sales dealIt’s obvious that content should serve your business’s audience accordingly, but content should also be an integral part of your sales process. Whether it is explains your product, attracts traffic or just plain sells your product, it should have a role in your sales tactics. Here is what 14 entrepreneurs had to say about how they use their content when it comes to selling.

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Content Should Answer Product Questions

The best content in the sales process should answer product (or service) questions to consumers. It should answer the question well and in detail to show a true authoritative voice in your space. Whether it is a product or service you sell, it's key to use content as part of the sales process.

Pablo Palatnik, ShadesDaddy.com

2. Content Sells Before Consumers Realize It

Before clients actually know the sales process has begun, do all you can to add value to their work with quality content. The key is to provide content -- whether it is print, video or digital -- that provides tangible results. Utilizing a personalized approach is a must. Even if this content is distributed via an auto-responder, your clients don't have to know.

Antonio Neves, THINQACTION

3. Content Educates Clients

Ultimately, every product or service is a solution for something. By sharing your methodology and thought process around the problem you're solving, you will better help potential prospects understand why your company exists. Turning them on to your line of thinking may also help convert them into a customer!

Tyler Arnold, SimplySocial Inc.

4. Content Spotlights Personalities

We use a wide variety of channels -- including video and social media -- to showcase our agents as best in class. The goal with our content is to emphasize not only their expertise but also their personality. There are so many options for potential clients, and we want them to know our agents will make what can be a stressful process as easy and fun as possible.

Kuba Jewgieniew, Realty ONE Group

5. Contents Answers Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQ section is a great (and seldom used) sales tool that provides you with a place to inject sales-focused messages into your content. It also answers the most common questions and addresses the most frequent objections your prospects may have.

Lea Woodward, Inspiring Ventures

6. Content Sells the Idea

Make sure your content's focus is explaining broad concepts and best practices -- not the features and benefits of your company's offerings. If you can get your prospects using your preferred terminology and criteria for success, you're 75 percent of the way there.

Mary Ellen Slayter, Reputation Capital

7. Content Funnels in Traffic

Producing good content usually produces traffic. If people enjoy your content, they'll want more. By giving users the option to subscribe to more relevant content, you're effectively putting the tools in place to start your sales process. There are a lot of different directions to go once someone gives you his or her email address, but an auto-responder series can be effective to generate sales.

Brett Farmiloe, Internet Marketing Company

8. Content Educates Instead of Selling

We do not "sell" our services. All of our content is based on educating the consumer on the results of our services. We do not write about features; we focus on results driven by the education process.

Alex Chamberlain, EZFingerPrints

9. Content Explains Each Facet of the Sales Cycle

Use informational content when your customers first engage with your business. Include research-based content regarding your product when your customers are in the evaluation process, and create content based on how to use your product when the customer purchases it.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

10. Content Offers Real Value

We created a branded “Ultimate Guide” pamphlet filled with useful information, how-to tips and checklists about moving. We hand it out at estimates, and the client gets to keep it. Not only is it useful to the client, but it’s also a branded piece of leave-behind content that they will refer to later, which keeps us front of mind. It's a win-win.

Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk and College Hunks Moving

11. Content Drives Leads

White papers and case studies provide great info to prospects and are also terrific measurable signals for marketing automation software. Marketo, Pardot and HubSpot rely on great content to drive their lead-scoring and nurturing triggers, so invest early in high-quality content.

Ryan Buckley, Scripted, Inc.

12. Content Answers Common Questions

We write articles that answer the common objections or questions we hear from clients. Then, instead of sending a long email trying to educate them on our service, we send an article that clearly explains the answer to their question along with providing social proof that a reputable publication published it and others commented on it. Sending an article as a followup email works wonderfully.

Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.

13. Content Leverages Everything

We've generated a good amount of press and buzz as an early stage company and remain committed to publishing news you can use on our company blog. We've taken key messages that seem to be resonating with our customers and turned them into marketing collateral, white papers, PR insider reports and more, which have supported our sales efforts and positioned us as a credible company.

Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, AirPR

14. Content Can Be Digital

We are big fans of creating informative videos. Whether it's in the form of executive Q&A interviews or animated Sizzle Reels, a very short video that potential clients can view on their own (without you breathing down their neck) can be an engaging way to communicate your brand and value.

Michael Seiman, CPXi

Originally published Jan 17, 2014 12:00:16 AM, updated December 05 2014

Topics:

Sales Process