Social selling is complex and involves many different elements. However, one of the most important aspects of social sales is quite simple. No matter what you are selling, or who your target clientele is, you absolutely must participate actively in content marketing.
Salespeople and marketers work together on sales enablement in order to create content that is of real value to potential clients. The end goal is to develop a dramatically more reliable sales funnel; or pipeline; which results in much higher ROIs, more profitable deals, and customer conversions.
According to the Aberdeen Group Study completed in 2016, “Research found that best-in-class sales-enabled companies outperformed the competition, on average generating twice as much total company revenue and twice the average deal size; sales-enabled sellers massively outperformed their competitors in lead conversion as well”.
What is Content Marketing & How is It Different from Direct Advertising?
There is a world of difference between content and content marketing. Many businesses fail to recognize the difference between content marketing and content of the direct/native advertisement variety, in particular. But professionals everywhere are beginning to catch on, and it’s important that you don’t get left behind.
Content marketing essentially takes advantage of media and publishing opportunities; both on and offline; to draw consumers and influence their behavior by providing viewers with relevant information of real value and substance. In recent years, the dominant focus of content marketing has turned to social media. The results have been nothing less than dynamic. Ryan Skinner gives a really informational and insightful speech on the topic if you’re interested in the particulars of this transition.
Quality content marketing should never come across as a perceived interruption, or as a pitch for a sale. Native, or direct advertising, on the other hand, consists of content that is a direct pitch. Essentially, content marketing is a ‘pull’ sales technique, while direct advertising content is a ‘push’ sales technique.
70% of all contributing sales professionals interviewed are using social selling tools; making them the most widely used sales technology of our time.
Why is Content Marketing Important?
In today’s fast paced society, it is critical that you are able to make real, lasting connections with your customer base. Your competition is using social selling strategies like content marketing whether you decide to or not. Brand awareness and recognition are simply not enough to make steady revenue anymore.
Content marketing focuses on drawing a very specific, previously identified audience to a company and then keeping the customer actively involved with the company over time. This is accomplished by providing them with consistently valuable content that addresses their pain points and shows your understanding of their particular needs.
90% of top sales professionals questioned are now using social selling tools.
By avoiding ‘pushing’ and actively working towards ‘pulling’, sales professionals typically find that they quickly begin developing sales funnels with much higher ROIs. While ‘push’ tactics were effective in their own time, they have since been eclipsed by more effective ‘pull’ tactics. According to Forbes, in their most recently conducted survey, LinkedIn found that 90% of top sales professionals questioned are now using social selling tools, and 70% of all contributing sales professionals interviewed are using social selling tools; making them the most widely used sales technology of our time.
How Exactly is Content Marketing Used in Social Sales?
There are several steps in the sales funnel process that sales professionals and marketers go through together to ensure that they maximize their sales enablement. They are:
- The top- This is the very beginning stage of filtering out the undesirables; or uninterested parties. Marketing content developed for this stage is aimed at simply creating product or service awareness and letting people know what solutions your team has to offer. This content is most commonly manifest in the form of short blog posts, articles, and social media posts.
- The middle- Once you’ve selected an interested audience that are likely buyers you need to provide these customers with information of further value. Marketing content developed for this group of prospects includes blog posts and such as well, however, they need to present more specific and detailed information. Other powerful content options for this stage include infographics, case studies, whitepapers, product reviews or comparisons, etc…
- The bottom- The final stage of your sales funnel is where the customer will make their final purchasing decisions. Obviously, your objective at this point is to close the deal. Content marketers working on this final stage of the sale provide the most detailed information available; from industry research to custom presentations describing how your product/service can address their pain points.
Using content marketing as a part of your social selling strategy makes it drastically more convenient and simple to connect with your ideal customer base. As the wise Pekka Koskinen of Leadfeeder says, “When you know which of your published topics are getting the most attention from your most valuable individual prospects, you’re able to engage with them with relevant content recommendations