Think about what you do when you buy a car? Do you go to the dealer first? No way, let’s be honest we all cringe at the idea of walking on a car lot and having a throng of sales people out for the attack. No one likes that feeling – especially if you need a car. When you’re truly in the market to buy – and we’ve all been there – you likely visit manufacturer websites for product information, blogs to see what other car owners are saying, review research reports and dealer sites for pricing and promotions. All of this research ensures you don’t feel vulnerable, and that you are less likely to be taken advantage of due to your improved product knowledge. This same experience is true for every high-consideration purchase whether you’re in the market for CRM software or content development.
You want to be informed, and it’s each company’s opportunity to place the content their buyers need to make buying decisions where they’ll look, in time to influence their buy.
Now, picture yourself as someone buying your product. How do they find out its features, functions, price – traditionally its your sales-force. But now you are putting this information out on the Web in a natural, open and transparent way that is not too “salesy” – but rather educating, informing and engaging them so they will trust you as a resource.
For example, think about price. You determine the price of the SUV or car you would like to buy long before you go to the dealer. Let’s say, you set your budget at $40,000 for a new car. You align your budget to your brand and model preference early in your buying cycle – long before you ever talk to a sales person. Conversely, in your business, you normally keep price hidden until much later in the sales cycle, likely when they are talking to a sales person. That’s traditionally how’s it done. But in this new buying process, it’s not as alienating as it once was, to let prospects know pricing information because they expect and research more. Pricing is no longer held hostage by sales people, but rather made available on influential, highly trafficked influencer blogs, social platforms or software review sites.
By communicating content early and often, you can accelerate your sales cycle, improve overall expectation setting and allow your target buyers to qualify themselves. Now these leads are automatically sales ready, reducing waste and the potential for running after unqualified prospects.
So how do business executives like yourself get your content in front of prospects and hand them off to sales? This question reminds me of what well known sales trainer Jill Konrath said, “We’re all sales clones, so being different means sales people must deliver simple, invaluable information that is right to the point.” This is a lot easier when their marketing department has handed them a sales-ready lead and relevant intelligence about what content the prospect has read on their website, which webinars they’ve viewed and which items they have downloaded. Empower your sales team with intelligence, not just price sheets.