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Being good at phone calls is no longer enough for a sales rep. The best salespeople position themselves as knowledgeable experts and consultants for their buyers.

As The Challenger Customer notes, the best sales reps push buyers to think differently and to engage buyers with new insights. They don't just blast product messages at their customers. This transition can be tricky for many sales reps, but when salespeople are armed with relevant content, their job is much easier.

Here are a few ways that content can make the modern sales process run smoother.

Content Can Change Buyers' Mental Models

All customers have a way of doing things. To win a deal, a sales rep must change the way customers currently do things. This requires reps to understand a customer's current beliefs, gently demonstrate how those beliefs are flawed, and show the customer a better way. Moving customers from point A to point B requires content in the form of research, stories, and persuasive ebooks and blog posts.

Content Can Build Relationships

Think about your personal life. How many times do you say to yourself, "I should send this article to my friend," or, "My mom would really get a kick out of this meme"? Well, that's how we build relationships with our customers online, too.

Many of our leads aren't ready to buy. Instead of ignoring those leads for the hotter leads, sales reps have the opportunity to build relationships with the leads who aren't quite ready to buy. They can use content to educate leads and move them closer to purchase.

Content Can Lend Credibility to Your Sales Reps

Sales reps know their products. What they need to show to their buyers is an understanding of their buyers' businesses and industries. According to Forrester, 57% of sales reps don't understand their buyer's industry, and 75% aren't knowledgeable about their buyer's specific business.

Content can help reps show that they have the expertise to solve a buyer's problem. Good content doesn't sell a product. It shows how a buyer can solve a business problem.

Content Can Turn Sales Reps into Resources

Many buyers try to avoid sales reps. That's because many sales reps continue to pounce and pitch and push, which annoys buyers. Instead, sales reps should be helping buyers do their research.

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In many ways, today's sales reps need to act more like librarians who help their buyers research their problems, who share their buyers' quest for more information, and who actively share great resources with their buyers – without making it feel like a proposal is always around the corner. That's where content can help.

Content Can Make Sales Reps Findable

Sales reps can't rely entirely on marketing to make their numbers. According to SiriusDecisions:

  • Enterprise sales reps need to source roughly 90% of their own leads.
  • Mid-market sales reps need to source between 75% and 85% of their own leads.
  • SMB reps need to source between 55% and 70% of their own leads.

By sharing content regularly on social networks, salespeople can become findable by buyers who are looking for business solutions. Insightful and relevant content can help your sales reps build your company's reputation as the industry leaders over your competitors.

Content Can Give Sales Reps an Excuse to Check In

Touching base with customers can be difficult. "Just checking in" messages annoy buyers. By sharing content, sales reps can add value and get on their customers' radars without seeming obtrusive. A "Hey, I saw this and thought of you" message can go a long way when trying to re-engage prospects and current customers.

Final Words

The word "marketing" is in the term "content marketing," but that doesn't mean sales can't leverage content. Content can help generate better sales conversations, move buyers closer to purchase, and keep buyer's engaged both before and after a sale. So, start sharing relevant content and start driving better results.

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Posted by Mark Bajus

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