The Salesperson's Guide to Sending Prospects the Right Content at the Right Time

    by Niti Shah

    Date

    August 26, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    sales-contentOne of the best ways a salesperson can engage a prospect between conversations and move him or her through the sales process involves absolutely no talking.

    How?

    Educate your prospects in between calls by leveraging your company’s content.

    Your marketing team is constantly cranking out useful, relevant information packaged in different types of offers that can help you sell: ebooks, blog posts, case studies, SlideShares, webinars, infographics ... you get the gist. Using content to nurture your prospects through each part of the sales process helps create a positive experience for the prospect, educate them so they are more informed before the next call, and ultimately shorten the sales cycle. Additionally, sending content that's relevant to a prospect lets them know you’ve been listening to what he or she has to say, and that you’re invested in helping them by taking the time to provide resources they might find useful.

    Sending along content is an excellent alternative to phone calls which, if too frequent, can overwhelm or annoy your prospect. The trick is to know what to send and when to send it for maximum impact. This post will help you with that dilemma.

    1) Before Getting a Prospect on the Phone

    At this stage, you haven’t made initial contact with a prospect. Everything you know about them has come from your preliminary research, so this is not the time to send long, detailed whitepapers or industry reports. You want to be using top-of-the-funnel content that covers high-level topics that your prospect could relate to.

    For example, if a HubSpot prospect didn't have landing pages, I might infer that lead generation is a challenge he or she is facing; thus, in the emails leading up to a connect call, I will send along a recent blog post on improving lead generation, and a traffic and lead calculator to help determine how many leads he or she needs to generate. Quick, usable content is key.

    2) Before an Exploratory Call

    Once you've connected with a prospect and have agreed to an exploratory call to go over their goals, plans, challenges, and timeline, follow up with a confirmation email that has one or two links to more in-depth content you think they'd be interested in based on that first call. If a prospect mentioned a website redesign, for example, I might send an email that goes something like this:

    Hi Mary,

    Thanks for taking the time to speak with me just now. I wanted to confirm our call for next Tuesday at 10 am EST and look forward to learning more about your marketing goals and challenges.

    In the meantime, here are some resources I thought you might find useful and inspiring as your team plans for your website redesign:

    - Website Redesign Checklist http://offers.hubspot.com/website-redesign-planning-progress-kit

    - 53 Homepage Designs http://offers.hubspot.com/examples-of-brilliant-homepage-design

    All the best,
    Niti

    3) Before a Demo

    At this stage, you've qualified your prospect and he or she is starting to look at the nitty-gritty of your product or service offerings. At this stage, the questions are more in-depth. You want to send supplementary content that helps answer questions running through a prospect's head at this stage in the buying process, such as:

    • What is the return on investment of this product or service? (Send an ROI report)

    • What kind of results should I expect? (Send customer case studies; they're great stories that help prospects see themselves as customers.)

    • How would I execute a particular new strategy involving this product? (Send a relevant whitepaper.)

    4) Before a Closing Call

    Your prospect has verbally agreed to purchase your product, and now it's imperative to keep things simple and moving forward until the closing call. A great piece of content to send before the closing call is a clear breakdown of product features and pricing that the prospect can review. Having that information easily accessible can lessen anxiety about the prospect's decision to go forward with a purchase, especially in a complex sale.

    5) After the Prospect Becomes a Customer

    Congratulations! You've converted a prospect into a customer -- now make sure to keep them happy. Follow up after the sale periodically to check in with the customer. Your job doesn't stop once the deal closes, so continue to monitor progress toward the goals you discussed, and be ready to answer any questions that come up. If a customer is having difficulty in a particular area, see if you can pull together some resources that can help them move toward solving their problem. If you're having trouble finding the content, ask a member of your marketing team to surface the content for you. The request might even help inform subsequent pieces of content, filling in holes in their content arsenal.

    Educating prospects proactively not only empowers them and makes them better equipped for conversations with a salesperson, it also creates a layer of trust and rapport. You're essentially letting your prospect know that not only are you listening, but also you're truly here to help them achieve their goals and overcome their challenges. While you can "say" that during a call, actually following through and helping a prospect even before a sale speaks volumes and can help you close deals more effectively.

    Do you use content to educate your prospects? What content do you find to be the most effective?

    Image credit: katerha

     

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