Marketing meet Sales, Sales meet Marketing.
The B2B sales dynamic has dramatically changed in recent years. CEB reports that 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier. Many of these buyers are then quick to lump all offerings into a commodity category and immediately negotiate on price. With a universe of information at their finger tips, they feel that they really do not need a sales rep to solve their problems. They do not want to be sold at all.
To get ahead of this, successful sellers understand that problem finding is more valuable than problem solving. They know that they need to get ahead can get ahead of the buying decision. This is where content marketing comes in.
What effective content marketing does, is facilitate best practices in consultative sales methodologies; the principle concept being: “Lead to rather than lead with” your offering.
Good content marketing is not the same thing as good ad copy. It’s really not about traditional advertising in any way. Traditional advertising assumes the buyer already knows what they need and attempts to capture attention of ready and willing buyers and persuade them to choose a particular product or service.
Content marketing assumes that there are a wide variety of potential buyers (human beings) that have an intention to accomplish something. They may not know what they need exactly; they may not even identified what their true problem yet. Based on this intention, these potential buyers either search for, or are attracted to “content” that helps shape their understanding of both their needs and possible solutions.
Ideally, the content created should help facilitate a consultative sales model which reduces the resistance to buying and moves the customer through an emotional arc that culminates in a buying decision.
Once a person engages with content they now are in the sales funnel, and marketing automation can be used to tailor additional, relevant “content” that leads them down a path that ultimately ends at your offering. By this time they have actually sold themselves or just need a friendly nudge to close.