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content marketing for sales

Salespeople are tenacious. They send email after email, make call after call, meet with prospect after prospect, then get up morning after morning and repeat. Salespeople work hard. But hard work doesn’t make sales — at least not efficiently.

Most B2B companies now understand the role that content plays in marketing, to generate leads. But many companies are still relying on “hard work” methods of converting those leads to customers. The reality is that content can create just as much magic for the sales process as for marketing. It can build the relationship, persuade, and convince.

When content is used effectively in the sales process, the role of the salesperson changes from pursuer/hunter (hard work that takes up a lot of time) to facilitator/educator (smart work that requires significantly less time). The sales process is made easier and shorter — because content can work 24/7, when the buyer is available and ready.

What content does your sales team need? These three essentials are workhorses that will propel your team’s productivity forward.

1. Share Challenging Insight

To convince buyers to act quickly, you need to challenge assumptions that are blinding them to the urgency of solving their pain points.

Your biggest competitor isn’t the market leader in your industry — it’s the status quo. Buyers are taking a big risk by making a purchase, especially an enterprise-level one. What if something goes wrong? They’ll lose valuable time and, quite possibly, money. You need to present the painful costs of not taking action. When the risks of purchasing your product or service are viewed in light of these costs, the risks are small in comparison.

This type of content should “look customers in the eye and tell them that what they’re currently doing is wrong.” Ideally, this content will also lead prospects back to your unique value proposition, so they’ll decide not only to act but to purchase from your company instead of another. What does your company do better than your competitors that enables you to solve your prospects’ pain points in a more thorough/faster way? Insights around that “what” are the ones you’ll want to focus on.

Types of Content to Use: White papers, research, statistics, and case studies that demonstrate just how much prospects have to lose by putting off a decision or by buying any solution other than yours.

How to Use It: Share on social media, send (links, not attachments!) in prospecting emails and nurturing emails, and include in presentations and proposals.

2. Communicate Your Unique Value

The last thing you want is to educate prospects on the impact of pain points only to have them buy from a competitor. You’ll need to clearly communicate why your solution solves your prospects’ problems better than your competitors’ solutions do. CEB research that surveyed 3,000 B2B buyers across 36 brands across seven industries found that only 14% of buyers perceive enough meaningful difference between brands’ business value to be willing to pay extra for that difference. Obviously, companies are not doing a good job communicating their UVPs — which gives you an opportunity to create a competitive edge.

Types of Content to Use: Case studies, white papers, ROI comparisons, consultative analyses, demos, testimonials.

How to Use It: After you’ve captured a prospect’s attention with your challenging insight, you should offer content that communicates your UVP. Share this content through CTAs in nurturing emails and as follow-ups to phone calls. Some types of UVP content are ideal to follow others: for example, you can follow up an email where you shared a case study with an offer for a white paper or an ROI comparison.

3. Answer Questions

You’ll need responsive content during the final stages of the sales process. What questions do prospects ask? What objections do you frequently hear? You’ll want to make it easy for your sales team to access and share the answers to these questions. This content should still communicate your UVP, but be more detailed.

Types of Content to Use: Talk tracks, FAQs, one-sheets, capabilities brochures, product information sheets.

How to Use It: This type of content is valuable at the bottom of the sales funnel. It should follow your insight and UVP-focused content. You’ll typically send this content via email after an initial presentation or use it in a follow-up call.

This workhorse content pulls a lot of weight quickly. It aligns your prospects’ needs and motivations with your company’s solutions and adds an urgency that gets the deal done. Using this content in the sales process will boost your sales team’s productivity and your company’s revenue.

If you’re not sure how to find challenging insight, how to communicate your UVP, or how to create content that moves prospects to action, let’s chat