According to Forrester Research, 74% of deals are awarded to the sales professional that is first to provide value and insight. What does this really mean? Plant the seeds of inception within your customer. The medium through which insights are generated is content. Content in the 2020s can be in various forms: videos, blogs, podcasts. What’s important is that sellers understand the connection between sharing insights and shaping priorities. Content is the new currency that shapes priorities.
To prove this for your sellers, you need to demonstrate tangible examples of how you buy, your customers have bought, and content shaped decision-making.
One of the best ways to illustrate this is with something called the content consumption story. Perhaps consider working with your marketing team if doable. Imagine knowing what a particular customer account has read before, during and after conversations with them.
The stories you can generate from this are powerful! You can teach sellers that customers learn much outside of the live conversation. If you are not providing consistent insights, other competitors may do that job for them.
Visualize examples of a content consumption story. Use three to five customer examples where you can clearly demonstrate influence or attribution of content shaping the customers journey. Show what/when they consumed, how they consumed, and help develop a story of why they consumed.
Here is a 4-Step process to Coaching towards the right actions and behaviors:
If possible, work with your marketing team to visualize empirical evidence of content consumption stories from your customers. The best way to convince your team that content is the new currency is to be able to empirically prove that buyers are consuming insights pre, during, and post live conversations, and that you can objectively prove content has shaped the sales conversation.
Ask the seller to take screenshots of the insights that they’ve shared with a key account in the last week. If they haven’t shared insights with a key account in their portfolio last week, then you know they’re not executing on this for the vast majority of the portfolio.
Isolate a few ‘Inflection Point’ moments:
• How do you find content?
• What would your customers find interesting?
• How would you share these insights?
Develop a decision-making tree that isolates gaps in knowledge. This gap might be at the very basic level – how do I find content?
Map their decision-making criteria around sharing a specific piece of content with that customer this week, and how you intended to use that content as a conversation starter. What you’re trying to evoke from the seller is understanding if they understand why content is valuable, and do they make it a priority in their sales conversations.
Applying Gestalt to your process will now become very objective. Because you’ve done your due diligence in advance of building a content consumption story for 5-10 customers, you can use that as a coaching moment to talk firsthand about an account that has been shaped by their content consumption journey, or through their content consumption that has shaped the deal in a positive way.
You want to help connect the dots between content shared with customers, and how customers learn and shape buying decisions. Leverage a ‘Teach Back’ Method by having the seller retrace their decisions on content, and rethink how customers are consuming content before, during, or after sales conversation.
A green flag means that the seller is consistently finding isolating new content for their portfolio. Consistency is what you’re looking for. A red flag is when they are not taking a moment to step back, find new content, or about the customer experience. They also haven’t connected the dots between how a buyer learns and buys, and how content shapes that conversation.
Create a short timeframe for corrective actions. Ask that the seller is prepared for the next 1-on-1, in which they have prepared a story around content that they can share with their portfolio. Repeat this loop until they understand why they’ve collected the content, and how they’re going to deploy it into their portfolio as a conversation starter.
: Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world. View all posts by Jamie Shanks