Is Your Sales Team Wasting Your Marketing?

by | Sep 27, 2013 | Content | Social Media | Email, Marketing

You get it: Marketing has changed. It isn’t about sell, sell, sell anymore. You know sharing content is the way to really get the attention of a prospective customer. This information, in the form of white papers, checklists, blog posts, videos and pictures  gently leads prospects to the conclusion that they need to talk to someone in your organization. You know your job is to create a safe welcoming environment for prospects to learn more about your brand

When you do all that, there is a payoff. If you do your job correctly as a content marketer, your website becomes a lead generation machine. Web traffic increases and people interested in learning more put their hand up, download a form, give you their email or phone number and invite you to engage them in a conversation.

Often companies embracing this strategy see an increase in leads but not an increase in sales. Where is it falling apart? While marketers have embraced their role as information providers, the sales team is still trying to sell the way they always have. They take the leads and try to jump right into hard sell mode. This approach is extremely disorienting to the prospect, who often goes running for the hills as fast as they can. It doesn’t have to be this way.

How should a salesperson handle leads generated from content marketing? Become a trusted advisor. In this role, you listen more than you talk. To help make this process run smoothly, create a list of standard questions to help you identify their needs and pain points.

Consider creating worksheets which you can send to prospects in advance of a sales call. Often prospects won’t know the answers to the questions. That’s okay; the real purpose is to get them talking so you understand what is really important to them. This conversation is as much about discovering if they will be a good prospect for you as it is for them to discover if you will be a good resource for them.

You have to resist the urge to jump to quickly into sales mode. Taking a more consultative approach can be challenging because sometimes the answer to the question may not be one of your products or services. You need to be comfortable referring prospects to someone else if you really can’t meet their needs.

Use your content as follow-up material, too. After a sales call, send a follow-up note with a link to more information on the topics you discussed. You will be able to see which prospects are really interested by looking at who downloads the information you are offering. When sales and marketing work in sync, the customer knows exactly what to expect and is more prepared to do business with you.