There is a classic scene in the B-grade flick Glengarry Glen Ross when the overbearing sales boss played by Alec Baldwin tears his new sales team to pieces for their lack of performance. Now, I’ve come across a few of these tyrants over the years in the various media businesses I’ve been involved with, and it brought back some memories of that old sales adage – ABC, or, Always Be Closing.
Coming back to today, and one of the aspects of content marketing we discuss a lot is how it can change a business as you start to focus on owned assets rather than paid media. We’ve started to act and think like a media business and also practise what we preach. The reason we do this wasn’t some sort of blind faith; we believe that if we provide great content and information on our sites, the people who visit them will deem us worthwhile to do the same for them. We believe that the best way to attract quality brands to our business is to first show them we can execute on what we promise, and add value rather than simply asking for money.
In his new book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype, Jay Baer provides some really interesting thoughts about why providing your prospects with something of real value means they will come back to you when they need to spend. As he explains, “Youtility is marketing so useful, people would pay for it”.
But what does that mean to my pipeline? I can hear the sales director asking. In our experience, Youtility grows the pipeline… and it grows it with the right sort of prospects because we have already established a bond with them. Because they’ve engaged with our content, they understand our business and because we’ve given away free something they’d be happy to pay for, they already have a positive opinion of us before they ever contact us directly.
Don’t get me wrong, when I start this business we knocked on a helluva lot of doors. It was a time when content marketing was still something of an unknown so we needed to educate. But we did that through content marketing and we did it regularly. We wanted prospects to keep coming back to our site to get better educated about what we did and how it could help them do the same. It was content marketing for content marketing!
So almost three years on we haven’t increased our sales team at all, but we’ve managed to grow nicely off the back of a plan we implemented right from the start and continue to drive on a daily basis.
Maybe that ABC should be ABCM – always be content marketing.