Say What? Isn’t a sales rep’s job to sell?
Shouldn’t marketing be creating the content?
Sales job isn’t to write sales content… Is it?
Brand content that scores – leverages employee authenticity for engagement
Hopefully, you take the time to read the content (blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest and Instagram if those are appropriate in your industry, etc.) that other brands (including your competitors) put out. What you’ll find is that most of the brands that have quality content and killer engagement are leveraging influencer and employee content. Don’t believe me? Ok… Go read three of your favorite sources for content and then report back with your findings. If I’m wrong, I’ll tweet you an apology.
My Sales Team Should Be “Selling” All the Time Not Writing Sales Content
Now, I will say that I don’t think your sales team should be creating sales content during peak selling hours. I’m not an idiot! The idea is to initiate and encourage those that have the talent and the willingness to create content I’d say that Friday afternoons are pretty pointless selling hours and most sales reps I know aren’t crushing deals at those hours and if they are…they are most likely shooting blanks. You could perhaps have content creation time from 2-4 on Fridays? I’d say that your odds of generating sales content and pushing it out to your buyers will have a higher ROI then “Dial and Smile” late afternoon Fridays. Keep in mind that I’m carrying a bag and I do have a front line inside on what really goes on.
Now, as far as time writing content while on the clock is concerned… Sales Content Fridays could be a great suggestion (or maybe not, depending on your own company culture). I can say that I never write content during office hours and I never will. During those golden selling hours, I’m “amplifying” not creating content. Sharing content allows me to leverage something of value to start conversations, and that’s why I put so much time outside of work hours into it. Hungry sales reps that have a willingness to create content will do it outside of work because they know the dollars that lie behind the extra work. You just have to make it known that you encourage it…that’s all I’m saying here.
Who Is Educating Your Buyers?
Here are five questions about the creation of your brand’s content:
- Is a frontline employee that listens to your customers daily and understands their gaps writing your content?
- Is all your content from your brand and about your brand?
- Is the source (the creator) of your content emotionally attached to your product and customers?
- Is the source of your content the same person that is tasked with generating new business and holding onto existing customers?
- Has the source of your content ever been on a live sales call?
Let me make the case that your front-line people should be creating content for your brand:
Reason #1 – Frontline Content Causes Emotion which Causes Motion
I’m sure you preach the “people buy from people” pitch to your sales team on a daily basis. Let’s step back and think about what causes us to connect with others on a personal/relationship level. We connect with people that have the same common interests that we can relate to our day to day lives. Personally, I look at content as a relationship connector. I’ve connected with many people on a personal or professional level from reading content that moved me to do so. The reason being…I could connect emotionally to their content which moved me to reach out to them, causing motion. Hence, content causes emotion which causes real time human connectivity.
Why would you hold your sales team back from adding value to your buyers?
I’d love to hear this argument if you have one! Leave comments if you don’t agree!
Reason #2 – Content Creates Credibility & Visibility VS Just Likeability
We generally have limited time with our potential buyers during the sales process. Of course, we try to connect all the dots throughout the sales process and build up the relationship in this short period of time. The problem is that with the “interwebs” the buyer can check our online credibility through multiple sources. We might have likeability” nailed from the relationship side but how do we create credibility in that short period of time? Oh man… LIGHTBULB! We can put our thoughts on paper and add value that the prospective buyer absorbed at their leisure without bugging them. The days of buyers just buying because they “like” us are over. Buyers want more and expect more. Hopefully, your sales reps have more than a gift of gab.
Reason #3 – Buyers Engage With Individuals Not Brands
Most sales leaders expect sales reps to create opportunities and pipeline monthly, quarterly, or annually. Now let’s think about how sales reps create those opportunities and that pipeline. Hopefully, we are on the same page with the simple answer of creating conversations. Conversation is the fuse that starts the ROI process.
Let me give you two scenarios and you tell me which one sounds more effective.
Scenario 1: You have an SDR (sales development rep) set an appointment for a demo with someone that downloaded a whitepaper and they set a “discovery call/demo.” When the sales rep gets on the phone they are talking to someone that they know nothing about except for the research that person did on the internet prior to the call, and that is how the conversation is started. The potential buyer doesn’t know much about what you do or what value it will have. The conversation is slow and educational at first because the sales rep is trying to qualify, create a relationship, and build trust before they can get the potential buyer to open up.
Scenario 2: Your sales rep created a great piece of sales content and shared it on LinkedIn or Twitter. One of your target buyers reads it and comments about how much value they got out of the post. Your sales rep calls, engages, and moves the conversation offline. The sales rep doesn’t do any discovery and just has a natural conversation with the potential buyer about the article. The reasons the reader found it engaging will emerge naturally. In a short period of time, the content created engagement which was initiated from the buyer, a relationship was built, and trust was won within the first 20 minutes. The sales rep qualified naturally throughout the conversation, and the potential buyer is amped to see the product.
Which scenario do you like better? Of course, you will always have a variety of the two in most cases unless your sales reps have no content to create engagement with. If that’s the case, you will live and die by scenario 1.
You can leverage company content to get engagement for the sales reps. Most companies do, but I’d guess they are generating many conversations doing it. If the rep was the one who actually created the content, there will be more authenticity – the rep intellectually and emotionally owns the content – and a much warmer start to the conversation. Remember what I said in reason #1, “people connect with people that write content they can relate to.”
This post hits on three major points: Visibility, Credibility, and Conversation. In my experience, I find that sales reps must have all three of these pieces before they even have a shot at becoming a successful sales rep. I imagine 1% of sales reps can sell blind on the phone without any of these components, but they are rare, and if you want to make company numbers you can’t count on having enough of them.
I know I’m going to get some backlash from some in leadership who still think sales reps writing sales content is a waste of time. I can hear it now, “We are sales and marketing is marketing. It’s marketing’s job to create content and its sales job to “SELL!” Based on my experience, that’s not true in the “social” and “digital” age that we live in today. The best sales people will be the ones that market themselves wisely and create visibility on their own, becoming trusted, credible authorities. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: would you rather buy from a “sales” rep or a “trusted advisor?”
Let the debate begin!
Article was originally published on Jack’s blog.