Do you think of content exclusively as a marketing tool? If so, you’re fairly typical. After all, good content strategy forms a foundation for long-term success with your other marketing channels.
But actually, content is an extremely useful tool for every part of the funnel. Not only does content create brand awareness at the top of the funnel, it nurtures those prospects into leads in the middle of the funnel and, ultimately, turns those leads into customers at the bottom.
Today we’re going to focus on sales enablement at the bottom of the funnel and discuss how you can use content to equip your sales team with the tools they need to close more deals.
Let’s look at three key strategies that will attract more customers and increase your revenue.
3 Steps to Empower Your Sales Team with Content
1. Find out what pain points and challenges your sales reps are hearing from their prospects.
First, have a conversation with your sales reps. I’m not talking about sending them an email or IM, either. I’m talking about actually walking over to them and having a conversation face to face. Trust me, it’s absolutely worth your time.
Just be sure to prepare a list of questions and take notes as you chat. Ask them questions such as:
- What are some of the most common objections you hear sales calls?
- What are the top reasons why prospective customers don’t buy?
- What are a few questions or points of confusion around our product/service that you hear repeatedly?
- What are the most common pain points or challenges you hear from prospects?
Better yet, ask if you can sit in on one a sales call to observe. Listen for the answers to these questions and take notes.
Once you have this information, you should have good insight into what’s preventing your leads from becoming customers.
Next, brainstorm some content pieces to help solve these problems. Can you create a series of blog posts that will help prospects understand a certain business strategy? Would a video case study with one of your successful customers demonstrate the value of your product? What about compiling a list of useful statistics for your sales team to reference on calls?
There’s so much opportunity to educate your prospects through content, yet 65 percent of sales reps say they can’t find content to send to prospects, making this the most common complaint cited by sales teams.
2. Update your sales team on the content you publish.
If you’re only thinking of content as a marketing tool, you’re probably not sharing it with your sales team. How can your sales reps leverage your content if they don’t even know it exists?
Truth be told, 76 percent of marketers neglect sales enablement, leaving their sales reps in the dark about their content strategy. So, how can you make it easy for your sales reps to know both what content is available for them to leverage and how to leverage that content for their sales calls?
Start by setting up a weekly or monthly email digest for your sales team. In it, include the titles of your new blog posts, eBooks, templates and other content pieces, plus links to each item. Also – and this is very important – include a few bullet points for each content piece that offers short talking points they can use on sales calls.
For example, let’s say your sales team is selling a software product that helps people organize their personal finances. On the marketing side, you’ve just created a free template for calculating monthly expenditures across different categories. You should send that template to your sales team with the following bullet points:
- “We’ve found that people often slip into credit card debt because they don’t keep track of how much they spend each month. Our marketing team just created a free template that makes it really easy to set a monthly budget and track expenses, so you’ll know exactly what your bill will be at the end of the month.”
- “From what you’ve told me about your difficulties managing finances, it might be helpful to track how much you’re spending on food, clothes, groceries and so on. If you’d like, I can send you a free template to help you track each of these expenses.”
Your copy writing doesn’t have to be perfect – just emphasize to your sales reps that the blurbs are intended to offer a jumping-off point. The main idea is to give your sales reps a clear understanding of what the content piece includes, how it helps their prospects and how they can talk about it.
3. Run an analysis to see which content pieces are generating the most leads.
If you’re using content to generate leads, you need analytics that identify which content piece converted a given lead. Leverage this information not only to give you insight into what content is generating leads, but to help your sales reps begin conversations by referencing content that the lead has downloaded.
Run a report that gathers all of your leads in a given one-, three-, or six-month time frame, and then group them by the content piece that converted them. Take the top eight to 10 lead-generating pieces and write a few bullet points about each, similar to what we discussed in step two.
The idea is to help your sales reps structure their first sales call with the lead who downloaded a particular content piece. Why? Because it gives context for the conversation and allows the sales rep to address an action the person has already taken.
Let’s say a new lead has downloaded the template from the example above. You might guide your sales rep to start that first phone call with something like:
- “Hi [name], my name is John from [company]. I’m calling because you downloaded the Personal Finance Tracking Template and I wanted to see if there are any questions I can answer to help you make the most of it. Where do you find you have the most difficulty managing your spending every month?”
Tip: Always use open-ended questions when possible. Yes/no questions don’t leave much room for conversation and don’t give the sales rep much information to work with.
And there you have it: three simple ways to make sure your sales reps have exactly what they need to educate their prospects, to have the right conversations and to close more deals.