As a CEO, you’re in charge of the big picture. It’s your responsibility to manage overall business strategy across product development, marketing and especially sales. It’s sales that drive business growth. You may offer the best product or service on the market, but if you can’t sell it, the business can’t function, never mind thrive. In order to thrive, we need to constantly adapt our approach to meet the demands of a changing business world.
Today’s enterprises, more than ever, rely on content. To make a sale, businesses have relied on the sales funnel, which is a detailed map of the buyer’s journey. Businesses today invest infinite amounts of resources into creating blog posts, social posts, engaging websites and different types of content to capture potential customers. This proliferation of content has changed the way we think about the sales funnel, and businesses that don’t adapt are bound to get left behind. To get the most out of the content you’re already creating, use it repeatedly throughout the sales funnel. A sales funnel optimized by business content should look like this:
Whether it’s Google ads, billboards, TV commercials or old-school direct mail, the goal of advertising is to get your brand in front of as many potential customers as possible. Whatever medium you choose, you want potential customers to see it and think, “I need that!” Once they do, they’re in the funnel.
Third-Party Verifications (Search)
After they’re aware of your brand and curious about your product, they’re probably going to search your name to see what others are saying about you. From testimonials to social interactions and media placements, this kind of content gives prospects a better understanding of your brand’s personality, ensures the business is reputable and confirms your product or service is what they need.
Your Public Pitch
Once they’re comfortable with your brand and have an understanding of the business offering, they’ll then check out your owned content, such as websites, product pages and blog posts. This will give potential customers a better understanding of all that you offer so they can determine if your product or service is right for them.
Then, as long as it all works as it’s supposed to, the customer will inquire about a proposal or demo; more content! This step is crucial to sales success, but the work is not done. All the upfront work has paid off, but now it’s time to close the sale.
Finally, your business gets to talk to the potential customer, but too often, this critical step is overlooked by the marketing team. Valuable time and money went into the top of the funnel, but for the actual customer interaction, sales reps are left to their own devices. Without much thought, they’ll send their favorite deck that’s used over and over again, with no regard to whether it’s outdated or inaccurate. And marketing has no record of what content reps are or are not using.
But presentations and slides are media too. They are digital content and a critical stage of the funnel, which is why the slides in the pitch should be variations of the same content that was used in the earlier stages — after all, that’s what led the potential customer to the personal pitch. Reps should have access to a slide library that provides them with the ease and flexibility they need to customize content for their individual customers while giving marketing the ability to control and track the messaging being used. Furthermore, a comprehensive slide library will allow the rep to access all content when speaking with a customer. So, if a customer changes the subject in the middle of the pitch, the rep can change his presentation on demand; they just search for the new topic and present those slides instead. The presentation follows the conversation.
Of course, the specifics of a sales funnel will change depending on your industry, product offerings and strategic approach, but the stages above should act as a guide. Applying this approach to your operation helps dictate the kind of content your business should be creating and, more importantly how to reuse and repurpose that content. When business content is strategically used over and over again, prospects become familiar and, more importantly, more comfortable with your brand and message, making them more likely to buy your product or service.