A Story about selling...
Content marketing has always played a strong role in backing the sales team. Today it’s absolutely critical that your content not only supports but purposely enables your sales team. Why?
Traditional sales folks once knew that getting someone to buy often meant spinning a good yarn. That craft is largely a lost art. Traditional sales people took careful steps in their delivery, they:
- Knew their audience and how to relate to them well
- Knew their product backward and forwards
- Painted a picture of what the world would be like without said product
- Shared the story of why the product was invented and how challenging it was to create and perfect it
- Ended with a grand vision of a world made so much better by the invention of that product that their audience wasn't just sold, they were seduced.
In traditional selling, a car wasn’t a performance vehicle powered by one thousand horses or 3,200 cupholders. It was an escape capsule...impenetrable from the noise and distractions of the outside world.
But the world has changed. It's rare that in 1960, a consumer looking to buy an automobile would hit the library for hours at a time. They wouldn't spend an afternoon combing through card catalogs for relevant content, at best they'd ask some friends, family, and colleagues for their thoughts. They might pick up a related magazine in advance of hitting the lot and thus, they'd have some preconceived opinions influenced by a handful of peers, the latest headlines they read, or by the advertising that brought their favorite program to them. That's about it. The hard work was done by the salesmen on-site. Marketing and PR provided a lay-up. Sales closed with stories.
Today, those interactions are limited. The consumer comes to the car lot with their mind made up, competitive pricing in hand and tips on how to negotiate. They've used social media to poll communities of 100's of peers, read as many relevant articles, posts, and blogs as they cared to Google and downloaded the app to get the car history. They avoid the sales interaction almost entirely. If there was an app that delivered cars to test-drive to their door, they'd use it.
That is why it is crucial that the story--the sales message--get out prior to the proverbial car lot. Marketing has figured that much out and is sharing stories to increase Google rankings and social sharing. But they can't tell stories well if they don't know how to make those stories sell, and it all breaks down when the first shoe lands on the lot and the sales team is "storyblind."
The solution? There's three:
- Hire some "good-ol-boy" salesmen on your marketing team...hope they get it right.
- Have marketing study the sales org and your customers via your CRM... hope they get it right.
- Get sales talking regularly (in an organized fashion) with marketing. Get them sharing what they know to be true, what they feel are the common rebuttals/problems, and then have them (mutually) create stories that solve for both. Next, get sales to use them.
The problem? The first two have a low likelihood of working and the third is hard work.
Hard work, but not impossible. How? Help your sales team understand the value of storytelling again. Create stories that sell, get them into the hands of your sales team, and train your sales team on social selling. When it all works out, have one hell of a happy hour. Repeat.
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