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Enabling B2B Sales & Marketing

How to sell in a world of buyers overwhelmed by content

Posted by Bruce Rasmussen on 20-Oct-2016 15:42:24

Did you know that - with all of our frantic content marketing efforts - we're actually sending our buyers into what's become known as "Content Shock"!

How much content are we actually consuming every day?

I'm reading a wonderful book entitled The Content Code: Six Essential Strategies to Ignite Your Content, Your Marketing and Your Business.

Early on in this book, I learned a lot about how our content consumption habits have changed over the past 100 years or so:

  • When we only had newspapers and printed books, we spent around 2 hours per day consuming content
  • With the advent of radio, 2 hours per day went up to 4 hours per day
  • In 2011 - with television, internet, gaming etc - we consumed over 8 hours of content per day
  • Throw in the recent move to information access on mobiles - we're now consuming on average 10 hours of content every day!

hours_spent_consuming_content.png

We're maxing out!  We can't keep up!

Our prospects need our content - but we're going to have to up the ante in quality and applicability if we're any chance of getting our prospects' attention!

But ... more content seems to work(?)

There are myriad reports expounding the necessity to publish content frequently - in fact the more frequently the better!

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But we can't just churn out "click bait" - we need to get the balance right, as discussed in the comments in this article:


content_quality_quantity_debate.png


So how do we respond as sales people?

Despite becoming overwhelmed with content, B2B buyers continue to move through their buying journey as far as possible prior to engaging with a "live" salesperson:

siriusdecisions.png

The problem for us as sales resources, is that - if we're relationship focused - we'll keep responding to buyer requests every time they read something new!

Our work on "disruptive selling" is widely published - and foundation research by CEB reveals that the highest performing sales resources are NOT the relationships builders, but rather the sales folk that challenge customers with new insights, showing them better ways of running their businesses.

challenger_stats.png

This certainly creates "cut through" - if you can get to know a customer's business, and deliver some sort of unique insight that can show them how to run that business better - then they'll rate that content much higher than the "generic stuff" they drag down off the web.

Being prescriptive as well as challenging

Additional research from CEB gives further insight into how sales reps need to respond in a world where prospects are suffering from Content Shock.

As you can see from the above tweet, the "prescriptive" approach focuses on virtually "telling" the prospect what they should do, rather than the "responsive" approach of trying to solve multiple business problems.

In a world of Content Shock, this makes sense:  the customer is overwhelmed with content, so based on our knowledge of the customer's situation, let's suggest (even tell them) what we think they should do. Now THAT is the content they really need!

But - does it work?

The tweet below says - emphatically - "yes it does!"

"Ease of purchase" correlates directly to sales success - and what the graphic below is showing is that telling the customer what to do is much more likely to make their purchasing process simpler, which in turn means we have a greater chance of sales success.

So - in a world where your prospects are probably overwhelmed by content - are your sales and marketing teams being prescriptive enough as to what those prospects should do?


Avoid content shock and start using content marketing the right way with our FREE Content Marketing Action KitWe've put together the best resources and content to help you become the best proactive marketing business.

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(The above 2 tweets were obtained from a blog article written by Terminus.  Further information around CEB's Responsive/Presciptive Approach research can be obtained here.)

Topics: Sales, content marketing