One of the New Rules of selling is that you need to be a trusted source of information, news, trends and the latest thinking on topics and products that are important to your customer. “Content is King” has been shouted from every marketer and pundit for the last several years and many believe was originally coined by Bill Gates back in 1996. The link is a worthy read on its own merit.
There are two key hurdles that sales people have to becoming that trusted source for their customers:
- Where do I find quality, relevant content?
- How do I deliver it to them?
This post answers question #1 and a follow-up post will introduce you to simple, automated ways to get this helpful information into the hands of those who need it.
Most days in sales are already packed with important, necessary tasks and activities and taking time to create content isn’t feasible. So it just doesn’t get done.
The problem with this is that customers still desire and seek out this information. If you are not delivering what they need, they will find it somewhere else. Search engines, peers, and your competition are all waiting in the wings.
Finding important content for your industry and customers does not need to take up much time at all. You are probably doing much of the work already in your other call preparation, research and selling activities. This activity can all be automated.
Here are a few of the tools to find and organize helpful content for your customers.
Pulse is a feature of your LinkedIn account that contains strong, fresh content by recognized thought leaders around the world daily. Now that Pulse is integrated into LinkedIn fully, the Pulse App on your mobile device monitors your LinkedIn activities and interests and delivers content based on your interests. If your time is extremely limited, just use this source for content to share with your customers and you will be way ahead of your competition.
Scours the web and returns timely, relevant content on a daily basis. You provide the keywords and categories and you will receive everything relevant for those each day. There is a free account option that will deliver more of that fresh content that you are looking for. It can also serve as a delivery vehicle for this information, which I will get into in my next post.
I’ve been saying for years that Twitter is the best sales “listening” tool that has ever been invented. By utilizing the Lists and Hashtag features, you will be able to quickly review everything that is relevant and decide what is most important for your customers to know about. Save these searches and the next time you want to check it will be one click away.
Provides same functions as Twitter above but also includes other social platforms. It also provides very helpful organizational tools and the ability to distribute the content you find most relevant via Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook from one dashboard. If you are not able or willing to spend much time across all the social networks, Hootsuite should be your social tool of choice.
An automatic search engine that monitors the web for any mention of the keywords, companies and individuals you select. Many of you have used Google Alerts at some point, and with the rumors that it is going away, a tool like Mention is a worthy replacement on steroids. They offer a free or paid version. Always use out the free version and if you like what it delivers, spend the $6.99/month to get a more extensive service.
One thing that I have found most customers value is information about changes and activities within their industry and within their key competitors. InsideView does many amazing things to improve sales results, and one of my favorites is it’s ability to notify me of leadership changes, job openings in key areas, and mergers, acquisitions and financial reports. I have had clients that have come to rely on me to keep them up to date on happenings within their own companies.
Is a service that provides you with late-breaking information as it happens based on the RSS feeds of those organizations that you have subscribed to. I find that this is the easiest way to keep up with blog posts and articles being posted by thought-leaders, industry pundits, research companies, competitors and even my prospects and customers.
Ensures that you will never miss an article about someone that matters to you by tracking LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends and email contacts in the news. The key difference with Newsle is that it doesn’t pick up tweets or status messages, instead it presents only real news and eliminating the social “chit-chat” that can clog up your day and your focus.
As you can see, there are multiple ways to gather content that your customers and prospects are hungry for. Add in to this mix your own company news and that of vendors/partners that you work with and you will become that trusted source of information.
In my next post I will share How to Distribute High Value Content to Your Customers on Autopilot.