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What do you do once your content strategies bring in the prospects?

Submitted by on Monday, 16 November 2009

After speaking with my friend Jill Konrath, I realized that I can actually help those of you who are bringing prospects in the door with a great stratigic marketing plan.

Let’s look at the layout of how companies are using marketing today: with great content, white papers, webinars and podcasts, companies are driving interested buyers to their sites. With good content, prospects are being educated, informed, and hopefully influenced, and get great data to help them make informed decisions as to how to become Excellent. In fact, Ardath Albees new book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale she talks about how B2B marketers need to really get to know their customers in order to improve their marketing effectiveness. [Peronal note: Ardath is the queen of helping buyers develop content strategies. But her book immediately if you want to know what to do and how to do it. She’s light years ahead of any other thinker in the field. Here is a link to read two chapters of her new book: download 2 chapters]

With all of the competition out there, having good content is not enough so companies need to not only offer great content, but follow up strategically so prospects can get everything they need when it’s time for them to need it during their decision making process when choosing a new vendor.

HOW WE DECIDE TO BUY MAY OR MAY NOT BE CONTENT BASED

In reality, with all of the content we’re offering and strategically placing, we cannot be assured that the buyer’s buying decision will include us. Certainly we’ve influenced the process. But what happens when we actually speak with them?

And here is where Buying Facilitation™ comes in. As Ardath says in her book, “It’s ridiculous to think that your company will be involved in all the crucial conversations that take place during the course of a complex purchase.” We know that. We know that we are not there when the department heads speak to each other, when the tech team wants to be involvedand they shouldn’t be. Sharing content is a great first step, but what do you actually say to someone when you follow up a great lead, or they call you?

As we drive sales by having the right content and following up strategically, what is stopping us from closing the sales we should be closing? Obviously it’s not our product or our content. It’s just that sales does not manage the strategic facilitation of the internal, behind-the-scenes issues that buyers must address before they can choose us – whether they need us or not.

But by adding decision facilitation skills to our conversations, we can actually take the next step once we’ve driven prospects to our door. And I’m not necessarily suggesting we can change buyer’s behaviors (although Buying Facilitation™ can influence the stakeholders by helping them make decisions that will ensure the integrity of their culture and relationships), but I am suggesting we can influence the behaviors of sellers.

I recently was on a site that seemed as if it might give me something I needed. I began signing up, and then decided to not send the query. Miraculously, I got a call from this company seconds (yes seconds) after I left the site.

“Hi there. I’m from X company. I saw that you were on our site (gosh – it really feels like Big Brother is Watching me) and saw that you didn’t complete. Is there anything you’d like to know about us that I can help you with?”

“Nope. I’m ok.”

“Well, if you need me, here is my number.”

I didn’t take the number down. That was the end of the relationship. Did they have good data? Yup. But I didn’t think I could use it.

Imagine if the conversation had gone like this:

“Hi there. I am calling from X company. I saw that you were just on our site, and I hope you don’t mind me calling and following up. I noticed you got off the site before completing. Is there anything you would have liked to have gotten from our site that we didn’t make available to you?”

Companies are doing a fabulous job with their content strategies. It’s now time to add some skills for the sellers to bring home the business. And if you want even more content, take a look at my new book Dirty Little Secrets to help you start thinking about how to add new skills to be even more successful.

sd

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