How Sales Can Use “Content Prospecting”

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Content Marketing

Your sales team can benefit from using a content prospecting method that combines email, voice, and content, in carefully planned steps. This process was outlined in a recent webinar: Content Prospecting: Enabling Sales Reps with Lead Nurture Best Practices, conducted by Bret Smith, founder and managing principal of High-Impact-Prospecting and Jeff Linton, Act-On’s product and field marketing  manager.

The webinar began with an overview of tactics:

Use social media to uncover opportunities. Engage with prospects in real time using social media. Combine it with website intelligence tools and prospect behavioral data to effectively engage in direct, two-way conversations that will eventually convert into opportunities. Calibrate your interactions to add value without being intrusive or annoying.

Use email to drive engagement. Leverage email marketing to its fullest through planning and coordination. An effective email campaign requires careful data selection, relevant content, a clear conversion path, integration with all other marketing efforts, measurability, and coordination with the sales team. By creating a marketing ecosystem that works together and measures behaviors and metrics, increasing your lead scores should happen naturally.

Identify meaningful leads. Look for leads that display purchase intent, based on behavior. It may be a combination of frequency, page visits, and specific pages that signals ready-to-buy behavior. Provide lead activity history to sales reps so they know which emails were opened, what web pages were visited, and the frequency of visits; they can structure warm conversations based on this information. You can  increase overall revenue per lead by developing a measurement process to document ROI, and shorten sales cycles with timely and relevant follow-ups.

Nurture leads. A whopping 80 percent of “bad leads” buy from someone within two years; make sure it’s you. Most of the leads you have today aren’t ready to buy right now, but that doesn’t disqualify them from being a lead. By staying in touch with every lead, you are nurturing an eventual sale.

All these tactics serve the strategy of differentiating yourself from the rest of the sales pack by becoming your prospect’s trusted expert – and not that nagging sales rep.

The most powerful tactic is to enable sales reps with methods to prospect with content. The best practices around content prospecting include:

  • Use personalized email as a prospecting tool
  • Use voice as a means to “cement” the process and close for next level of interest, and to increase overall outcomes
  • Use informed peer-level appeals targeted towards prospects’ area of responsibility or interest
  • Persistent – yet respectful – follow-up and engagement with the prospects becomes nurturing by sales

Bret’s team has developed a very useful Content Prospecting Process Map to help define the process:

Content prospecting

The touch points need to be executed methodically:  

  • Touch point one: An email – Follow the format of an executive summary using bullet points to hit key points, is very pertinent to the position/individual and the organization, and includes aspects such as respectful tone, strong subject line, a descriptive list of benefits and more.
  • Touch point two: An email – The second email is shorter but more concise in message, following three business days after the first. The subject line and body are a call to action and also contain a more succinct set of bullets, stating benefits, not features.
  • Touch point three: A phone call ­– If the contact is engaging via voice mail, then leave a recording that is professional and consultative in tone. The message should be meaningful and 30-60 seconds in length – not just contact information.
  • Touch point four: A follow-up email – Reference the voicemail, and include a piece of collateral

Ready for more information? You can get complete explanations and sample follow-ups, at your convenience, in the recorded webinar.