Sales Cycle - Interactive Content

How many sales kits or pricing sheets do you receive from vendors every week? I’m guessing that you get at least one. And I bet you trash most of them before reading them, if you’re anything like me.

This behavior points to a huge problem, one we marketers don’t really like to talk about. When we think about improving our content creation efforts, we usually focus on top-of-funnel assets—the “editorial” content that’s fun and sexy. This is the content we get excited about, the content we add to our CVs and LinkedIn profiles, the content we win awards for.

What we don’t get super excited about is sales enablement content. Yes, we create it, because our sales teams need something to support their efforts. But whenever a sales asset request crosses our desk, we groan a little inside. We think: “Another sell sheet? Really? Didn’t we just create one of those a couple of months ago? Ugh.”

Part of why we think sales content is “boring” is because we’re still using the same formats marketers were using back in the late ‘90s. PowerPoints and PDFs have been around for ages. They’re not very exciting. Yet we continue to create the same old sales assets the same old way, year after year. No wonder we’re bored!

Now think about your content marketing program. Aren’t you developing awesome, exciting stuff like videos, microblogs, infographics, GIFs, and interactive content? So why aren’t you using those formats for sales enablement? It’s time to rethink your content at every stage of the sales cycle—not just at the beginning.

Interactive content can be a really powerful tool to draw in prospects, educate them on your products or services, and help them make a purchase decision. Let’s explore how you can use interactivity to create more compelling, effective assets all the way down the funnel.

Top-of-Funnel Lead Generation Content

We’re already seeing a lot of interactive content development for lead gen content marketing pieces. A few common use cases include:

Interactive Articles

Digital publishers are really raising the bar on what constitutes an “article,” and marketers should be following suit. For example, Mashable has started to add interactive elements like infographics and quizzes to their editorial content.

Interactive eBooks

Instead of gating static, boring PDFs for lead gen, businesses are investing in rich, interactive eBooks to entertain and educate their prospects. Content marketing leaders such as NewsCred are creating interactive guides and other long-form pieces for just this purpose.

NewsCred Interactive eBook

Interactive Infographics

Infographics are a great way to educate your market and drive lead generation; interactivity can really help to bring your data to life. For example, in this interactive infographic, Salesforce tells a compelling story about wearable technology and has clear CTAs to download the full report.

Interactive Landing Pages

Some assets like lengthy research reports may not lend themselves to an interactive treatment. However, you can make your landing pages a lot more interesting by incorporating interactive elements like animations or clickable graphics that give a small preview of the full piece.

Top-of-Funnel Lead Nurture Content

For lead nurture, you can use interactive content to address your prospects’ key pain points and propose solutions that tie into your business’s offerings. In addition to the content types mentioned above, a few other ideas include:

Interactive Whitepapers

Educate your audience on a topic relevant to their industry and share your stance with an interactive whitepaper that really makes your message stand out.

Interactive Microsites

Small, interactive microsites can help provide more in-depth coverage on a topic without requiring custom coding or testing to make sure it works across browsers. This jetpacks microsite from HP is a great example.

HP Jetpacks Microsite

Interactive Quizzes

A fun quiz can be a great way to engage with leads. With a “personality” style quiz, you can also learn more about your audience’s traits or preferences based on their answers, further informing your sales process.

Mid-Funnel Lead Qualification Content

Interactive content can be an effective way to gauge whether a lead is interested in you and qualified to be a customer.

Product Overviews

Sure, you have a company website that explains what you do, but a high-level interactive product overview can be a nice asset for leads to share with their teams before a demo.

Interactive Assessments

If you have a complex lead qualification process, it can save your sales team time to pre-score leads with an interactive assessment that gets some of the standard questions out of the way ahead of time.

Interactive Buyer Guides

For highly technical or big-budget products or services, an interactive buyer’s guide can help leads dive into the details of what your company has to offer. This interactive brochure from MINI is one way to approach a buyer’s guide.

MINI Interactive Buyer's Guide

Mid-Funnel Discovery Content

Explore your value propositions and solutions based on prospect’s specific needs using interactive presentations and examples.

Interactive Presentations

Instead of using a boring PowerPoint or Keynote deck in your initial demo call, create a dynamic interactive presentation that seamlessly pulls in rich media to help you show off your offerings.

Ceros Interactive Presentation

Interactive Examples

Show how other customers are using your products or services in real life with an interactive roundup that provides dynamic examples your prospects can relate to.

Bottom-Funnel Evaluation Content

The moment when your buyers are shopping around for alternatives—and trust me, everyone shops around—is the moment when you most need to prove that your solution is the best one. Interactive content can help you make your point in a dynamic, unique way.

Interactive Case Studies

A PDF really can’t capture the excitement of happy clients or bring their story to life. With an interactive case study, you can include sound clips, video footage, and interactive stats to really wow potential customers.

ROI Calculators

If budget is an issue, an interactive calculator can be a great way to prove the payoff of using your product or services by showing the expected ROI.

Competitive Comparisons

We’ve all created competitive grids like this before, whether for internal use or for distribution to prospects:

Competitor Grid

With a little interactivity, you could make something a lot more powerful that really drives home how your tool is better than your competitors’.

Bottom-Funnel Purchase Content

Clinch the deal by providing all information and terms needed to close a deal—without sending over the usual boring documents.

Interactive FAQ

Your sales team probably has a list of common questions prospects ask during the final stages of the sales cycle. Instead of having a long, tedious web page, create an interactive FAQ that makes it easy for people to jump to the answers they care about. You can even include short how-to videos for really important or complex questions.

Interactive Pricing Calculator

Help your budget approvers figure out exactly how much your products or services will cost based on the plan they’re interested in with a dynamic pricing calculator.

Interactive Sales Proposal

A sales proposal should be easy to read, review, and share so that all team members feel good about the investment. An interactive proposal can help secondary approvers get a quick overview of what it is the team wants to buy and why it’s worth the investment.

The Bottom Line

Interactive content can help you foster richer interactions with leads at all stages of the purchase funnel. Hopefully these examples and ideas will help you get fired up about creating some new, not boring assets to help your sales team convert prospects into customers!