Today’s guest post is written by Rusty Speidel

Businesses today are under a great deal of pressure to create more efficient sales engines, especially online.

With all the competition and noise in the space, it isn’t easy to differentiate .

Sales reps must make their funnel of prospects perform better with less, while the gaps between product features are constantly shrinking and prices are cut as much as they can be.

So what’s a marketer to do?

Perhaps you’re faced with one, or a combination of, these challenges:

  • Increase both the number of inbound leads and the close rates of these leads.
  • Enhance the efficacy of each step in the sales funnel.
  • Find additional ways to win business besides price.
  • Define and execute specific messaging for each of your company’s major market segments.
  • Position your company in the marketplace as the highest quality provider.
  • Establish your executives as thought leaders in the analysis, definition, deployment, and support phases of the sales cycle.
  • Enhance your marketing bandwidth and efficiency.
  • Overhaul your web presence, especially where thought leadership, inbound marketing support, and content marketing are concerned.

The Real Challenge? Engagement.

A recent sales survey conducted by HubSpot revealed only 29 percent of sales reps are really prepared to understand customers’ business problems. Forty percent of survey respondents say their biggest challenge is getting salespeople to collaborate more with customers.

  • How can your company improve its website to make search engines work for the business and to establish its members as thought leaders?
  • What can be done to communicate your story in a way that is clear, concise, and ORIGINAL?

The Solution? Content!

Content and social marketing that share relevant stories and help to proactively solve business problems help solve that challenge. By sharing your expertise and making it available where customers are and knowing when they want to receive it, you build better relationships.

You have to become committed to the idea that a strategically deployed social media presence combined with solid content marketing is the best way to achieve your sales goals. Well-deployed content can enhance your relationship with potential customers throughout the sales funnel by increasing visibility and approachability during inquiry, providing a personal touch to those relationships and accelerating their progress through qualification.

Here’s how:

  1. Establish industry credibility and expertise in the awareness stage. One of the strengths of social media is to drive awareness of a company, product, or service. It is a very effective way to establish credibility and expertise. Marketers need to share and promote content that piques interest where their audience is looking, so brand advocates and company evangelists will share it on professional networks and within their own professional circles.
  2. Provide customer solutions in the consideration stage. As buyers move into the consideration phase, they are looking for more than just product information: They are looking for solutions to business problems. They are doing more research before purchase than ever before and most of it is online or via their peers, not your marketing materials. They are also further along in the buying cycle before they ever have a conversation with a salesperson, so if you want to hold their attention you need to provide the content and information you want them to consume before you reach out to them.
  3. Content helps to close the sale and drive revenue. Buyers are looking to make safe purchases that help with company performance. By this point in the sales cycle, customer pain points are well-known. By proactively addressing concerns, objections, and questions via the social content and platforms you support, you can give customers a sense of confidence in your leadership and ability to solve their problems.

Content helps to shorten the buying cycle and enhance positive referrals after the sale.

What do you think? Do you completely understand your customers’ pain points?

Rusty Speidel brings a wealth of experience in brand positioning and management to the Jaggers Communications team. He has specialized in community building and preparing the communications around introducing new and science-based products to market. You can follow him on Twitter at RustySpeidel.