Where does the content marketing job begin and end?
Business-to-business (B2B) buyers have upended the sales process. They spend 2/3rds of the buying journey sifting through content and social media, only 1/3rd talking to sales.
Successful content marketing begins by learning from sales and buyers. Develop a deep understanding of buyers, a crystal-clear message and a focused content marketing strategy.
Create content that’s useful to buyers. Always keep the end in mind: winning customers and revenue. That’s why helping sales with social selling is part of the content marketer’s job.
Marketers can prepare sales for social selling and make sales even more successful. That’s what Jill Rowley told nearly 1,000 business-to-business (B2B) marketers at the recent Business Marketing Association 2014 Conference. See the video.
In her work at Oracle, Eloqua and Salesforce.com, Rowley found that social sellers outperform nonsocial sellers. In fact, 78% of social sellers outperform their goals.
Social media is not traditional B2B, Rowley said. It’s human to human.
Here are 6 tips to make social selling successful:
1. Start with the ABCs: “Always be connecting” with customers and with people who know your customers. Look at business cards as opportunities to connect through social media.
2. Be mindful about invitations. Avoid generic Linked In invitations. Never send invitations to connect via Linked In’s mobile app. Instead, say, “I’d be honored to have you in my network and delighted to be in yours.”
3. Help salespeople create strong personal profiles on Linked In, Twitter and elsewhere. Make sure portrait photos are professional. Go beyond cut-and-dried boilerplate. Convey humanity, personality and personal interests. Senior sales leaders may need more hand-holding than people who grew up with the Internet.
4. Teach sales to research customers’ interests through social media. To be interesting, be interested. Read what customers read. If customers tweet, learn what they tweet about.
5. Provide a steady stream of content to sales. Content is the currency of social media, Rowley said. Social media’s not about selling. It’s about sharing. Educate sales to share OPC (other people’s content).
6. Provide valuable insights to educate buyers at the right time. Tell customers something that they didn’t know, about a problem or opportunity they didn’t know they had. Such insights spark conversations between buyers and sales. They pave the way to making the The Challenger Sale.
This approach enables sales to close the deals that begin with content marketing. When you help sales succeed in social media, you make content marketing even more successful.
When a customer is won and the revenue flows, content marketing’s job is finally done.