Hey VP’s of Sales – Teach your Sales people to Influence, not Convince

As access to information is everywhere around us, this has created more educated and empowered class of consumer. As a sales person, if you aren’t trying to educate your prospects throughout the buy process the prospect is going to go somewhere else for the information they need to make a decision. This will likely lead them to the provider that has the confidence to guide them to what they’re looking for leaving thus you scratching your head wondering why your prospect “went dark”.

Marketing and Sales always have different points of view on how to bring prospects through the funnel. As VP of Sales, I think our sales people are more of the problem than we think and it’s time for sales to really wake up and smell the content. Sales people believe, rightfully so, that the more they communicate with a prospect, the more likely they are to close a deal and marketing’s job is to get the leads in the funnel for sales people to convert. Yet with so much emphasis placed on relationships, most sales rep don’t influence the content their organization puts out to educate their prospects. The reality is that there’s so much more content that you can use toward the end of the process that helps you, the prospect and marketing customize the right solution and truly be an informer than at any other time in the process.

Sales, wake up! It’s time to provide real value to your prospects and arming yourself with great content only makes the process to run smoother and more efficiently. Here are five advantages of content creation that will get even the most impatient, cold call lovin’, blocked-phone-number sales guy excited.

A real way to Build Relationships

In sales we know that not all leads are the same. In fact, there are some that don’t even belong in the lead queue because they’re so far away of thinking of buying it’s not even funny. Yet, if you spend the time getting to know your leads you have the opportunity to truly nurture them until they’re ready to buy what you’re selling. Sales reps can use what’s available or even write appropriate content themselves and seek to educate rather than sell. By providing actionable insight and information designed to move them closer to purchase, you’ll take a lot of the “old school” sales tactics out of the book and move into a more modern approach to where the prospect is so informed they don’t need convincing.

Move from Convincer to Influencer

Pull one of your sales people and look at their Outbox and tell me how many “Checking in…” subject lines are there? If there are more than one than you’re doing a poor job at sales, but the good news is that you can only get better with some new approaches! Content gives you sales team an excuse to touch base and their prospect in a way that puts the prospect’s needs first and not the sales rep. A quick, “Thought of you” type email with an infographic, blog post or webinar will dramatically set you apart from your competitors.

Be a Resource

Wouldn’t you love for your phone to ring or emails to be filled up in the morning with questions from your prospects? Be the example in the relationship and seek to inform rather than sell. Who wants to engage with someone where they just feel they’re being sold to? The ability to answer complex questions with a “we actually wrote about this exact problem, you’re not alone” is a true indicator that you know what you’re talking about and paves the way to trust.

Be the Change you want to see in the Web

If you don’t have a credible reputation than guess what your prospects are doing when they “go dark” on you? They’re googling you, your company, your family tree, where you live… well maybe I got carried away, but they are googling you and your company. The modern consumer no longer trusts generic messages from marketing, sales or even a SMARKETER! They trust people and if you separate yourself from the “typical” messages they see and actually inform, you don’t have to try so hard to sell. Having a stable of content available gives sales an incredible amount of control and power over the sales process to influence the direction of it.

These are the Leads you are looking for

The greatest payoff of a sound content strategy is that it provides more leads in your pipeline! As prospects swarm your site and devour the latest blog or webinar or infograph they’re also exploring your product. Just like a storefront, only this time when a prospect enters your store they know exactly what they’re looking for and how you can help as opposed to “just looking”…

Armed with better techniques, you can use content to unify sales and marketing and drive amazing results. There’s a lot of noise out there and prospects are looking for the right content that is appropriate to them. With someone to guide them through the sea of bad content, it will separate the modern sales person that influences with content from the old school sales guy who’s looking to convince with their fabulous selling style. Ultimately, it’s about winning customers the right way, with a solid approach to adding value throughout the process. It’s time for you as a sales leader to teach these principles to your sales people, I bet you it will resonate more than some of your old school techniques. 

Author: Tim Yandel

I'm Tim. I live in Cole Valley, San Francisco with my wife, Julie, and two daughters Addie and Audra. I tend to write a bunch about leading Sales teams, since that's what I've been doing since 2006. I'm particularly drawn to the psychology of selling, whether that be how people buy things or sell things, it's fascinating how decision-making is centered into the core of who you are as a person. I enjoy cultivating a culture centered around mastery of your craft and a genuine passion for winning together. Outside of professional learnings, I enjoy listening to epic sci-fi and fantasy books while I run long distances to decompress and obsessed with watching my two girls grow. For a good ice breaker, ask me about my Golden Retriever and my Bernese Mountain Dog.

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