So, your marketing team has produced a lot of content. But does your sales team know how to use it?
When your sales team engages in prospecting and social selling, they need to guide potential buyers down the funnel. All the way from the awareness stage to the decision stage. Serving up the right content to the right person at the right time helps buyers along the path.
Below, you'll find a quick primer on content marketing for salespeople. In it, we'll look at buyer personas, their journeys, and how content fits into that journey. Let's get started…
When marketing teams create content (e.g. blog posts, infographics, videos, e-books, etc.), they have an ideal recipient in mind. If your company wants to sell to the VP of Sales at an enterprise company, your marketing team does not write for a solopreneur.
To keep their efforts aligned, your marketing team creates buyer personas. These are fictionalized profiles of your target audience.
To understand their target audience, your marketing team has spoken with:
- You and the rest of your sales team
- Your customer service team
- Your current customers
From their interviews, they create a profile of their ideal customer. Typically, they fill out a worksheet that is similar to this one:
To download this worksheet as an interactive PDF, click here.
As a salesperson, you want to understand these buyer personas for two reasons.
First, you should use this information when you are connecting with new buyers. These personas help you identify the right people in companies. For example, should you contact the Head of Engineering when the Head of Engineering is not your buyer?
Second, you will to use these buyer personas to ensure that you are serving the right content to the right prospect. Some content will resonate better with certain buyers. Other types of content will resonate with other types of buyers, which brings us to the next section.
Mapping Your Content to Your Buyer Personas
You will want to take a few moments to take stock of the content available to you. Then, you will want to map it to your buyer personas.
Which of your company’s content assets correspond to which buyer personas? Have you found any third-party reports, blog posts, or infographics that might be helpful to your buyers, as well? Jot them down in the table below.
Here's a template to help you out:
To fill out the worksheet, click here to download it.
Content and the Sales Funnel
All right, you know who needs what content.
The next step is understanding when your buyers need each type of content. During your conversations, try to suss out where your buyers in the process so that you can determine what to share. For example, someone who is just learning about social selling probably is not ready for a customer testimonial. So, don't send the potential buyer that asset.
When it comes to buying stages, companies have different terminologies. For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to use the commonly cited stages of the sales funnel. Below, you'll find a brief explanation of the stages, as well as the types of content that works well for each of those stages.
1. TOFU (Top of the Funnel)
Your potential buyers are still trying to figure things out. They have not indicated any intention to buy or any preferences for your company. Instead, they are starting to identify and research their problem.
Traditionally, marketing has taken care of this stage. However, when salespeople prospect and use social selling techniques, it is likely that they will encounter people who are just beginning their research.
TOFU content: Anything educational that will build trust and awareness. E-books, white papers, blog posts, infographics
2. MOFU (Middle of the Funnel)
Aha! As a salesperson, the middle of the funnel is closer to your wheelhouse. Potential buyers have shown interest in your company or your product. They are actively researching your product. Your task is to help your potential buyer differentiate your product from your competitor's product.
MOFU content: Buyer's guides, product webinars, product case studies, demo videos, ROI calculators
3. BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel)
Congratulations! This is the stage of the funnel where your prospects are close to making a decision. You just have to give that final push.
BOFU content: Customer success stories, pricing sheets, and live product demos
Mapping Your Content to the Sales Funnel
As a modern sales professional, you have to build trust with your buyers, and content is a great way to build trust. On a regular basis, you have to ask yourself, Why? Why hasn't my prospect moved closer to making a decision?
Where is this prospect getting stuck? What does my buyer need to know to get unstuck?
Once you have identified the sticking point, you can help the buyer get unstuck by sharing relevant content. Sometimes, you will send content that your team has created. Maybe a white paper or an infographic.
Other times, you will send someone else's content – perhaps a third-party study about e-mail deliverability or a fantastic blog post that you found.
As you take ownership of your relationships with your prospects, a content marketing library is a must-have. This library should map your content to both the sales funnel and your buyer personas. When trying to help your buyer's get unstuck, you can consult your library and find the right piece of content for your buyer.
Your library should look something like this:
To fill out the worksheets, click here to download it.
What have you found helpful?
As modern sales professionals cross paths with buyers, it is important that they identify who their buyers are and where their buyers fall in their journey. That way, they can serve the right information at the right time.
In this blog post, we looked at a few techniques. What have you found helpful as you teach your sales teams about buyer personas, journey mapping, and content marketing?
Leave a comment below!
Additional Sales Resources
- How to Overcome 6 Common Objections to Social Selling
- 8 Incredibly Informative Infographics to Guide Your Social Selling
- Improve Your Social Selling on LinkedIn with These 12 Tips and Tricks
- 15 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Social Selling Platforms
Image via Alice Popkorn on Flickr.
Posted by Mark Bajus