What if your content had one sole purpose...and that purpose was to enable sales? Imagine each piece of your content library distilled key nuggets to capture attention, and intrigued your prospects so much they couldn't help but dialog with someone on your sales team? In the latest episode of In Pursuit of Growth, I have a lively conversation with David Fortino, Chief Strategy Officer at NetLine, about the growth-building role that content can play. Rather than producing content for thought leadership, Dave recommends elevating your position in the market by creating content that specifically enables sales to drive conversations with prospects.
Dave explains his point this way: "Why not let the data do the talking instead of NetLine. We created content that's in a NetLine tone, and that content takes the front and center voice for the brand.”
It's been a pivotal change for him and for the organization as a whole. Their sales team now approaches the market differently. They're not "spraying and praying" tons of all about me messaging through email, voicemail, calls and social media. Instead, they leaned into their strength—their secret sauce—which happens to be first-party data.
And Dave throws down a similar challenge to every marketer: to find their unique, special sauce, and make that content. Then, make that content available to every salesperson to use their own voice (not the brand's voice), and lead with value. Dave explains:
"We enable our salespeople to take little snippets of data, and weaponize that data, to capture the attention of the people they're reaching out to."
According to Dave, it's one thing for salespeople to just talk about their company's solution, and how they can help an executive's pain points—that's what every other vendor reaching out is doing. It's another thing altogether to tell executives exactly what their buyers are doing across the landscape...and that's what his salespeople are able to do.
If you can use your company's unique offering/perspective, and distill it down to the key points that most capture attention, then you can compel a dialogue.
"Capture their attention—and engage them—to create intrigue."
Just sending another email, making another phone call, or sending another LinkedIn request is not working. You get such a small percent return because you don't have anything that's intriguing.
When talking with a client's sales rep recently about getting the decision-maker's attention, I shared: "If you want people to be interested, you have to be interesting." Catching a prospect’s attention is a lot like catching a fish. The problem, however, is many marketing teams aren't feeding their salespeople the type of content that makes great bait.
Anglers know there are specific types of bait to use for specific types of fish. Even the most expensive, high-quality bait won't work if it's not the type your fish are interested in. You'll be out there all day and you won't catch a thing.
This analogy holds true for the sales team at NetLine. They’ve taken their 2021 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report, and repurposed it by slicing and dicing to get the perfect bait for each type of prospect.
Dave shares NetLine developed a web front-end to their report that allows their sales reps to interact directly with the data. Individual salespeople are able to extract snippets that are both up-to-date, and make the most sense for them—depending on who they're currently prospecting.
As an aside, I'm a believer in the importance of putting data in the hands of your reps so they have what they need—when they need it. That's what I love about Modus. Modus sales enablement makes all that intriguing content easily available to reps, so they can use it at the right time, in the right way.
Dave and I then discuss how putting content in reps' hands, to use as they see fit, can be very scary for marketers. And without proper training, marketers would be right. He explains that as a marketing team, you always want to control the company voice...down to dotting the i's and crossing the t's. But the real downside can be a limiting inflexibility for the sales organization and how they approach their prospects. Giving sales the ability to move at-will (yet still follow a general framework) fosters compelling interactions with prospects AND drives engagement within the internal team—all because they're empowered. That's powerful stuff.
NetLine is now in a position where Dave's team can provide this flow of content to their sales team—and trust them to use it well. And when salespeople are provided with a constant stream of new content and resources that allow them to be successful, they can really start to drive dialogue.
You're Making it Hard
Why is it so hard to get a prospect's attention these days? There are hundreds of thousands of salespeople sending emails that are not intriguing, and add NO value. That's burnout at a massive scale. There's zero trust, and zero credibility for every vendor approaching a new contact because prospects receive so many emails and calls. They resort to simply ignoring them.
Decision-makers hit the 'delete' button because the sender hasn't taken one second to understand what they do, what their pain points are, or anything about them. So the idea of sending mass emails that trumpet a company's products and services, without providing value, simply doesn't work.
What does work? Spending a few minutes to learn something about the industry and the company your prospect is in—and using that to customize your content and create a message they'll be interested in.
Bottom line: stop making it so hard. Stop pushing the 'MORE' button, and start pushing the 'BETTER' button.
Learn More Now
To learn more about building intriguing content, how to use it, and how to measure the results, please tune in to this podcast...and be ready to take lots of notes!