Sales is a must. No one will argue with that. But in 2020 it’s clear that sales, and sales alone, cannot get the job done.
Here are the facts: almost half of all sales people never follow up with a prospect, and only one quarter even make a second contact with a prospect (before then stopping altogether). In fact, only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts with a prospect.
Which is a problem when you consider that only 2% of sales are made on the first contact and 3% are made on the second contact. You have to go all the way down to the twelfth contact to get to the point where 80% of sales are made.
Which still leaves the question – who wants 12 contacts from a sales person? At what point does it just become annoying?
The solution is to stay in constant contact with your prospects and customers, but to do so in a less intrusive way. You can have the best sales team and the best sales management software in the world, but it’s not going to be enough to nurture those leads in today’s world.
But when working together, a strong sales team and a well-organised strategy of high-quality content is a winning mix.
Content does the heavy lifting
Think of content as a necessary add-on to your sales team. Some extra fuel. When you create high-quality, helpful, authoritative content it means that you’re always in contact with your leads – but rather than badgering them, you’re simply helping them and, as a by-product, demonstrating your expertise.
Essentially, you’re building loyalty and trust – which is something that takes time, and a steady, consistent approach. Which fits perfectly with the strengths of email send-outs and social posts – if done right and if paired with just the right content.
When content is really working it means that when it comes time to purchase, your prospect thinks of your company and not your competitor. You’re in their mind. You feel familiar. And that’s a tough thing for a sales team to achieve by themselves. After all, it’s difficult for even the best sales person to pick the perfect moment to get back in contact. But content is always there. And working with an experienced agency means your content is always on-topic, in the right place, at the right time, in front of the right audience.
And if your prospect doesn’t find one particular piece of content useful, then there’s another on its way that will fit the bill. The point is, it’s not intruding on their day. It’s just a simple ‘delete’ on their part if something doesn’t immediately pique their interest.
All the while, you are monitoring what is and what isn’t getting engagement, and modifying accordingly.
The healthcare example
Content works across all industries. But let’s take a simple example from the healthcare industry. Perhaps you visited a clinic, or have shown interest in booking an appointment at some point in the future. Would you respond to being randomly called by a receptionist to see if you want an appointment? Again and again?
Or would you respond to valuable, regular content that gives you authoritative tips for your health? Topics that are already on your mind, and helpful answers from an industry thought leader. Someone who, down the line, you might like to book for a consultation.
Which of these approaches adds more value? Which is less intrusive? Which can you engage with (or not) on your own terms?
The customer’s journey
The days of a customer walking into a store and making a purchase without doing prior research are long gone. The numbers back it up: 80% of B2B customers consume a minimum of three pieces of content before speaking with a sales person – according to Demand Gen’s 2016 Content Preference Report.
As for visitors to your website, 90% of first-time visitors are not yet ready to purchase. Given how much research people do these days before buying, it’s vital that your products and services are in front of them regularly. While promo emails certainly have their place, this needs to be blended with informative content that continues to strengthen the customer relationship.
Sales and content in harmony
When it comes down to it, it’s all about having the right blend. Sales has an important function and content also needs to do its part. Finding the right balance between the two, letting each one help the other, can only further your efforts in strengthening customer relationships and growing sales.