Today’s guest post is from Amar Sheth from Sales for Life.
If you’re in sales, you’ve likely heard about the importance of sharing content with your social networks and with prospects directly. While marketing departments increase budgets on content marketing, the disconnect between sales and marketing has never been more real.
Marketers cite reasons of awareness, visibility and branding as the primary reasons to share content, when it comes down to it, sales really only cares about one thing: achieving/overachieving the quota.
How do we bridge this gap?
It All Starts With the Buyer
The data around how much information buyers are consuming online is abundant. You may have heard that 57% of the buying journey is now done online before a buyer even engages with a supplier (CEB), but that number is 67% in a Dell/Carnegie Mellon study and 70% in a study by Forrester.
From all angles the evidence is clear that we as sales people need to be where our buyers are – of course – but we also need to actively demonstrate to them why we’re worthy of their budgets. This ebook is a great resource to help understand how you can use content to educate and engage buyers before your competitors.
Sharing Content Produces Sales Conversations
What many sales professionals don’t realize is that sharing content isn’t just something you do passively, but an effective way to spark real conversations with prospects directly and within your social networks.
Think about it: a simple like, comment or share on the content you share can produce a real and tangible sales conversation. If opening doors is your goal, then sharing content becomes an invaluable ally. It allows you to educate even without your physical presence. We shouldn’t miss this powerful opportunity.
How Should You Start Sharing Content?
It all starts with finding content to share. This is where sales professionals spend a significant amount of time wondering if what they’re finding will get attention and capture prospect mindshare. If you’re just starting out with content sharing, or may already be on that path, there are two drop-dead simple ways to find content without wasting any neural energy:
1. Share what you read: that’s right, if you are immersed in your industry and read about it regularly, share your new-found discoveries with prospects and social networks alike.
2. Ask prospects what they’re reading: quite simply, e-mail your top 5 clients and ask them what they read regularly. This research may reveal some obvious sources but it will likely surprise you as well. Once discovered, these sources should become regular reading for you.
Use Content Aggregators
Content aggregators are online tools that help centralize everything you’re reading into one place. No more going to different websites; you can log into one spot daily and even get news from that tool on your smartphone.
Need a few good suggestions to try out? Give these a look, they’re certainly worth your time.
They’re easy to set-up and simple to use. Once you add all of your own content sources, these tools will also auto-suggest content to you.
Schedule Content Daily
One thing I do is find content daily from my content aggregator and then schedule it. You can check out these free tools to get started:
Instead of manually sharing content at different times of the day, you can schedule content to be shared on social networks at dates and times of your choosing.
Practice Makes Perfect
Like everything else that’s important in our sales roles, we have to make time for this. Whether it’s cold calling, e-mailing, researching, roleplay time, etc. we must invest our time into this to make it happen.
Sharing content is no different.
If you’re serious about meeting the modern buyer on her/his new turf, scheduling 15-20 minutes daily is something you’ll want need to do.
The Bottom Line
Sharing content has equalized the playing field for sales professionals. We have equal footing with our buyers. If they’re finding content and doing research without us, we can now share ideas, thoughts, and education back with them.
If you take one thing away from this blog, let it be this: setting up and sharing content is worth your while. It produces real sales conversations, nurtures deals and helps convey your expertise in the market.
Great image from Sean MacEntee