Have you ever said (or thought):
“I don’t want to share the details of my expertise … competitors might be listening … they might copy my solutions!”
One of the biggest objections I get about content marketing is not wanting to provide too much information.
Let’s first acknowledge the obvious: your competitor most likely already knows what your secret is, just like you know theirs. After all, there are only so many ways to accomplish successful results.
If you just wait to share your ideas in a one to one conversation with a prospect, you could be missing a lot of qualified leads …
Share your secrets – thought leadership builds trust, and strengthens your competitive position.
Thought Leadership and Lead Generation
While a “close to the vest” strategy may have once worked, the Internet has changed things.
“The hardest thing about B2B selling today is that customers don’t need you the way they used to.” — The End of Solution Sales, HBR
Today, 59% of the sales process is done before a lead ever talks to sales.
Think of your own online search habits. We research information about products and services before we talk to a sales person, to learn about possible solutions. When we do reach out, it’s to someone we believe can solve our particular problem.
This buyer behavior is precisely what powers the content marketing opportunity.
With this in mind, here are 3 content strategies you can use to get more leads:
1. Research ‘Personas’ To Create Need-Driven Content
Your time is best spent truly understanding what buyers want and need.
Have you done persona research? Do you have clarity on your decision maker, and what he/she looking for?
“If your content isn’t easy to find or doesn’t provide the answers they are seeking, buyers will move on to a different provider who is more helpful.” – Adele Revella, President, Buyer Persona Institute
It’s critical to understand which problems and needs are most important, and use that knowledge to differentiate your company from competitors.
This will help buyers to choose your expertise over that of a competitor. Show them that you understand their problem better than anyone else, and how your company can help them to resolve these concerns.
Focus on the intersection of your company’s distinct advantage, and customer need.
2. Start Conversations With the Right Buyers, at the Right Stage
Instead of more content at the top of the funnel, give them the next piece of the puzzle.
Many companies make the mistake of throwing a lot of generic, top of the funnel content against the wall, thinking qualified leads will just fall in their laps. A web of interconnected content, aligned to the needs and decision stage of buyers, is more effective.
Consider the buyer who is involved in a decision to make a vendor change, or sourcing a new solution for the first time. These are 2 very different stages and content needs.
In each case, he/she has a problem, lacks expertise, and needs a solution provider. To enter consideration, your content must educate and engage, and show that your expertise can help overcome their problems.
Walk them through their decision process, help them to figure out what to do next.
3. Share Your “Secrets” To Eliminate Poor Prospects, and Identify the Most Qualified Leads
Provide content that helps you focus sales attention on leads that need your specific expertise.
Craft a series of specific, engaging resources that present a problem that they can see themselves in, with the resolution they need. At the top of the funnel, educate. At a later stage, help them to compare options.
The right content engages serious buyers and help them identify your solution. It allows you to focus on the most educated and qualified leads, who are convinced that your expertise is precisely what they seek. This makes the sales process much more efficient.
Lead scoring can help you watch online behavior for signals of further interest, so you can nurture the best prospects. Try it … your sales force will thank you!
To sum up:
Buyers need assurance that your range of solutions are a close match with their needs:
- The more relevant your content, and the better it addresses buyer needs, the better the chance of hearing from the best prospects.
- Thought leadership builds trust with qualified buyers who need your solution, and leads to important conversations.
- Information rich content culls out those who are looking for a DIY or lesser solution. This makes the sales process much more efficient.
So share your ‘secret sauce’. Keep focused on your buyer. And put your company in a better position to win the next sale.
The next time your prospects buying committee assembles a short list of vendors, your company’s name can be at the top of the list!