More than 70 percent of B2B buyers completely define their needs before engaging with a sales representative, and nearly half identify specific solutions before reaching out. This trend makes content marketing that much more critical to the success or failure of an organization.

Without it, your organization risks not being considered as a serious contender when buyers are ready to select the best solution for their needs and challenges. But, if you’re going to practice content marketing, why not take it a step further by enabling your sales force to leverage your content in their outbound efforts and throughout the sales process?

Arming sales with content, facilitates the proactive advancement of sales. Beyond classic content marketing, there are additional ways to use content throughout the sales process. Doing so positively impacts your bottom line, supports sales, and allows you to take full advantage of your content more than just blog articles would.

Content Marketing Has Benefits

If you’re creating useful content to attract your ideal prospects, educate them, and help them throughout their buying process, you’re probably doing more than posting articles on your blog. For the process of content marketing to be effective, you should promote your content and engage with your audience. As a result, your company can experience many benefits. These include:
Improved SEO and increased site traffic.

Ways to Use Content to Your Advantage

Your content fulfills your business’ marketing needs. But, why not get more for your content investment by fine-tuning and repurposing it for use by your sales team at the various stages of the buyers’ journey. There are ways your sales force can use that content throughout the sales process to attract additional leads, nurture them until they are ready to buy, help sales reps win more deals, and reduce customer churn.

Only 23 percent of B2B buyers view sellers as a top resource for solving business problems. This can be a major obstacle for sales reps unless they understand their buyers’ businesses, challenges, and goals so they can have intelligent conversations with prospects. Being viewed as a top resource is important because 78% of business buyers seek trusted advisors who guide them through their buying process and add value to their business. Using content in the following 4 ways enables your sales team to accomplish this in the eyes of potential customers.

Use Content as Part of Your Outbound Sales Strategy

Outbound sales approaches have typically been limited to cold calls and emails sent by your sales team. With the increasing popularity of social selling, it’s now an important outbound strategy allowing sales reps to target ideal prospects, establish rapport, and warm potential clients up before contacting them by phone.

All these methods of outbound sales benefit from content. This is especially true of social engagement where individual sales team members can attract prospects by posting valuable content. They can also share personalized content selections with individual prospects while developing rapport and building relationships on LinkedIn. And, other potential uses of content in your outbound sales strategy include sending related content after an initial phone call and in a follow-up email.

Share content of interest to your audience to build authority and trust with prospects so they’re comfortable connecting with you, allowing reps to start productive conversations around buyers needs, challenges, and goals while developing relationships.

Pursue Leads Sourced From Marketing’s Content Efforts

Both marketing and sales can use content to nurture leads that aren’t yet ready to buy.

Marketing is known for doing this through e-newsletters and blog updates. Additional personalized content selections can also be automatically served to leads along their journey based on data and insights around their interactions with your brand through social media, your website, the sales team, and the service department. Guiding prospects to the most desired content for their specific point in their buying journey helps them answer their questions while working through their decision-making process.

Sales reps need to remain connected with leads they’ve engaged with previously to ensure your brand continues to be considered on the prospect’s shortlist. Sharing content that’s tailored for their specific industry and challenges as well as their stage in the process helps the potential customer answer their questions so they continue considering your solution up to the point where they’re ready to make a final buying decision. This increases trust and helps build a relationship with prospects. Plus, it sets the salesperson apart from the competition who may not be as in tune with them, their unique needs, and their specific goals.

Use Content in an Existing Sales Process to Help Win More Deals

Properly aligning content with the customer’s buying process increases deal win rate by more than 12% over organizations who fail to do so.

Creating content for every moment throughout the buyer’s journey enables your sales reps to leverage it to do such things as:

  • Overcome objections with content that clarifies misconceptions and responds to common concerns or questions, especially as prospects are approaching their final decision.
  • Gain buy-in from buying group members. The “buying committee” has grown from an average of 5.4 involved individuals a few years ago to 6.8 today. They come from a variety of roles, functions, and locations. Since these groups have differing priorities it’s increasingly difficult for sales reps to help them reach consensus. And, chances are sales reps won’t be able to gain access to every one of those decision-makers. But, arming your sales team with a library of customized content, sorted by industry, job title, and specific challenge enables them to offer the right content at the right time and get buy-in from these inaccessible key stakeholders.
  • Sealing the deal. Offering social proof, by sharing case studies that dispel any doubts potential customers may encounter as they’re close to completing a purchase with your organization, helps eliminate second thoughts and cements their selection of your solution.

Develop Loyal Customers

It’s common knowledge that acquiring new customers is up to five times more expensive than retaining existing ones. So, ensure consistent growth of your business by continually nurturing current customers and retaining them as loyal fans of your brand. According to CSO Insights, B2B buyers value after-sales follow-through in addition to having knowledgeable reps who understand them and their challenges.

They don’t want to be ignored or forgotten after the sale is made. They wish to have a continued relationship once they’re an existing customer.

This can be accomplished by arming your sales and service teams with content to inform customers of new products or features. Show them new ways to benefit from your product or service and continue to provide them with customer success stories to remind them of the value you offer.

Get the Most From Your Content Marketing

Have your sales team use informative content geared specifically to where prospective customers are in their buying journey. Doing so improves your bottom line by:

  • Generating better outbound sales results.
  • Being helpful while nurturing leads and deepening relationships with prospects.
  • Closing more deals.
  • Developing loyalty with your existing base of customers.

Contact us if you need help creating more useful content for your sales team to leverage or developing an outbound sales strategy through LinkedIn.

About the Author

Margot Howard

Margot Howard writes content that attracts, educates and converts for B2B software and service companies. Margot’s extensive prior corporate sales experience gives her a deeper understanding of their audiences’ challenges, concerns, language and buying journey. She has written about sales, service, marketing and customer experience topics for companies like ringDNA, MindTickle, Live Guide Chat and several CRMs.