Do you have content for your sales pipeline?
Yes, content should fuel marketing but it should also fuel sales.
Whether you’re creating snackable content for easy consumption or “heavy” content for persuading peeps to buy from you, your content marketing goals should align with sales.
In 2016, make it a goal to have your content grow from snackable social bites to a full meal — and get those prospects through the funnel!
Here are three types of content to help you do that.
Your Sales Pipeline
Whether you’re a solopreneur or you have a sales team, the sales pipeline gives a step-by-step look at how your potential customers are converted into actual customers.
For example, a new opportunity may fall into your lap, so you try and figure out what they’re looking for and if they’re qualified.
If they are a good candidate for your product or service, you’d begin nurturing them, or teaching them about the benefits of your services, and how you can solve their pain points.
From there, you’d give a demo or a proposal, and after the proposal review and consideration, you’d either win or lose the sale.
Infusionsoft has a unique and powerful way of describing the sales pipeline; they call it the Customer Lifecycle.
Here’s how they see things unfolding in the buying process:
[Image source: Infusionsoft]
According to the Customer Lifecycle, the sales pipeline has seven steps:
- Attract Traffic
- Capture Leads
- Nurture Prospects
- Convert Sales
- Deliver & Satisfy
- Upsell Customers
- Get Referrals
How do you creating content for your sales pipeline based on these seven steps?
Easy. You break it down into the actionable stages each step fits into.
Create This Content For Your Sales Pipeline
The way I see it, content coincides with the sales pipeline or Customer Lifecycle in three phases or stages.
So as a potential customer moves through the funnel, there are three stages — or areas — for content to be created.
1. [Stage 1] Awareness Content
When the customer doesn’t know your company/brand, your job is to get your content seen by new and potential customers.Here are 6 places you can attract customers with content ...Click To Tweet
- Social media sites
- Blog (posts can be a “snack” or a “meal”)
- Visual cues (think: infographics, videos, interviews, etc.)
Perhaps you’ve captured the interested party’s information (step #2 above), and they’re now on your marketing list.
You’re ready to gently tell them why they should choose you.
2. [Stage 2] Consideration Content
Once a person has gotten to know you, connected to your brand messaging, and decided they trust you, they are in the consideration phase.
Perhaps they’ve already given you their contact info as a way to get more information — liked subscribed to a newsletter, or downloaded an ebook.
Now is the time to nurture them (step #3).
Nurturing a prospect or consumer is a way to educate them on why/how your product or service is best suited to solve their problem.
Early consideration and awareness content can be similar, but after you capture their information, you should really focus on going deeper with your education pieces.
Try moving from snackable bites to a full meal with:
- Case studies
- White papers or reports
- Customer testimonials
- Different forms of social proof
Your main goal during this stage is to show your knowledge, your work, your happy customers, and ways in which you’re a thought leader, or authority, in your industry.
Once a prospect has let you know they’re thinking about buying, you move to the next stage …
3. [Stage 3] Decision Content
I like to think there are two types of Decision Content:
- Pre-close content
- Post-close content
Pre-Close Content falls under decision content because it is critical to making the sale.
Here’s what makes up Pre-Close Content:
- Sales presentation/collateral
- List of products & services with pricing
Post-Close Content happens AFTER the sale and targets your current customers.
Many people miss this step because they close the deal and think the relationship is over.
Do you know what happens when people get married and think the relationship doesn’t need any more work? They get DIVORCED.
Business owners and salespeople alike should squeeze every last drop out of what they already have — the low-hanging fruit — before they go foraging for new leads.
Post-Close Content allows you to do this with steps 5, 6, & 7 of the Sales Pipeline:
- Deliver & Satisfy: What content do you have to welcome new clients? How are you using content to ensure your new customers are 100% satisfied with their purchase? When/How/Where have you said THANK YOU?
- Upsell Customers: Once you know your client is happy, how are you using content to upsell them on other features, benefits, or packages?
- Referrals: Are you mining your current, happy customers for new blood? You should be!
Does Content Fuel Your Sales Pipeline?
Hopefully, you can see that content is and should be the helping hand guiding your would-be and current customers — even when you’re not.
Use these three types of content for your sales pipeline, and if you’re still not sure where to start…?Add power to your content marketing pipeline with these six actions.Click To Tweet
- Take a closer look at your pipeline or perform a content audit
- Assess where you have content in place and where there are content “holes”
- Create a plan to fill content holes
- Measure which content is working and what’s falling flat
- Update content regularly to remain relevant
- Recycle and reuse successful content
Are you currently creating content for your sales pipeline? I’d love to hear how you’re doing this — just give me a shout in the comments section below!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media management & advertising agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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