According to the internet, sales (and salespeople) are dying. ⚰
Just take a look through a few headlines that crossed through three leading business publications:
For one, maybe it’s because today’s sales processes still focus on the product and the profit rather than the customer.
Plus, when you get down to the root of it, the majority of modern “sales and advertising thinking” still revolves around “let’s manipulate the audience’s emotions.” Ugh.
Look at this classic example from Mad Men, where a client meeting reveals exactly what advertising is all about… Making the consumer believe in whatever will sell the product, even if it’s harmful to them.
“Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay.”
– Don Draper
So what’s up with sales and marketing, and why has it so dynamically changed today? How can you get with the times? Let’s talk about this critical subject.
Does your sales process still focus on the product and the profit, rather than the customer? You could be a dying brand at risk of falling by the wayside. Learn why a 1999 sales process is detrimental to today's buyer, via @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
Don’t Treat Your Buyers Like It’s 1999: Why Sales Doesn’t Work the Way It Used To
We’re exposed to so much advertising in our daily lives, we’ve become blind to it.
We have reached a tipping point.
Each day, we see thousands of ads and brand messages on web pages, in our emails, on social media, in magazines, on billboards, on posters and flyers, on commercials, in stores, on the radio, on our mobile devices, and even on brand packaging.
Ads have taught us, the audience, how the sales game works.
Most modern consumers are wise to the sales pitch, can spot it a mile away, and feel vaguely uncomfortable with traditional sales tactics that too-obviously focuses on wresting their money from their wallets.
Most modern consumers are wise to the sales pitch, can spot it a mile away, and feel vaguely uncomfortable with traditional sales tactics that too-obviously focuses on wresting their money from their wallets. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
According to a HubSpot study, only 29% of people are willing to talk to a salesperson to get more information about a product. 62% prefer to research that same product online.
Content Marketing’s Power and Pull
It’s no wonder we respond so well to content marketing. When it’s done with care for the audience, it has a beating heart.
It’s no wonder customers respond so well to content marketing. When it’s done with care for the audience, it gives a brand a beating heart. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
According to a survey published by Clutch, a B2B research company, 67% of people believe content marketing is “useful and valuable.” Meanwhile, a minority (33%) think it’s “biased and unreliable.”
The amazing thing about that remaining 33%? Content marketing still influences their shopping behavior in some way.
According to Clutch’s study, almost three-quarters (73%) of those who think content marketing is biased or unreliable have purchased products or services as a result of content marketing.
This means even if the content is overly promotional, it still has some value for the user.
What about people who value content marketing?
86% of them have bought products or services from a business directly because of content marketing, says Clutch.
86% of them have bought products or services from a business directly because of #contentmarketing. New research via Clutch, @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
What can we glean from these stats?
Content marketing has a power and pull that those traditional sales tactics utterly lack.
Why is this so? There are a few amazing reasons.
3 More Reasons Why Content Marketing & Inbound Content Surpasses ’90s Sales Tactics
1. Content Marketing Relies on First Contact from the Customer
Content marketing is an inbound marketing strategy.
What this means: Businesses who use it focus on pulling in customers naturally, as opposed to reaching out to them interruptively. TechTarget puts it this way:
“Inbound marketing is a strategy that focuses on attracting customers, or leads, via company-created internet content, thereby having potential customers come to the company rather than marketers vying for their attention.”
In other words, it puts the power in the customers’ hands. They have the first and last word on whether they will interact with a company, not the other way around.
In comparison, sales tactics seem intrusive, interruptive, and money-grubbing.
Think about how sales may have entered your own life, past and present:
- Telemarketer calls in the evening just when you were sitting down to dinner with your family
- TV commercials that interrupted the plot of your favorite show during the climax
- Pop-up advertisements that seemed to proliferate on their own while slowing down your internet browser
It’s no wonder traditional marketing and sales leave people with a bad taste in their mouths.
Content marketing puts the power in the customers’ hands. They have the first and last word on whether they will interact with a company, not the other way around. This is why it works so tremendously well, says @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
2. Content Marketing Meshes Well with Modern Consumer Habits
In the age of Google, an encyclopedia of information on almost any topic you can think of is at your fingertips. People can research anything, anywhere, and research they do.
Imagine you need to buy a new blender. Once upon a time, you would have gone to your tried-and-true home goods store, looked at two or three options, and then bought one.
Today, it’s more complicated. Most people will take to the internet and research exactly which model and brand will suit their needs best. They’ll compare prices, then check whether the blender they want is in-stock at a nearby store. If not, they’ll order it online.
According to a Demand Gen report on B2B buyer preferences, 42% looked at 3-5 pieces of content before getting in touch with sales to make a purchase, and 73% looked at a case study.
Content marketing is all about being part of this information-gathering process for consumers. It meshes with modern habits and meets them where they’re doing shopping research.
Today, 42% of buyers are looking at 3-5 pieces of content before getting in touch with sales to make a purchase, and 73% of buyers are reading a case study first. #Contentmarketing is all about being part of this information-gathering… Click To Tweet
Traditional sales techniques seem downright outdated in comparison.
3. Content Seeks to Give First, Then Receive
Another way content marketing pulls ahead of traditional sales: It seeks to give first, receive later.
The content you create is all about value for the reader. You want to give them something to chew on, something that educates, entertains, delights, or inspires.
You give your audience the best with the hope they’ll return in kind later, whether they opt-in to your email newsletter or eventually buy one of your products.
It’s about building a relationship with them based wholly on trust.
In a pointed article on Content Marketing Institute, Robert Rose puts it this way:
“Every digital experience we create should not only reflect our focus on winning a moment of truth – where the customer is paying attention – but in deepening the trust gained (or regained) in every step that precedes or follows it.”
Sales, on the other hand, seeks to build a selling relationship with the consumer. The salesperson or ad is there to convince you why you should buy, why the product is better than others like it, and how it will make your life better.
The focus is on the product, not the person. In content marketing, it’s the other way around.
That’s a huge difference, and it makes all the difference.
Sales seeks to build a selling relationship with the consumer. The focus is on the product, not the person. In content marketing, it’s the other way around. That’s a huge difference, and it makes all the difference. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
Leave Sleazy Selling Tactics Behind & Do Content Marketing
Don’t treat your buyers like it’s 1999.
Don’t treat them as secondary in the buying process.
After all, if your buyer becomes dissatisfied with you, they can easily turn elsewhere for a similar solution.
Consumers today want to be first. And they want you, a brand, to make them feel like they are a priority.
Luckily, content marketing puts your customer first. And you can make a TON of $$ if you do it right.
So, build content.
Position yourself as an expert through high-quality, well-written content (we can help!), publish your content in a format where your buyer can find it when they need help, and serve your people first and foremost.
Give your readers value in content, earn their trust, and you’ll get much more than just one conversion or a fast sale. You’ll get a connection, a relationship – and maybe even their loyalty. In the long run, that is worth much, much more.