What is the role of content in your sales organization?
The term “content marketing” can make it seem like content’s main purpose is to support marketing initiatives. In fact, content should have just as much of an impact on your company’s sales department. This is especially true for sales reps that are engaged in social selling.
Unfortunately, not enough companies truly take advantage of the sales enablement and social selling benefits of content creation. On average, only 20% of sales professionals in technology companies are sharing content. This could be a large contributor to the fact that 60-70% of all content in B2B organizations isn’t shared.
This may be frustrating to learn if you are in charge of creating and promoting content. The blame shouldn’t fall squarely on salespeople though. If your content isn’t being utilized by sales, you need to ask yourself if you are truly giving them the content they need.
While the old method of one-on-one sales may have allowed sales reps to get by without much supplemental information, engaging inbound leads and social selling requires much more useful content. When social selling, reps are using social media to start conversations with prospects by providing useful information and answering questions.
What content does a salesperson need for social selling?
Gain Input from Social Sellers
The most important resource you have to determine what content will be most valuable to your sales team is — you guessed it — your sales team. Sales team feedback is the number one technique B2B marketers use to research their target audience for content marketing, with 74% of marketers relying on this source.
Sales reps with have the best insight into:
- What questions come up during the sales process
- Which pain points are most relevant to their target audience
- What information prospects request
- What content performs the best and generates the most responses
- Which content mediums prospects prefer
Combine the feedback gained from your salespeople with metrics from inbound marketing, open and click-through rates from sales emails and social media insights to help direct your social selling content marketing strategy.
Map Social Selling Content to the Buyer’s Journey
Over three-fourths (77%) of the most successful B2B marketers craft content based on specific stages of the buyer’s journey. Only 28% of the least successful marketers attempt the same strategy.
While it may seem as though social media is only useful for the Awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, true social selling can be used to engage prospects throughout the process. Today’s buyers have many different preferred methods of communication from email to messaging apps to social networks. Sales reps can take a prospect all the way through awareness, evaluation and purchase if they are equipped with the right content for social selling.
Best Content Types for Sales Enablement
While the content you use will depend on input from your sales reps, marketing insights and target personas, these are some of the best content types for B2B SaaS companies looking to enable social selling:
- Social Media Posts and Message Templates: Provide salespeople with regular social media posts that focus on delivering value to their audience, answering specific questions or getting a conversation started. Once a rep has identified a specific prospect, provide them with direct message templates they can use to further the sales process.
- Blog Posts and White Papers: Create content that helps move social leads through the awareness and evaluation stages by answering the specific questions your sales reps have identified. Salespeople should be able to link this content to prospects in response to questions or complaints they’ve posted on social media without coming off as overly sales-y or self-serving.
- Case Studies: Case studies can provide great social proof and can help relate to the specific pain points a prospect is feeling. Create a variety of case studies to touch on each unique vertical and use case your business serves.
- Data Sheets, One-Pagers and Product Webinars: Further along the sales process, reps need product specific information for prospects in the evaluation and purchase stages. This information should serve to highlight specific benefits and should be something a prospect can easily share with other decision makers in their company.
- Competitor Analysis and Sales Scripts: Not all content you provide should be viewed by the prospect. Equipping salespeople with competitor research, sales scripts and other sales enablement tools can help them prepare for any question or situation they run into. These tools will also help establish your company’s official messaging and positioning for each potential case which is extremely valuable for onboarding new sales reps.
Create a Sales Content Resource Bank
As I mentioned earlier, only 20% of salespeople are sharing content. Creating content like the types above that reps will actually find useful is the first step to solving this problem. The second step is to make sure your sales team knows this content exists and has easy access to it. All of the sales enablement content in the world won’t help your organization if it is hidden or too disorganized for salespeople to make efficient use of it.
Create a content resource bank for your sales department so they can easily search through and find content related to specific verticals, common questions and use cases. In social selling, timing is everything. Improving the time it takes a sales rep to respond to a prospect question by even a minute can mean the difference in a sale.
Want to discuss more about how your organization can leverage social selling through better content? Schedule a call with Ken today!