How To Use Content To Differentiate In The Sales Process
A Corporate Executive Board study found that customers complete 60% of their decision-making process before contacting a vendor. This means that before even approaching your sales reps, the customer has already researched solutions, ranked options, set up expectations and compared prices. These days, customers have incredible access to information -- information about your company, your products and services, your competitors, etc. -- and are often way ahead of the common salesperson.
But this doesn’t mean that you give up on sales. Quite the opposite, actually: It means you have to differentiate yourself from the ineffective, hard-selling strategies of your competition.
How do you differentiate your company from the rest of the pack? How do you get your words heard above the noise of competition?
To differentiate your company from everyone else -- to get your prospects truly listening -- you need to turn your sales process into a sales enablement strategy. And the only way to do that is with powerful content.
Content = comfort and confidence.
There’s a lot to be said about content marketing, but less is known about using content to enable sales. This is unfortunate, since content is arguably even more important in the sales process than it is in marketing strategy.
When a buyer contacts a vendor, it means they’ve already done the foundational research. So what they need is more specialized information: the relevant and educational information they can’t easily find online. Without this solid information, he or she doesn’t have the comfort level or confidence to move forward with that buying decision.
Education trumps the hard sell[every time].
Effective content incorporates insightful research and unbiased information, along with supporting evidence for your company’s products and services. It’s very important that you educate your prospects instead of simply selling to them. This “education factor,” as well as disseminating the right type of content at the right points during the sales process, is what’s going to separate you from your competition’s hard sells and templated processes.
Hyper-personalized content during both the marketing and sales processes builds a bridge of trust between your company and your prospects. Without this trust, that sale is simply not going to happen.
Use the right types of content.
- Provide responsive content to both answer questions the buyer asks as well as anticipate the questions they may have down the line. This content typically includes product information, capabilities brochures, pricing data and relevant, interesting details about your company.
- Send out helpful insight content from third-party sources to establish your company as a knowledgeable, trustworthy resource. This typically includes research, industry analysis and statistics that assure the buyer they’re on the right track.
- Use challenging insight content to address the customer’s pain points from a different, eye-opening perspective. This view should challenge the customer’s perspective about their business enough to grab their attention, but not so much that it turns them off or scares them away. These materials usually include thought-provoking questions, research, statistics and case studies that support your recommendations. It’s important to incorporate reliable third parties to strengthen your points as you continue to express your company’s thought leadership and differentiation.
- Seal the deal with differentiating content that promotes your company’s unique solutions to their pains and problems. These materials include case studies, product comparisons, focused demonstrations, testimonials, ROI evaluations, consultative analysis and trial evaluations. It’s important to keep in mind that differentiating content should only be disseminated once the challenging insight content has successfully galvanized the attention of the buyer.
There’s no “I” in sales.
It’s crucial that you limit your “self-talk” as much as possible. Highlighting your own strengths is not nearly as powerful as letting other, credible sources highlight them for you. In fact, talking about yourself only annoys and frustrates your prospects, which seriously cripples your conversion efforts.
Want to learn more about the power of hyper-personalized content to differentiate your company during the sales process? Fill out the form below to contact a hyper-helpful member of the Accent team and we’ll make sure all your questions are answered.