First off, I must make it clear that I regularly consume the content of the Matt On Marketing blog. The consistently good stuff created and curated by Matt Heinz and his team makes me think. I highly recommend it.
That said, I’ve got to take exception with Matt’s recent Why your sales reps shouldn’t be creating content post. My contention is that reps who are not creating strong content on a regular basis are:
- Not exploiting a powerful tactical sales tool
- Ignoring one of the best Personal Development exercises ever
- Denying sales teammates access to their knowledge, experience, creativity and expertise
1) A sales rep who is not creating content is not exploiting a powerful tactical sales tool:
Here’s a specific example. Sales rep had worked an opportunity through the pipeline right up to closing the deal when it stalled. “Do nothing” was the competition. (Sound familiar?)
Customer decision team consisted of Sales Manager, President, CEO/Founder and COO/Co-Founder. Rep had built an excellent relationship with Sales Manager and President and had the support of both to go ahead. Rep had not been able to end-run the President, …and really didn’t want to!
Rep created a 4 minute video of himself articulating the customer’s situation, issues, problems and how his company’s offering would deliver value in that context. He sent it to Sales Manager and President with a suggestion that President forward it to CEO and COO, which she did.
Four days later the deal closed.
The video made it crystal clear to the never-before-spoken-to CEO and COO that this rep and company understood the specifics of their situation. It also shot the rep’s credibility with the customer top executive team through the roof.
Sales-Rep-Created-Content closed the deal.
2) A sales rep who is not creating content is ignoring one of the best Personal Development exercises ever.
Same example. The first version of the sales rep’s video ran 17 minutes. Do you think the attention span of any of those customer executives would have lasted 17 minutes? The rep didn’t think so and therefore thought, studied more, eliminated extraneous detail, identified the guts of the problem and solution and got it to 4 minutes.
That exercise (which took him just less than a full day) dramatically enhanced the rep’s visceral understanding, not only of a common customer situation, but also the true essence of his own offering.
Sales-Rep-Created-Content was far more effective in growing sales for this rep than the 4-day sales training class he attended earlier that year.
3) A sales rep who is not creating content is denying sales teammates access to his or her knowledge, experience, creativity and expertise
Same example. Rep’s company “sanitized” and re-made the video. This more generalized version is now used by the entire sales team at the front end of the pipeline for both prospecting and for engaging the attention of decision makers.
Sales-Rep-Created-Content is helping to fill the top end of the funnel for the entire sales force.
OK, so not all sales reps have the wherewithal to make a video. Ummmmmm, but any teenager with a cell phone can, …and does. Ditto for recording an audio. And if video or audio is too still too much, write it out! It’s your damn job, sales rep, to articulate the value of your wares! Verbally is the only way you can do so? Ummmmmm, but couldn’t you record what you say on your cell phone?
And a final thought. (Perhaps this was Matt’s point.) Is creating content really the highest and best use of a sales rep’s time? In the majority of cases, no.
However, creating highly customized Sales Process Media is!
One of the reasons the term “Sales Process Media” (vs. “Content”) is important is it’s specificity to sales. “SPM” is a subset of “Content Marketing.” It’s content tightly linked to already identified opportunities (like the above example,) and opportunity types (e.g., Problem A, that Functional Executive type B in Industry C typically has that can be addressed by our Offering D.)
Is Matt right? Am I right? Are we both partially right?