In today’s world, it is safe to say we all know our target customers (in any industry) are already extremely informed before engaging a vendor within a sales cycle. This therefore leaves the dog-eat-dog battle to gain a customer’s loyal business down to the sellers’ or selling organisations’ ability to nurture an already informed customer through the sales cycle to the final close. But besides the classic boozy lunch (which we all still love – don’t lie) how else are we able to gain a competitive advantage over our competitors within the sales cycle?
Perhaps us seeing the amalgamation of both Marketing and Sales Teams wasn’t such an outlandish claim overall, some 10 years ago? Perhaps all this boils down to how well you can engage your customers with content that is relevant to them within a sale, ultimately cementing your ability to build a trustworthy relationship better than your beer-buying, credit card-tapping, tax invoice-collecting competitors (There’s seriously nothing wrong with this.)?
Batman & Superman
Regarding the amalgamation of both Sales and Marketing in recent years, I believe that the formation of these business powerhouses is one of the great internal joint ventures that any business could embark on. It seems abundantly clear that enabling both, the Marketing and Sales departments, is best experienced when both Marketing (Batman) and Sales (Superman) work together in unison.
The way in which this is done is simple: Marketing can work with Sales in order to create Sales Stage Specific Content and Content Plans that correlate with their sellers’ Sales Cycle. On the flip side, Sales can work with Marketing to assist them with understanding what Content resonates with them, with the customers, where in the cycle the content is relevant, and where the Content Gaps are.
On top of this, integrating this process with the V8 analytical engine of a Sales Enablement-based platform can assist in automating the content mapping process and understand content resonance levels at each given step of the sales cycle better than before: 94% of Marketers struggle to identify how their content resonates with customers.
Understanding Sales Stages
Whether you understand Sales Stages by the generic ‘Awareness – Evaluation – Purchase’ or by something more bespoke to your business, keeping customers engaged is only possible by understanding how your potential customers think across these sales stages and therefore, what their needs are in relation to your content that’s relevant to them.
78% of Content that is delivered to Opportunities within a Sales Cycle is not relevant to them. Just think about that for a moment… That means that in your lifetime as a seller, there is undoubtly times where you have dis-engaged a customer within the Sales Cycle, potentially losing you a deal. Perhaps it was because you didn’t specifically understand their requirements/ business imperatives. Or perhaps it was because you didn’t have the correct marketing approved content relevant to the customer forcing you to throw a hail Mary.
Whatever the excuse, to keep your customer engaged you must have a clear understanding of what type of content the customer is interested in and at what stage of a sales cycle. And how is one able to gain this understanding? By working together as the Batman and Superman duo to sufficiently understand what your customers’ needs are, what current content works, and where the content gaps are. Once you have understood this you can then look to re-assess the V8 engine to help with automation of all of the above.
Content Is King
So how relevant is Content within a Sales Cycle? I believe the essence of this is encapsulated within an ancient proverb that has underpinned the marketing departments for centuries: “Content is King.”
And seriously… Can we please never stop alcohol-assisted Business Development? It’ll always be relevant.