Create customer-centric content that salespeople and customers will embrace.
You work hard to craft your brand image, positioning, and strategy. You work even harder to execute all the elements needed to convey that image and message to the marketplace. You send assets galore to your sales teams to educate them on how to reinforce the brand with customers and prospects. You hold training sessions and send communications about how to use these tools in the field. Then, one of your colleagues forwards you an email from one of your salespeople to a prospective customer—and the language is completely off-brand. How does this happen?
As a business owner, I get poor pitches constantly. Many salespeople, especially those who have been in sales for a while, continue to focus on the features and benefits of the products or services they’re selling. They place less emphasis on how to position them to customers, and in particular, how the products can help meet customers’ needs. This is the difference between a product-centric and a customer-centric approach to sales, and it’s particularly relevant when selling to small and midsize businesses (SMBs).
At the beginning of the buying journey, SMBs are looking for ideas and solutions to the business problems and opportunities they face. Companies that take a customer-centric approach know this, and they emphasize helping SMBs with these challenges before they ever pitch a particular product or service. Content that supports this—customer-centric content—focuses on helping SMBs, as well.
Can customer-centric content help your SMB sales teams communicate more consistently on-brand? Yes! But only if they embrace it and use it consistently. Some companies produce great content, but their salespeople don’t take advantage of it. If you train your salespeople on your content and how to use it (for example, they learn how to ask questions related to the SMB’s opportunities and challenges instead of your company’s product), they will be more likely to speak on-brand.
Salespeople will value what their customers value
Another way to get salespeople to leverage your content is to make sure it resonates with customers. When salespeople share content with customers and get positive feedback, they will fully buy into it and use it repeatedly.
Some companies still aren’t on board with the idea of customer-centric marketing and selling, but that’s a topic for another day. Assuming yours is not one of these, here are 3 keys to creating and deploying content that your SMB customers will value, and that your salespeople will use.
- Content today needs to be great, not just good, to break through the clutter. This means it must go beyond the obvious and tell SMBs things they don’t already know.
- Create content that is easy to read. This means that it is conversational, informative, and not overly processed or filled with jargon. It should be written in clear customer-focused language that both salespeople and customers will relate to and understand.
- Inform your salesforce about what content is available and train them to use it. Send regular emails that announce and summarize new content. Even better, show examples of how top salespeople are using the content to attract and nurture prospects.
Content is now expected to work harder than ever before. As long as it focuses on helping SMBs run their businesses and not just selling stuff, you’ll find that your customers and prospects will value it and seek it out. Creating customer-centric content, and teaching your salespeople how to use it, will ensure that what they say is consistent with the carefully developed messaging in your content and elsewhere—in other words, that they are speaking on-brand.
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