Today's blog post is by Jeff Ogden, award-winning B2B marketing expert, president of the sales lead generation company Find New Customers, and creator of the very popular and syndicated online TV show Marketing Made Simple TV.
What is a Buyer Persona™
Buyer personas tell you exactly how and why a representative buyer makes the decision to buy the products, services, or solutions that you market.
While buyer personas may include other details, the 5 Rings of Insight are their most overlooked and essential aspect, clarifying decisions for persuasive messaging, content marketing, product or solution launches, campaigns, and sales alignment.
The Five Rings of Insight and the ebook is owned by the Buyer Persona Institute.
When Gerhard Gschwandtner asked me that question in our recent video interview, I was dumbfounded for a moment. Sales? Marketing? Whom?
My first instinct was to answer yes, because marketing and sales have to work together.
I believe the lines separating sales and marketing need to end. He asked how those groups could unite. I told him those leaders need to get together and spend some quality time. Gerhard joked, “Are you saying a few beers can bring these teams together?” Yes, Gerhard, marketing and sales leaders are just people. If they spend quality time getting to know each other, things will go swimmingly. That means a lunch meeting or even a few beers after work.
In this guest post, I want to explore how sales and marketing can work together to create effective sales enablement content.
How to Create Truly Useful Sales Enablement Content
If one thinks about it, the role of content is to answer buyer questions needed to facilitate a purchase. Only after you answer their questions can buyers become comfortable enough to sign with you. That means we need to first think about the questions that need answering.
Where can we learn these questions? We should talk to salespeople and even do some unstructured interviews of won and lost deals. (Note: Download a free e-book on Buyer Personas here.)
Let’s use an example to illustrate: say the company trying to win a sale is “Acme Financial Solutions.” Acme offers a SaaS software product to enable marketing leaders to close faster. A senior salesperson with Acme – let’s call him “Tom” – has a meeting with a VP of finance at a large financial services firm in New York City.
Tom meets with the VP and shows him a demonstration of the financial software. Then they sketch out on a whiteboard how the financial processes will change. The VP is impressed. But he says to Tom, “I’m concerned about our ability to successfully implement this software. I’m not sure we have the right talents in-house or know how to make the needed changes to use your software.”
Tom does a song and dance and tries to assure the buyer that Acme will help his company through these changes. Acme has done nothing to arm Tom for questions like this; however, if Acme had thought through the question ahead of time and the salespeople have been asked this question before, then the company could craft content to answer the question.
Let’s put Tom back in the meeting with the VP of finance. He’s again asked about the need for the right talents and processes. Tom pulls out an iPad and pops up a video. In this video, an existing Acme client talks about the implementation and what was learned about training and process change. Tom’s prospect has an answer from a trusted source and signs on the spot.
Conclusion: Sales and Marketing Need to Work Together
How do sales and marketing become one and create truly useful content like Tom’s?
I think there’s no secret formula; it requires people who genuinely care. People who care spend time talking and really listening to the point of view of the other person. If both sales and marketing teams feel the other has its best interest at heart, the icy distrust will thaw.
Next, sales and marketing need to come up with a list of buyer questions. These come from past sales experiences and unstructured buyer interviews. (Download a free e-book on Buyer Personas here.) Sit down for a meeting and get these questions documented. Once the questions are compiled, then start thinking about how best to answer those questions.
Perhaps you could record a video or audio interview of an existing client. Or you could create some other form of useful content. No matter what, sales and marketing can create great content – together.
A few pints of good beer can solve everything, I think.