Why Content Marketing Matters to a Sales Rep

November 23, 2012 at 7:00 AM

I’ve heard a lot of talk about “Content Marketing.” It gets great reviews from C-Level executives, marketers and even sales managers. But how does Content Marketing help the Sales Rep? How does it help them make more money? Today’s post outlines the benefits of Content Marketing from the Sales Rep’s perspective.

This is the Problem

I had a recent conversation with a Sales Rep named Seth.  He switched to a competitor six months ago and noticed a change in performance. “It takes me a lot longer to close a deal,” he explained. “Frankly the leads I get aren’t that good.  Worst of all, [The Buyer] knows more about our competition than about us. So I spend a lot of time on the phone educating [the Buyer].”

Seth concluded his new company wasn’t producing quality content to inform their Buyers. There were three problems he faced that lengthened his sales cycle times:

  • Spends too much time educating Buyers on the basics.
  • Spends time qualifying leads more than Marketing does.
  • Creates cheat sheets and sales tools because the ones from Marketing are useless.

Why this matters to you, the Sales Rep

We’ve all heard the tired cliché: “time is money.”  Well, it’s true. Spending time creating content to market your product will cost you.  It is non-selling time.  The more time you spend not selling, the more you lose.  You need to calculate the time you spend creating content that helps you sell.

Download a time study tool.  Figure out how much time you spend creating your own Content Marketing tools.  Then, as illustrated below, you can quickly calculate the impact on your personal wealth.  If Marketing does its job right, it improves your personal bottom line. If not, instead of selling, you do their job for them…at a personal cost.

time value

What exactly is content marketing?

I’ve described the problem and the personal impact of not having Content Marketing. But what exactly is “Content Marketing?”

Content Marketing is simply relevant information tailored to your Buyers. The information is distributed to Buyers at each stage in their buying journey. Good Content Marketing is from the Buyer’s perspective. The message of this information is simple:

  • This is how I will solve your biggest problems.
  • This is how I will meet your goals.
  • This is how my solution works around your obstacles.
  • This is the return on investment for you.

Good Content Marketing is focused on the needs of the Buyer.  It is NOT any of the following:

  • A collection of your company facts talking about how great you are.
  • Technical product fact sheets and manuals your prospects don’t care about.
  • Marketing jargon about sustainability, being green, and winning awards.

How do I help create better Content Marketing?

This article isn’t about quick fixes to meet your December number.  It’s about creating a strong start in 2013.  I’m putting you ahead of the curve. So here are 2 steps to help you create better Content Marketing.

Step 1: Print this blog and bring it to your Marketing team.  Sell Marketing on the idea of creating a Content Marketing strategy. Explain this need in statistical terms they’ll like and understand.

  1. Buyers inform themselves before you talk to them: 57% of the buying process is completed before Buyer-rep interaction. (Source – CEB, The New High Performer Playbook, Arlington VA, 2012).  By the time you talk to the Buyer, they formed their opinions. Content Marketing pre-wires the Buyer for you. Your ability to close the business increases.
  2. When properly nurtured, Buyers spend more: “Organizations that nurture their leads experience a 45% lift in lead generation ROI.  Organizations can effectively encourage the right Buyers to engage with Sales at the right time.” Your revenue is the return they’re talking about. (MarketingSherpa, 2012)
  3. Buyer’s value your insights during the sale:  “53% of B2B customer loyalty is a product of how you sell.  Not what you sell.” Align yourself with the message of the Content Marketing. Provide valuable insights to the Buyer to assure the lift in revenue. (The Challenger Sale, 2012)

Step 2: In defense of Marketing, they may be short-handed. They may not have enough available talent to create the content you need. So introduce the idea of an Internal Content Marketing Agency.  This is a specialized team specifically focused on the creation of Content Marketing tools. Marketing may push back because they don’t have the resources.  If so, suggest outsourcing the function to a third-party firm such as SBI.

 Take the initiative

You can’t wait for somebody else to take initiative. You need to speak directly with Marketing. Follow the two steps outlined above. By next quarter, you could implement a plan that helps you earn more. Once in place, you’ll have the tools to close more business in less time.


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Topics: Talent Management, Content Marketing, Internal Content Marketing Agency, Sales Rep Resources

Posted by Dan Bernoske

Dan Bernoske
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