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7 Ways Content Marketing Can Help You Close Sales Faster

By September 4, 2013June 29th, 2015Writing & Content Marketing
7 Ways Content Marketing Can Help You Close Sales Faster

I recently got involved in a Linkedin group discussion about an article that equated content marketing to giving away free stuff. It claimed that a large segment of the population doesn’t place much value on this type of content – blogs, articles, white papers, e-books, etc.

If you want to get the order, the article claimed, you need to do some human selling.

I agree with that last statement. If you just blast content out there, sit back and wait for the sales to start rolling in, you’re in for a rude awakening.

The parts about equating content marketing to some kind of giveaway that a lot of people find irrelevant was pretty much garbage. The article showed a real ignorance about what content marketing is, how it works and the strategy behind it. That’s a topic for another post.

What really bugged me – and disturbed me, quite frankly – is the perceived disconnect between content marketing and the sales process.

Content marketing works best when it’s developed and executed strategically with specific business goals in mind. Good content marketing may not communicate a direct sales pitch, but it’s directly involved with sales.

And when you put sound strategy behind content marketing, it speeds up the sales process. Regular blog posts, articles, white papers, social media updates, newsletters, podcasts, videos and article sharing can help you close sales faster in a lot of different ways.

1) Content Marketing Overcomes Objections

All sellers are trained to deal with customer objections. Content marketing allows you to thoroughly address objections one-by-one – and without interruption.

2) Content Marketing Answers Common Customer Questions

What exactly does your product do? How does it work? How long will it last? What does the price include? What happens when I push this button? Content marketing allows you to answer customer questions so people become familiar and comfortable with what you’re selling. It also provides a platform for customers to ask more questions.

3) Content Marketing Allows You To Dig Deeper Into Specific Topics

Your product may have a number of benefits that are impossible to fully cover on your website, during a conversation or in a brochure. Content marketing allows you to cover each of these benefits in detail to really fortify and plug any holes in your sales pitch.

4) Content Marketing Builds Trust

When you can clearly convey how your product can solve a problem and make someone’s life better, it creates the perception that you’re interested in more than dollar signs. Content marketing makes it easier for people to believe not only in your product, but the company behind it.

5) Content Marketing Establishes Credibility

This isn’t about years of experience – an awful advertising cliché. Content marketing can prove that you’re a legitimate, reputable business and that you believe strongly enough in what you sell and say to make a permanent record of it, online or in print.

6) Content Marketing Positions You As An Authority

This takes credibility a big step further. People make the decision to do business with real people, not just the brands they represent. Content marketing positions individuals as industry leaders and experts whose knowledge is respected and sought-after.

7) Content Marketing Justifies Your Price

All of these factors contribute to price becoming less of an obstacle. When you get to the inevitable part of the conversation that deals with price, think about how much less tense it will be if your prospect has been consuming content that illustrates the value of your product and doing business with your company.

If you can accomplish a handful of these things through content marketing, your sales process will be faster and easier. Let content marketing do a lot of the heavy lifting by answering questions, addressing concerns and offering explanations about the things that people really care about – usually more thoroughly and coherently than you could in an actual conversation.

This may even help you weed out weak prospects who are notorious for draining sales time and focusing almost exclusively on price. This allows you to focus your time and resources on your best prospects.

I think we all can agree that content marketing will never replace human selling, but we also need to recognize that it can definitely help us close sales faster. And there’s a heck of a lot more to it than giving away free stuff.

Agree or disagree? Does content marketing help or hinder the sales process?

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • I enjoyed this post. Excellent points and very clear for setting goals and checking to verify each point is part of the strategy. Thanks!

    • Scott_McKelvey says:

      Thanks, Michelle. If content marketing is going to work, you need that solid strategy instead of throwing you-know-what up against the wall and seeing what sticks!

  • jaynalocke says:

    I spoke to a marketing professional today who said that her competitor won a prospective client’s business because the buyer found the competitor’s instructional content to be superior. The competing business was a fraction of the size, but had nailed the content piece, and therefore nailed the business.

    I also heard today that 60% of a buyer’s decision is made before that buyer engages with a company and its sales force. In other words, in our content-driven world we can research anything and everything we want about a company and product before choosing to pick up the phone or take a sales call. If the content is not there, or it lacks in substance and quality, we will look take our business elsewhere.

    The one thing I would add to your post, Scott, is that it’s really okay to put calls to action in your content. Once people find you through your content marketing, give them something to do – whether to sign up for your newsletter, click through to your contact page, or download a white paper. By doing so you can potentially engage that reader in the sales cycle. Content marketing and sales aren’t disparate things, but should go hand in hand.

    • Scott_McKelvey says:

      Well Jayna, I really can’t add anything to your first point. I agree that a call-to-action is more than acceptable and often overlooked. There’s nothing wrong with a direct call-to-action after you’ve provided valuable, helpful information.

  • Curtis says:

    Years ago, closer to the beginning of SEO/SEM, our company provided specific step by step instruction on how they could accomplish top 10 rankings on their own. Some thought that was crazy but customers quickly realized how complex and time consuming the effort was. They also immediately knew that we knew what we were doing and how confident we were that our services were valuable.
    Giving away that all that free information made sales of those same services a lock.

    • Scott_McKelvey says:

      Great point, Curtis. People can have all of the information in the world, but it doesn’t mean they all of the sudden have the time or ability to do it themselves. What this information does is establish the value of the product or service we offer.

  • Buy the time a buyer engages a salesperson, they’re already 60% of the way through the purchasing cycle. If you’re not engaging in content marketing, you’re not even on the buyer’s radar.

    • Scott_McKelvey says:

      Exactly, Don. That’s why I don’t get the disconnect between content marketing and sales. You can’t have one without the other.

  • Laura Miller says:

    I like the point about including call to actions. Why not encourage them to get in touch once you’ve wowed them with your knowledge. No matter how amazing your content is, if you allow your prospects to click away, you’re allowing them to continue their research and perhaps stumble across a competitor in the process. Closing the sale online is just as important as closing the sale on the phone or face to face.

    • Scott_McKelvey says:

      Hi Laura – Valid point, and I think consistency is equally important. Content marketing isn’t necessarily intended to close a sale right now, but by consistently sharing great content, we can get people to keep coming back, allowing for more opportunities to close a sale.