How to take advantage of Content for Sales with Bernie Borges
The Sales Conversation
This episode features Bernie Borges, Chief Marketing Officer at Vengreso. Vengreso’s focus is on helping organizations with their digital sales transformation. Bernie has been on this focus for longer than most and comes to the table as a top-class marketer who continues to be very relevant for sales. He carried a bag in his personal sales career for ten years, and then switched over to the marketing side – so he’s walked many miles in both shoes and is gifted in bringing both together to influence revenue growth. We will be talking about Content for Sales, and how to take advantage of and leverage content in your sales cycles. He will be answering the what, the when and the how of introducing content to your buyers to influence their engagement with you.
What is Going on in the World of Sales?
We are living in an age where the buyers go through the buying journey anywhere from 50% to 80% on their own. They’re conducting research online and talking to their peers. And we know there’s data that shows that 94% of b2b buyers consume between five and eight pieces of content from the vendor that they ultimately select.
What is Content for Sales?
If you are in sales, you don’t want to be solely dependent on content that’s coming just from your marketing department to influence the prospects you are talking to. You want to have some influence too. You want content that you can share with your buyers. Content for Sales is content that enables salespeople to influence in a positive, constructive and useful way – helping their buyers by sharing content with them – proactively. The goal is to share content that is useful, relevant and helpful to them. You are providing resources to them so that those buyers want to have a conversation with you.
What are Pitfalls with Content for Sales?
The biggest trap sellers find themselves in is “random acts of content.” A lot of companies have a sales enablement function. This function exists so that the salespeople can focus on contacting and building relationships with prospects and can avoid the heavy lift of identifying the content that they need. The trap sellers find themselves falling into is working hard to find the content they need. And unfortunately, because it is hard work, it takes some effort and kudos to some salespeople who do it. A lot of other salespeople don’t, and they really should be enabled by the marketing department with the right content.
Thinking about Your LinkedIn Profile
62% of decision makers review a sales persons LinkedIn profile and look for evidence that that salesperson can be helpful to them. You want to avoid having a profile that brags about how you make quota and go to President clubs, and how you’re a great contract negotiator – because that’s not what your buyer wants to read. You want to have the kind of a profile that communicates your credibility, authority, and expertise within your industry. You don’t have to be a 30-year salesperson by any means. You just need to communicate that you understand and know the challenges in the industry and the pain points of your buyer, and how you help your buyer. You want to avoid the pitfall of being someone that the buyer visits online and goes “Nope” and moves on. You want to be a thumbs up person – the person they want to engage with.
One thing that has not changed since the beginning of time is that sales is about relationships. It’s just so easy for the buyer to be invisible and not respond, and it’s harder than ever to make those connections to build a relationship.
Being Consistent and Having a Cadence
For digital selling, you have to have a cadence. And a cadence means that you are doing things consistently and it’s pre-determined. That doesn’t mean every Tuesday at 9:30 am. It just means that daily, you’ve got a preset, predetermined set of activities that you’re doing so that you are consistent. So that’s another pitfall to avoid if you just say, yeah, I’m going to do this, and you think about it once a week, or every other week, and you just kind of, like parachute in and, and send someone a piece of content that again, is that random act of content. You’re going to get limited results. You’ve got to have a cadence. If it sounds like this takes some work and some effort – it does. 94% of buyers are going to consume five to eight pieces of content from the vendor they ultimately select. Are you going to have the habit and cadence of engaging with your buyers with content that you know that they need to help them on their journey? We don’t have a sales process anymore – the sales process is dead. It’s the buyer’s journey, and we have to engage the buyer on their journey and influence them by being a resource to them. We’re not selling to them; we are helping them on their journey. Hopefully, at the end of their journey, they’re doing business with you because you rose to the top in being helpful to them.
Content Relevant for Multiple Buyers
Let’s say you’re a b2b sales professional, and you sell a major system. There are ten people on the buying committee. Let’s say it’s a $300,000 average contract value, and it’s a six to twelve-month sales cycle. Your solution has multiple aspects of information about it. So along the way, you need to be feeding content to the different people on the buying committee that’s relevant to their role. For example, there’s going to be some roles at the executive level, and content for them is all around total cost of ownership, return on investment, the value to the customer experience, etc. Then there’s going to be people in the buying committee whose jobs are on the line to implement your solution. They need to understand what’s it take to implement. They want to know what’s involved, who’s involved and what are the resources that are needed? They want to know what are the risks, what’s the upside and other details. The point is you need to understand the different personas that are involved in the buying journey, and what their interests are.
Types of Content for Sales
Content types for sales are no different than all other content types – whether it’s a case study, blog article, third-party research data, etc. As long as the content type matches and aligns with the persona and the journey, that’s the most important thing to that individual – addressing the question that that potential buyer is probably trying to ask at that point in time.
The Role of Marketing in Content for Sales
Sellers can influence their marketing people on how to take an action toward content for sales. Marketing needs to understand 94% of buyers are going to are going to consume the five pieces of content from the winning vendor that they select. Marketers need to ensure enough content exists to feed those prospective buyers and enable sales people to be influential in the delivery of that content. Sales should be thinking about collaborating with marketing. It’s an age-old topic – marketing and sales collaboration. But we’re now in the age of digital and account-based marketing. We have more potential for alignment because the lines have blurred between sales and marketing. The modern marketer who is truly aligned with the sales team and the head of sales says to the head of sales, “your number is my number, and I want to work with you on the path to that number.” The marketer then needs to support the sellers with great messaging and content they can use in their one-to-one conversations.
Here are a few summary takeaways for this episode:
- The modern B2B buyer is spending a good deal of time surfing and being influenced outside of direct selling conversations with the vendor. They also consume 5-8 pieces of content from the vendor they ultimately select. So, the net of it is the modern buyer is seeking content, and the onus is on you to make sure they get relevant content to influence their decision and ultimately buy from you! You can appreciate Bernie’s advice and warning – to stay away from “random acts of content.”
- We also talked about cleaning up and sharpening your LinkedIn profile and recrafting your profile from a customer point of view. This means shifting the content focus – from all about you types of content to more about the industry and customer problems you help customers solve. Furthermore, you should showcase the resources and value you bring in helping customers solve for their challenges. Ultimately, we want potential buyers to want to have a relationship with us, and it’s important to help them connect the dots on how we will be relevant to them.
Resources and Links for this Episode
- Connect with Bernie Borges on LinkedIn
- Learn about Digital Sales Transformation at Bernie’s company Vengreso
- Download the Content for Sales Infographic Bernie mentioned
- Visit Bernie’s Resource Center to learn more about Content for Sales
- Watch some videos on Vengreso’s YouTube Channel
- Listen to the Selling with Social Sales Podcast
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Sound editing and show notes produced by – ChirpSound