We all agree that content needs to exhibit key attributes to be effective. Edelman and LinkedIn found the following attributes to be most valuable to resonate with a B2B buyer:
- Relevant, Timely and Applicable
- Insights related to target customers industry
- Delivery From a Trusted Source
- Staying Current
For both value-based selling and for this high performing content to be produced, you require your team to listen and ask good questions to the client.
In most sales organisations the output of listening is a note in their CRM or answers to pipeline review or an internal discussion. Usually left in a silo and certainly not part of a process.
However content can play a role to stitch your sales process together and industrialise.
Since those in sales are not necessarily the only experts in each field (particularly in complex B2B deals) they need to relay these conversations to the experts in the firm in order to produce very client-relevant, authentic and timely content.
Even if content has already been produced to answer these questions, the likelihood is something far more tailored is required or updated.
Once the team have put together a piece of content that ticks all the attributes above, it can then be sent back to the prospect/client with some added context from the sales person (who is the trusted source).
According to the ongoing research by LinkedIn and Edelman this has a resounding impact on winning business. Over a third of c-suite execs and decision makers surveyed 47% said such content had a direct impact on awarding business.
Most organisations look to embed processes that are scalable, governed and manageable. This format helps to 'close the loop' and enable this.
This is a simplified view of what the process can look like:
This also highlights why it is hard for your team to typically produce content or follow a process - feedback. This process clearly has a feedback loop which increases collaboration. It is that positive feedback (more scientific research here) that humans crave to repeat an action. Without feedback, whether following a sales process or writing a blog or entering information into a CRM, it really does not become an industrialised behaviour.
Beyond the content influencing very specific deals, it can be leveraged by your wider organisation with other clients but also to educate and help the firm know what direction they are pulling in.
So if the objective is to transform and create a value-based sales process, the takeaways are:
- Provide feedback to all those involved
- Use content as a sales enabler and to increase team collaboration
- Integrate with your reporting tools to measure success
- Make sure leadership is onboard