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Content Marketing: is it helping you buy me?

Submitted by on Monday, 4 October 2010

‘Turn prospects into buyers with content marketing.’

‘Create opt-in permission to deliver content through email using the drip/nurture system.’

‘Deliver content to develop trust and authority.’

What, exactly, do these claims mean? And how is this different from a pitch, or presentation, or a great blog or website?

Frankly, I think this is nothing more than the ‘new new thing.’ Follow me through the thinking on this one while I show you how great content doesn’t make a sale if it’s offered at the wrong time in the buying decision cycle or if the buyer hasn’t figure out how to make necessary changes to adopt your solution.

MY CONTENT WAS DRIPPED, TRUSTWORTHY, USEFUL… BUT

Let me show you the large gulf between the change decisions a buyer needs to make and the content needed to select a solution. Let’s use us (you and I) as an example.

How many of you read this blog on a regular basis? I’m ranked somewhere around #6 of the top sales blogs . On any given day, I might have 100,000 readers, most of whom are repeats. Good, right? You find my content useful and interesting (I’d like to think provocative….but I don’t really know what you think, do I?) or you wouldn’t be reading it.

How many of you send it to your friends? Or tweet about it? How many of you discuss some of my ideas with teammates, or attempt to incorporate some of my thinking into your discussions or supervision, or your own blog?

How many of you have been to any of my sites (New Sales Paradigm is my favorite), or heard any of my dozens of podcasts? Or seen one or twenty of my dozens of webinars? Great, right? Thoughtful. Interesting. Provocative. Insightful. Useful. And you trust my consistency, professionalism, service to the field of sales.

But – and here is where it gets interesting – did my great content get you to make a purchase? Did you buy my latest book? Did you call me to do a keynote for you? Did you hire me to do a training for you?

No? Why not? I gave you great content. Great content. You love it, use it, think about it, and come back for more. You read me over time (i.e. the ‘drip nurturing’ model). You know my content is useful and will help your business. But you most likely haven’t spent a penny on any of my material – even if it’s a $20 ebook or a $99 self-guided learning module.

CHANGE MANAGEMENT FIRST, CONTENT SECOND

According to the rules of ‘content marketing’ – which I seem to follow to the letter – you should be buying something from me. But you’re not. It’s not because my material isn’t good, it’s just that you have some issues to reconsider before you can buy.

How would you know that adding a new skill set to the front end of your selling model would give you additional results?

At what point would you recognize that entering earlier than solution placement and needs analysis to help buyers manage their behind-the-scenes decisions would enhance your sales efforts?

How would you know that adding Buying Facilitation™ into your skill set wouldn’t disrupt your current success and would actually enhance it and give you a much higher close rate?

And how would your boss know that your new skills would actually help you close more, even though they are different from what the company taught you?

I’ve trained over 20,000 people in global corporations. I’ve got the content, the details, the references, the proof of success far greater than the sales model can offer. Do I need better/more content for you to buy from me? Do I need to be marketing my content better?

No. You need to figure out:

  1. if the material fits with your sales methods and your belief about who you are as a sales person;
  2. if your colleagues or bosses would consider working with the buying decision earlier than where you are entering now;
  3. if you believe it’s possible or necessary to actually facilitate a buyer’s decision with a different skill set than with a sales/solution-based activity;
  4. that it’s even worth the time/effort/cost to learn enough to know if any of the above is true.

And once you know all of this, then the content fits right in. Or not. One of our problems is that you have been reading the content before you figured out how to change. And as you can see, content offered at the wrong time does not make a purchase: content/data does not teach people how to make a new decision – it merely matches the criteria you finally reconciled and makes a case for a decision already made.

So now think about where content marketing fits into your sales efforts. And then buy my latest book.

sd

Find out more about Buying Facilitation™ digital selling.

Learn the Buying Facilitation™ Model.

Purchase Dirty Little Secrets: Why Buyer’s Can’t Buy And Sellers Can’t Sell And What You Can Do About It

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  • http://twitter.com/jrvito Joseph Vito

    @sharondrew “Content Marketing: is it helping you buy me?” http://bit.ly/cP6Tk6 my takeaway is simple, there is to much emphasis on content, and not enough on context … I buy when content is provided in the context of when I need it, sometimes it’s not the best content, but it’s in the context of when and where I need it …

    • http://sharondrewmorgen.com sharondrew

      before you even think about the content, you have to define all aspects of your need, who must be involved (i.e. who touches the solution and will be shifted by you doing something different) in any sort of change you make, what to do with those parts of the ‘solution’ you’ve already got. the very last thing you do is study content.

      so, in your own parlance, yes: where, when, how, who, why, if, what will happen (ie. fallout of buying/not buying), etc. content is the very last thing you need.