases
The internet allows for this information to be found by those seeking it using their connected devices. However, the fact that this content is easy to publish can be as much of a curse as it is a blessing. The ease of publication means that everyone can publish in these venues. What follows then is also true: all content can be made to be equally ‘findable’ on the web. The fact that a marketer’s content is findable, may not necessarily have to do with the level of expertise expressed. This means that a salesperson’s true expertise may be lost among the vast amounts of data published on a particular topic.
This potential for information overload from internet searches often drives professionals to their own industry related journals for solutions to their most perplexing problems. This helps them to get high quality information, by relying on experienced editors who only allow those things to be published that will be of benefit to the readers. Therefore the solutions found within industry journals have established trust by default.
However, salespeople who wish to be position themselves as experts often follow the practice of publishing to be recognized among their peers. This means that they tend to seek to be published in their own industry’s journals and not those of their potential prospects. While being published in a sales or marketing journal does provide professional credibility, it doesn’t necessarily bring a salesperson any closer to their prospect or customer. An interesting question to ask would be, where is my potential prospect more likely to read an article, in a sales journal or their own industry journal? The answer of course is very clear: they will read about the problems in their own industry journal.
Trade journal editors are often looking for good helpful content for their readers. While they are unlikely to want to have a 500 word sales pitch written by a salesperson; they typically love to have solutions that demonstrate knowledge of the industry from those who present them. This provides an enormous opportunity for salespersons and marketers who are willing to undertake the work of engaging editors of industry trade publications to solve problems causing the industry angst.
For example, a salesperson who markets to the construction niche probably already has a considerable amount of knowledge of the problems in that industry. Having helpful content in that industry’s trade journal provides weight to the claim of commitment to and understanding of its unique problems. But in addition to that, a salesperson gains valuable information from the field as to what the industry is truly wrestling with.
Therefore the first step is to contact the Editor of a niche trade journal to find out what the real issues are. Of course, there will be a time to propose content to them. However, to get an article published, the Editor must view the salesperson’s understanding of their (the industry’s) problems as helpful to their readers.
To have content published in an industry trade journal provides benefits to a salesperson that go beyond the contacts they make. It truly positions them as an expert at providing solutions and sets them apart from their peers. While stating that one is dedicated to an industry can be credible; being able to point to an article, reviewed by industry professionals demonstrates that commitment .