Data gathered from online content tells a lot about customers. But does it help us engage the customer? I recently attended The Sales Association conference in the Chicago area to get content marketing ideas from those who know customers well – salespeople. I’m looking for some intersection of what I know as a content marketer and what they know as sales professionals. This is what I discover.
Capture the voice of the customer
“Conversations drive commerce,” says Marc Miller, author, speaker and CEO of SpearFysh. With mobile tools such as tablets and smart pens the in-person sales interaction can be recorded, digitized and indexed. The voice of the customer can now be shared with others throughout the company. Connect a content writer with this kind of information and you will surely create better content.
It’s not what you sell, it’s what you solve
Why do people buy? They found a business solution. Executives from Supply Chain Innovations, CDW and Retalix discussed how the sales process is changing. Unique actions are required to maximize customer satisfaction. “If they don’t need your insight, you have very little to sell,” says moderator Al Turnauer. A good sales process can reduce turnover and satisfy customers. It can also be a channel for producing great content consistently.
Add user generated content
Marcia Gauger, managing partner at DVR Learning, relied on the knowledge of her audience to create useful information on effective sales activity. Rather than preach to the choir she asked her audience to share their best ideas using sticky notes. At the end of the session she uploaded the results to the Sales Association website. User generated content creates an authentic environment of shared wisdom.
Build credibility with third party input
President of Valgen Parth Srinivasa asked his customer Dan Brown, VP of Sales at Fleetmatics, to present the benefits of sales analytics. Data changed their focus from what to who. Getting the right information at the right time makes a difference. His presentation shows that having a third party verify your value increases company credibility.
Share your story
Lynn Hazan, executive recruiter and storyteller, reminds us that connecting on a personal level is always important. Storytelling builds trust and transmits values. She asks, “Can you tell your story in six words?” This is a challenge for most people. To write something in a simple way is often not simple at all.
Sales people are still relevant
When a customer can find information online, what role should the salesperson play? The short answer is salespeople are no longer in the business of describing product features and benefits. They offer context and strategic insight for the customer. The long answer involves the value of relationships, understanding environments and the why behind the buy.
There were sessions I was unable to attend, but I gained valuable insight. Content that engages includes the voice of the customer, explains how you can solve problems, adds both user generated content and third party testimonials and shares your story. Before I leave I share my story using just five words: “Content marketer for can-do companies.” What is your story?