I’m a reader. So, I like a great post featuring well written, informative insight. Here’s an example of a post that appeared on my LinkedIn feed this morning, 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became the CEO of the Predictive Index. Good article, right? Predictive Index is a company I know. In fact, I’ve worked with PI Midlantic over the years and love the work they do. I have friends there, and everything Mike Zani talked about in this interview was true to what I’ve heard since he took over as CEO.

This is a notable post reinforcing the brand and messaging. I learn some background, more about their culture, and how they’ve expanded. I’m reminded of PI Midlantic and the people I know there. They are now top of mind. Seriously, top of mind, I’m writing about them.

Ask my team, I’m always sending links to articles, and quoting the Wall Street Journal. I love being informed and learning. I’m a believer in content and how it provides a way to create a greater presence, educate, entertain and even call someone to action.

You might think because I’m a consumer of content and fan, I would say that it’s the natural way to convert prospects into customers. I’m not.

I’m writing this thinking about our clients, small to mid-sized businesses throughout North America. They don’t have the budgets to cut through the noise or the marketing engine (people, processes, resources and tools) or to blanket enough consistent content to potential customers, which over time allows them to claim that their content drives a high number of sales conversions.

Marketing to many sets the stage; selling remains one to one.

I know companies, all B2B, who have invested in developing strong and important content and who struggle with the return on that content. How do I know? Their people tell me in private conversations, LinkedIn messaging. The question is always the same. “We’re creating great blogs, interviews with our clients, case studies and I’m sharing them with my network. I don’t think they’ve created any conversations though, and no new business. What am I doing wrong?”

It’s far easier to correlate sales to people.

If content “sold” or converted as much as business developers and salespeople, wouldn’t more CEOs and business owners jump into creating content and lose their sales people?

Use content as a backdrop to create social proof and familiarity, to showcase your knowledge and experience, but don’t expect it to close business for you.

If you close new business based on a piece or body of content, outstanding, consider it a win. However, manage your expectations and realize that most people still want to do business with people they know, like and trust. The best way to create that opportunity is to have a conversation and understand them. Know what they need and why they need it.

I believe we need more personalization not only in our marketing but our sales process too.