Sales Process Media: An indispensable sales tool

Question 1:  Is it useful to have quality sales/marketing collateral to support serving customers at all stages of the sales/purchasing process?

Question 2:  Is it useful to have all of the above in digital form to ease distribution?

contentOK, two questions with absurdly obviously answers.  Of course, any sales professional would love to have a gigantic collection of great digital sales & marketing content to shorten sell cycles, increase odds of closing deals and providing excellent customer service and support.  All that stuff that’s available on-demand and 24 X 7 X 365.

Think of it as Sales Process Media.

Absurdly obvious perhaps to identify the need for Sales Process Media; not so absurdly obvious how to go about making it happen.  Here’s a six-step framework that can help remove some of the mystery.

  1. Curate & Create Content
  2. Classify Content by Type
  3. Classify by Sales Stage
  4. Re-Create Content in Multiple Forms
  5. Choose Distribution Method & Target(s)
  6. Promote the Content

Curate & Create Content:  Curating content is a simple addition to what you’re already doing.  Whenever you read/hear/see something that could/should be of interest to your customers and prospects, grab it and add it (or links to it) to you digital library. (You do maintain a digital library, right?)

Creating content takes more effort, but frankly the thought clarification that comes from writing down a set of thoughts is well worth it.  Just do it.  Start with a short, (350 words or so) once-a-month essay on something you know about.  Anything.  Just get started.  It’s easier than you think, and I bet you come to enjoy it.

Classify Content by Type:  You’ll want to target your collection of content to different people at different times for different purposes.  Categorizing your content collection simplifies finding the right thing when you’re working to get a decision-maker’s attention or showing a technician you know your stuff or proving that you have appropriate experience.  Here’s a set of categories to get going:

  • Thought Leadership (Innovation, Management, Common Issues & Problems, Technologies)
  • Applications
  • Case Studies
  • Product Service Info (Technical Guides, New Product/Service Announcements, Brochures/Data Sheets)

Classify by Sales Stage:  Different information is relevant at different stages of the sales process.  Thought Leadership pieces are good for establishing new relationships and further building loyalty among existing customers.  Detailed product info is needed while bundling customer support for your proposal.

[NOTE:  Some pieces of content are relevant at multiple stages!]

Re-Create in Multiple Forms:   Some people like to read text.  Some need pictures and images.  Other prefer audio.  Some want video.  Feed ‘em the content in the form/forms they like best.

Choose Distribution Method & Target(s):  There are lots and lots of ways to distribute content. Web site, Landing page, Blog, White Paper, eBook, Webinar, Live Presentation, eNewsletter, E-mail, E-mail series…  Use multiple methods.  Use distribution channels you know specific contacts like.

Promote the Content:  Point to great content on social media. (…for sure on LinkedIn & almost certainly on Twitter)  It increases odds of others finding, enjoying and re-promoting your content.  Plug your content into all existing marketing channels used by your organization.  Use the available resources.  Finally, don’t forget word of mouth!  Talk about your content!

No sales professional has nearly enough time to do all that should get done.  Sales Process Media – your digital self – is an assistant you cannot live without!

Does Grandma “get” it? (…B2B social selling, that is)

If you’re a B2B sales rep and don’t fully “get” social media selling as it applies to the B2B world, you are toast!  Go find someone who can explain why it’s so essential to their grandma.  Seriously!  Better yet, find a grandma who has built a digital extension herself, an e-Rep!

Real Expertise or Network Strength? (…another perspective)

monroeMarilyn Monroe.  A famous name.  One that virtually everyone recognizes, right?  Do you think of expertise in consumer product marketing when you think of Marilyn Monroe?  I’m guessing probably not.

And yet, Marilyn Monroe is arguably the best perfume sales person in history.

And how did that come about?  Well, a reporter – looking for some titillation for his readers – once asked her the question “What do you wear at night?”  She replied, “A few drops of Chanel #5.”  The rest is history.

Let’s be clear here about expertise, or lack thereof in this case.  For all her many talents Marilyn Monroe knew nothing, or at best next to nothing about consumer product marketing, or selling perfume or Chanel itself for that matter.  She was awesomely expert at selling her movies.

Her network of followers was the only reason she was able to sell a zillion gallons of scented water.

So yes, B2B sales pro, continue to advance your expertise.  You must!  But never, ever lose sight of the fact that your network, and more importantly, your e-Rep based, digital, social network is every bit as vital

The e-Rep and the “B” account

Quite often the most maddening thing about a “B” account is that if you happen to show up at exactly the right time on exactly the right day, you land an order.  But how on earth do you determine that right time and day?  Dumb luck is the only strategy, and it’s crazy to depend on that.

So listen to the story…  This past week I’m on the phone with a rep from one of my clients.  “Hey,” he says.

“Did you hear that my e-Rep just got a $90K order?”

It’s a cool story!