3 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Content in Sales


3 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Content in Sales

Using content in the sales process is a double-edge sword. It can definitely help add value, but it can also kill your competitive position if used incorrectly. There’s a lot of hoopla about “the right content at the right time.” Okay, we get it. But what are the fundamental rules of engagement? What makes content really effect? When and how should it be used?

The most important event in B2B sales is the “meaningful conversation.” When sellers have meaningful, consultative dialogue with buyers about their challenges and how those challenges can be solved.

String these meaningful conversations together and it should look something like this:

Challenges >> Impact of Challenges >> Options for solving >> How We Can Help >> Evidence Our Approach Works

Anything that doesn’t support that flow should be avoided. Any content that doesn’t help the buyer along this path just gets in the way.

I make my living creating and selling software that helps sales teams deliver the right content at the right time. But, any technology solution, no matter how good, won’t help unless it supports the buyer’s decision cycle.

Here are the biggest mistakes to avoid.


1. Not relevant to the buying situation

The biggest problem with content is relevance. A lot of content produced is just not relevant enough for the buyers. Tom Pisello, CEO of Alinean and author of Frugalnomics, is one of the sales industry’s top authorities on using content in the sales process. His extensive research, including a significant Buyer Survey conducted by IDC, found that using content that’s not relevant to the buyer’s situation can have fatal consequences.

  • Reduces your chances of making the buyer’s selection shortlist by one third
  • Shrinks the chance of getting a sales by almost 50%

So, make sure the content you deliver helps buyers get to the next step in their decision cycle by addressing their specific needs and answers the question:

What information do they need to take the next step along their journey?


2. Not personalized for the buying team

Using pure, off-the-shelf content sends a clear message to buyers. You don’t care enough about them to help them connect the dots by relating the information in your content to their specific situation. And buyers can sniff this out from a mile away.

Always, always, always connect the dots by personalizing the content you are delivering. Add their names, add their process acronyms, and whenever possible, show you understand their internal language.

As a minimum, surround the content with notes or messaging that connect the dots. Do this in email messages, electronic sticky notes on slides or pages, voice notes, or whatever other means you have available.


3. Doesn’t bring value to the engagement

Now the big one. Have the discipline to avoid using content that doesn’t bring value to the engagement. Heaping content onto the buying team that doesn’t help them take the next step in the buying process can absolutely hurt your chances of winning. It frustrates

[already overloaded] buyers because they have to sift through irrelevant information that doesn’t help them.

Using content that doesn’t bring value is like making really dumb, senseless statements during conversations with buyers. And we all know that fatal results that can bring.


Summary: There’s lots of material written about content and how it can make the big difference during sales engagements. Very true. But, I thought it would be helpful to discuss critical mistakes to avoid, because those can also make a big difference.


Hope you have your best year ever.

Pete McChrystal

By Accent Technologies

14th December 2016