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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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sara callahan

sara callahan Owner/President

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Using Content as a Sales Tool

Most companies view content marketing as a means to rank higher in search engines, establish thought leadership and engage with their audience. Content, such as newsletters and blogs distributed via email and social media channels, enables businesses to stay top-of-mind with clients and prospects. It can be used to educate existing customers and any prospects investigating a business’s products and services and tends to produce excellent results in the long term. However, there is one hidden benefit that many companies fail to consider -- the ability to use great content as an internal resource.

Regardless of if the business is B2C or B2B, all businesses sell something. Whether that is cars, software, or any other type of product or service, typically, there are salespeople involved. And, consumers tend to view sales pitches as biased. I mean, what salesperson is going to say that their product sucks? You can provide sales pamphlets, marketing materials, demos and many other resources to your salespeople to add to their toolboxes to help close more deals. But many times prospective customers view these as just what they are – solicitations. When you get those in the mail or in your e-mail inbox, what do you do? Chances are they go straight into the trash. So, how is content marketing any different?

Great content can also be used by salespeople. Let’s look at a classic example from the automotive industry. In days gone by, salespeople would keep binders at their desks filled with competitive analysis and comparisons of their vehicle versus a competing manufacturer’s similar vehicle – say an Accord versus a Camry – in order to convince a customer that they’re making the right choice.

This practice has virtually stopped in many case because most customers these days do their research online. But what about that customer who visits the dealership’s website, or is sitting at the desk with a salesperson, considering buying your vehicle, but wants to go home and research? What if instead of selling and/or comparing a vehicle to a competitor’s based on price, salespeople used content to educate consumers and sell them on value? That would certainly be useful, wouldn’t it? I realize it won’t always work, but it CAN be a useful tool to add to your arsenal.

There is so much noise in the world that it’s impossible for consumers to take it all in. Chances are they’re only paying attention when they’ve requested the information or they’ve looked for it intentionally.

What tools have you given your salespeople to use to effectively follow up with clients -- aside from more of the same marketing materials? Great content that is relevant to your product or service and helps educate prospects on value can be excellent material to use in follow-up.

A blog article explaining the importance of a product or service presented in an educational way could be a much more effective persuader than any templated follow up -- and much less intrusive. In addition, content can be used for indirect advertising. Prospects are much more likely to click on an educational or informational blog article promoted via social media than any in-your-face obvious advertisement.

And that’s exactly what you want to happen. If the prospect clicks on your blog article, they’re now on your website again. Even if they don’t convert right then, perhaps the next blog article… or the next one… will do the trick.

Creating content that is useful to your audience and can be leveraged by your sales team can supercharge your marketing and also add another tool for your sales staff to use, whether directly during a follow-up contact, or in the showroom while the prospect is sitting in front of them.

As long as the content supports your message, reinforces the importance of your product or service and isn’t a straight out product pitch, prospects will be more receptive to reading it and, when the time is right, might just come to you.

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