Your content marketing program must educate your prospects for you to succeed at social selling.
I once attended a sales meeting where a professional speaker extolled the benefits of social selling to hundreds of our salespeople. He made several good points in an effort to convince them of the utility of social selling, including how to mine for thought leadership content that they can share. In any given industry, there is no lack of content on just about any topic be it on blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, news sites, etc.
Later, I ran into a sales VP who was delighted with the talk. He went so far to say that, “There is so much content out there we can share, we don’t even need to produce our own!” If he had only said the first half of the sentence, he would have been right.
The fact is, unless you have a content marketing program that selflessly educates your prospects and carefully positions your brand as a potential solution to their challenges, you’re not making the most of what social selling has to offer. Carefully curating and sharing third party content is a component of a social selling program, but it’s not the cornerstone.
Let’s examine two aspects of what I just mentioned in more detail: selflessly educating and carefully positioning…
It’s pretty well established that no one wants a hard sales pitch on social media. There is a point in the buying cycle when product collateral comes into play and that is rarely, if ever, on a social media platform. Social selling is about establishing credibility through thought leadership and providing value to prospects and customers to help them solve their problems. This includes the dissemination of valuable third party content, but it also includes information developed from your firm that is neutral and completely educational in nature. As salespeople become trusted advisors, the natural evolution of a relationship should lead prospects to turn to them for solutions.
A content marketing program should leverage the mindshare within your organization to demonstrate expertise that is relevant to your target market. This is a critical part of an effective social selling program. It picks up where third party content leaves off by specifically highlighting competencies within your firm and demonstrating that you understand and can solve the challenges your customers face.
Don’t miss the opportunity to tell your story on social media. It’s a powerful platform for engaging and influencing your audience. To read more about how to use social media to influence your audience, see Gerry Moran’s post on LinkedIn, “Stop Using Social Media To Drive B2B Sales“.