The initial B2B sales conversation has changed.

You implemented some fantastic content marketing. Your boutique agency is showing you incredible engagement metrics. You’re capturing fantastic insight on what they tell you are “marketing qualified leads” (MQLs). But, there’s a problem. You’re not getting to demo any faster. Your forecast isn’t getting bigger in proportion to your MQLs. Your MQLs aren’t turning into more SQLs (sales qualified leads). Your sales people tell you they follow up and these “leads” just plain suck.

Does this content marketing thing really work?

ron burgundy shocked - You mean mql's and sql's aren't the same?!?!?!
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Yes, it does. But, that editorial calendar and great content was only half of your solution. You need to equip your sales team for the new conversation. The content selling conversation. The inbound sales conversation.

This conversation isn’t about you or your product. It isn’t about a “pain” or a “business goal”. It’s about the prospect. It’s about the customer. It’s about what they found interesting in the content. It’s about what you’ve learned from your customers about the topic in your fancy e-book.

This new initial sales conversation probably doesn’t end with a demo, either. Its successful when it ends with your sales person forwarding some more thoughtful content, or suggesting some interesting resources.

The conversation(s) that lead to a conversion take the prospect through a series of stories that lead to discovery of your product. But, it isn’t the kind of discovery that occurs when you tell them what they need. It’s mutual discovery. It’s the prospective customer relating their issues to what you offer. You were the tour guide. You had every answer they needed. But, they drove the bus.

Having that conversation. Converting faster in that sales environment. That takes a method and some seriously enabled sales people.

Is it worth the investment? Of course it is. Otherwise your sweet content is just fueling your competition’s conversations.

I love engaging with sales and marketing teams in our HR technology market and helping empower them with what they need to have this conversation. It’s part education about the buyer – what they actually do every day – who they are at a deeper level than title and industry.  It’s also part education on how to have an effective initial conversation by putting the customer first.

Do you have any challenges or successes in content or inbound selling? I’d love to hear from you. Hit me in the comments or here.