With all the talk of content marketing being the “ultimate solution” for B2B sales and marketing professionals, the simple fact is that unless you are extremely lucky, none of the leads from your content will directly result in a sale.
You still need to have a chat with your prospects first.
Yes, the content will warm them up to your business, and I am sure that it will do so in a quietly persuasive, non-salesy way. People do have a choice about engaging with your content, but just because they write a positive comment, it doesn’t mean with any certainty that they are more likely to buy from you than they would have been if you had “cold called” them.
You still have to press their buttons.
I have clients who have been publishing on LinkedIn for the past year. They have had huge success with hundreds of thousands of views over the period. They have indeed found that clients are more readily approaching them for conversations about their business, but at the end of the day, these conversations have still followed the familiar script of a “sales call”, despite the fact that their clients have been reading their stuff every week.
Before you press their buttons, you have to understand their needs.
You might argue that the call isn’t “cold”, but the fact is that you don’t have a clue about their business and what their requirements are. You might feel that you know them because they have been putting that lovely “thumbs up” after your posts on a regular basis, but don’t let this lull you into a false sense of security.
Also, assume that they know nothing about you. For all you know, they may have just been “liking” your posts to gain credibility in their network. Content “curation” is a good way of becoming visible, but pressing the like button doesn’t mean that you have to read the post. Use the conversation to understand exactly how much they really know about what you do.
Most importantly, approach the call like you would any cold call. It should have a structure. Send them some information before you call. Find out information about them before you talk about yourself. Give a succinct description of your business. Focus on the reasons why your service would be useful for them. Talk about your current clients and how they are benefiting. You get the idea. I could go on, but this blog isn’t about how to make a cold call.
It is just a reminder to all you sales guys out there that although great metrics on social media are fantastic, the bread and butter of your work still entails getting on the phone / in the meeting room with your clients.
They are not somehow “different” because they engage with your blogs.
(Although it is, of course, flattering when they do!)