Episode 162: 7 Content Types for the Buyers’ Journey
In this episode, the Social Sales Link team will be taking a deep dive into CONTENT. Not just any content but the different types that salespeople need for each buying stage of a buyer, a.k.a. your future client.
Listen in as our resident hosts, Brynne Tillman and Bob Woods, break down three types of content for selling: top-of-the-funnel content, mid-funnel content, and the end-of-the-sales cycle content—what they are, and how they are implemented for success. If you’re curious, you have to listen to learn more.
Bob Woods 00:00
Well hello to everybody and everybody, hello, and welcome to Making Sales Social Live! Brought to you by Social Sales Link. I’m Bob Woods, the LinkedIn Sherpa and I’m joined as always by fellow LinkedIn and social selling professional who is also known as the LinkedIn whisperer, Brynne Tillman. Brynne, how’re you doing today?
Brynne Tillman 00:22
Good Bob, how are you? I’m having a fun Monday. This has already been a sparkling kind of day. So I’m looking forward to continuing the happiness with our conversation today.
Bob Woods 00:33
Yeah, let’s absolutely do this.
Welcome to Making Sales Social Live! As we share LinkedIn and social selling training strategies and tips that will have an immediate impact on your business. Join Brynne Tillman and me, Bob Woods, every week, Making Sales Social Live! This is a recorded version of our weekly Making Sales Social Live Show.
Bob Woods 01:00
As they say, and we never know who they are but as they say, “Content is king.” And actually, it really does apply here because if you’re into social selling, you know content, you use content. Content is what gets conversation started and contributes to conversations as they go on within the buying and the selling process. Buyers use content in researching their potential purchase decisions. In many cases, before we as salespeople even know they’re in the market for our products or services. That’s why we’re talking about content today. With this podcast episode, we have an ebook that accompanies it, it’s at socialsaleslink.com/funnelcontent again, it’s socialsaleslink.com/funnelcontent.
So overall, there are three types of content. So pieces that you use at the top of the funnel, which goes back to what I was talking about before, when they’re researching you, before you even know they’re researching you. Then mid funnel -These are the pieces that you use when you’re talking to people but reinforce what you’re saying and then at the end of the sales cycle, which can also even be used post-sale if you want to as well. So top of the funnel, we have two main pieces, let’s talk about those Brynne. First of all, is content before their need, as we call it.
Brynne Tillman 02:28
So this is a huge opportunity when we’re looking at the top of the funnel when we’re looking at starting new conversations with new people and this was a concept I learned many years ago from David Newman and he talked about you need to engage them before they know they need you, you know, so that you can start the conversation with them and that you’re the one who’s educating them and leading them to the next step. So for example, if we’re talking about prospecting on LinkedIn, maybe a lot of the content we’re talking about is getting started on LinkedIn, or how to connect with the right people on LinkedIn because that’s what they’re doing before their prospecting, potentially. I mean, there’s a lot of ways to look at it but what I want you to look at is what’s happening before they need you. Who were they buying from? What content are they researching a stage before you?
Another example is if you are recruiting people, so you’re talking about, you’re looking to bring on let’s say new salespeople. They may not be actively searching for positions but if your content talks about what a good culture is, you’ll start to attract the right people, even if they’re not looking for a job right now. There are lots of different examples that we can give around this but the bottom line is we need to attract them where they are and if we attract them too late, there’s a good chance they’ve already done their research as Bob mentioned, they’ve already identified three or four or five companies like you that when they are ready for your solution, so if you’re engaging with them early on, chances are they’re not going to shop you nearly as well as much.
Bob Woods 04:35
So the next one we have is content that creates curiosity and gets prospects thinking differently about their current situation because if they’re not thinking differently about their current situation, why are they gonna buy anything if they’re thinking that, you know, let’s just keep doing what we’re doing and everything is going to be fine. You need to create curiosity with it. So there are many different ways that you can do that and again, this is before they even reach out and speak with you because this is especially the type of content, when they’re researching they’re probably looking to think differently about what they’re doing right now.
Brynne Tillman 05:12
Yeah, this is a great opportunity to really engage them on, as Bob said, thinking differently. So content for social selling typically includes five elements. The first one is that it resonates with your buyer, that they are, they immediately see it and say, this is written for me. So it might be, you know, three challenges CEOs are facing around XY and Z, —“Ohhh… I’m a CEO and I’m facing this challenge.” That’s resonate. Next one that Bob mentioned is to create curiosity, you’ve got to get them to lean in and go, “Ooh, that’s interesting!” then you need to teach them something new. Now, teaching them something new, that creates you as a thought leader, and a subject matter expert.
The next piece that Bob mentioned, is what you teach them needs to get them thinking differently about their current situation and you are spot on with this Bob because if we teach them something new, but they’re still okay with their current vendor, then why would they even talk to us? Let alone buy from us. But you’re right, when they start to think of it differently, and then reframing your situation in a way that they go, “Boy, we do have gaps. How come I don’t have that? I’m really curious.”
When you get to that level, then you get to number five, which is it creates a compelling moment, we move them from a lurker to an engager. We get them to comment, react, connect with us, view our profile, it creates a compelling moment. And when we create those compelling moments, we can start the sales conversation. And that’s what’s really critical in what we’re talking about today, is top of the funnel, these top of the funnel pieces need to create those compelling moments, because our goal is to start conversations with the right people. And if we’re not starting conversations, and we’re just putting out content, and no one is engaging, or few people or the wrong people, that it’s not content for the sales funnel, it’s content for the content’s sake.
Bob Woods 07:31
So now that the top of the funnel of content has done its job, and you’ve done your job, and you’re talking, having sales conversations with the prospect, they’re in your funnel. So let’s talk about mid funnel content. So there’s actually several different pieces that we can talk about here, we’ll go through them quickly. One is content that offers social proof, or case stories. Now notice how I didn’t say case studies. These are case stories, because no one can relate to a case study but when you’re telling a story about someone who has benefited from your product, people can relate a lot more to that, especially when the person whose story you’re telling you about is in the same position or the same industry or whatever, as the person who is so, so the person who’s reading it is the same as the person whose story being told about and that can be told in social proof as well, Brynne.
Brynne Tillman 08:26
Yeah, you know, and not all content is necessary for the news feed. This type of content, I see more as an inbox play, to follow up on a conversation that you’ve already had. Maybe it’s on your profile as social proof. I wouldn’t share too many of these on your homepage, because it may come across as bragging and you know, and so you want to make sure that all the content you’re sharing is of value. So I’m going to share, to Bob’s point, that case stories are so much more valuable than a simple study and the reason is done well. What you’re implementing inside of that case story are actual actionable things.
Things that when the reader absorbs it when they consume it to Bob’s point, they’re relating to that, and they can take that content, and even start leveraging it in their own business. Now, obviously, we’re not giving away everything. That’s never our goal and I know we’ll get a whole bunch of pushback from people that say, “Don’t give it all away” but we actually come from a place of too Michael ports, quote, “Give away so much value that you’re afraid you gave away too much and then give more” that’s the account we’re in. So look up Michael and Amy port. They’re amazing humans but that’s where we’re coming from. So that case story should also be a great benefit to the reader, even if they never talked to you. You want them to get that value and that’s how you start to build that reputation.
Bob Woods 10:13
Yep. So before we get to the next one, Stephen Farber says, “Great ebook.” He just downloaded it. That’s fantastic. Love to hear it. Again, It said socialsaleslink.com/funnelcontent. Let me get that back up. Not that one. That one. There we go. Again, that’s socialsaleslink.com/funnelcontent. So the next piece that we’re going to talk about is content that specifically overcomes objections because I mean, no one gets objections, right. No one ever, no one ever gets objections.
Brynne Tillman 10:45
You know, I love this. And we’ve talked about this for years and years and years, when we hear, you know, our clients, you know, we’re getting these objections, whether it’s a price objection, a value objection, whatever it might be, and we no longer teach sales training. So I’m thinking, how do we solve this problem for them in a way that’s around social selling, and really, it comes back to content. So when you hear an objection, from a prospect, write it down, write down your solution and create content around that.
Now, not only are you prepared when someone has that objection, but when you start kind of planting those seeds in content, you’re moving them toward your solution. So for example, I don’t know if you guys have ever read the book, I think it’s been selling or solution selling I’m mixing it now, I think it was solution selling. And they talked about this grocery store that had all the bells and whistles, but they didn’t have someone that took your groceries to the car, you know, people would say, “Well, why didn’t you do that?” It’s a choice that they made based on whatever they made.
So their content would have been about all the innovation, and steer away, you know why you want a place with all this innovation? And what innovation can do for X, Y, and Z and talk about what really matters that separates you out? So just think of those objections. So if their objection is, you don’t have someone to help me to my car, be prepared as to why you’ve made your choices so that when that objection comes up, you’re ready, or you’ve overcome the objection, before they ever even have it or are able to verbalize it.
Bob Woods 12:42
Yep. Yep, exactly, exactly. That’s fantastic. The next point is, or the next type, I should say, is content that gives you a competitive edge. Like that, like the sound of that.
Brynne Tillman 12:57
Yeah. So there’s so many things that you can do around this, you know, the competitive edge is really finding out what you do that no one else does that really plants those seeds. So for example, if you know, we are the only social selling membership site where you actually get one on one coaching, we would talk about how important the one on one coaching is, if you are the only print shop in your neighborhood that actually delivers that don’t pay for shipping and we have free delivery, then that’s what you focus on. And you talk about why that is critically important when you are making a decision on what printer to use.
So when you educate them, you can also plant seeds. So if you know, we’re talking about where we get a competitive edge, but if you know what your competitor doesn’t do, you can talk about the risks of doing business that with someone that doesn’t do X Y&Z Now these are typically not things that we put on our newsfeed, this is content that Bob uses and I use in Smart Links, which is the Sales Navigator piece or to send individually or to send a PDF individually you know, we were chatting I wanted to follow up with this content. So the end of the sales funnel is typically not things that we share publicly. Again, however, we can put this in the featured section and other places on the profile to get that edge.
Bob Woods 14:47
And one of the things I literally just thought of, totally forgot about it back when I sold for a business coach. When it comes to competitive edge and you know things that people do versus people that don’t do. If there’s something in your industry that everyone does but A, you do it well and B, no one else in the industry talks about. So everyone does it, but nobody talks about it and yet you do it well, you actually talk about it. And then if a competitor comes up and says, “Well, we do that, too. We do that, too.” They don’t look as great just because you brought it up first.
Brynne Tillman 15:21
That’s great. I love the off-the-cuff stuff.
Bob Woods 15:27
So our next one, and this next piece actually could be used at the end of the sales cycle, too but we’re going to concentrate on mid funnel here is content that helps your buyers sell you internally, because let’s face it, you can’t, you aren’t able to talk to buyers, the other buyers that other 6.8 or 5.8 people who are making? Well, no, it would be 6.8 minus the person that you’re already talking to. So it’s the other 5.8 at that point..
Brynne Tillman 16:08
You’re so good. So in the study in the Challenger customer, right, they identified on average, there are 6.8 decision-makers, on every, you know, on every large sale. So go ahead, Bob, I just wanted to throw that in.
Bob Woods 16:25
Yeah, so hopefully, at some point, you’ll be able to get to talk to those 5.8 other decision-makers. But this type of piece will definitely help you smooth the road in terms of you know, speaking quote unquote, to those people directly, even though you’re not talking to them, this content piece will at least get these other buyers, knowing that you are thinking about these other buyers and the other various positions that they’re in, you’re versed about their concerns and you know, what you do can help them out as well as the overall company and the initial person who’s bringing this up in the first place.
Brynne Tillman 17:06
So I love that. So let’s just use for example, let’s say you’re in marketing, you’re in sales, you’re touched, finances touched, procurement touched, what you want to do is create content written for each of those buyers, you want to create, whether it’s a checklist, or you know something because they all have a different reason. So for example, I’m going to use us because I know right, so we will typically start with sales leadership, we generally need to get marketing buy-in. So the content for the marketing is five ways to get your employees to amplify the content you’ve created.
Now sales don’t care about that. Sales cares about the 10 ways to use LinkedIn, to start new conversations. Finance, my talk about the most economical way to amp up your sales team’s efforts. So all of these things you do, but each of your stakeholders have different intent, they have a different “why” and so when you can create those pieces of content, your champion, the person you’re talking to, that’s helping you out, can use that content, to start conversations with the other people you would like to invite to the next meeting. And then they can see why. So that’s a great one, Bob.
Bob Woods 18:42
And then now we’re going to talk about the end of the sales cycle or post-sale cycle, however, you want to view it. And this is good because this pushes for more business. So content that helps you to cross-sell other products into whether it’s other products you have or maybe into other departments within the same company, as well as cross-solving. So solving other problems that your product can solve for these companies as well beyond the initial problem that they brought you in for.
Brynne Tillman 19:12
That absolutely is big, and I think Jack Hubbard calls across solving. So I love that. I think that’s brilliant because we’re really in there solving other problems and a lot of times we’ve talked about the land and expand model. You sell them what they want that you can solve well, and then expand afterwards. Some of that, which goes to Bob’s point of the last one, helping them sell you internally. It may be that you’re selling different things to other departments. So that’s why that last one Bob mentioned could go both in the middle of the funnel and post funnel and you know, the other piece is really listening to the sales cycle and you can open that conversation with, “You know, I’m glad that this is going well. The launch went fine, you guys are happy. I heard a couple other gaps that you may have that I’d be happy to talk to you about solutions, are you open?” Bob, what are your thoughts around that?
Bob Woods 20:17
Yeah, I mean, you know, going in, especially with a product or service that is really multi-departmental or something like that, that go, I say, or something like, cross departmental, I like that even better. Yeah. So I mean, as you know, getting your foot in the door is key. And a lot of people make a lot of money getting in the door and then having those content pieces, and with the relationships that you’re either building or have already built, you can get into other departments much, much easier, rather than trying to start something all over again, with a new company. You know, if you have that kind of product, and you sell them to those types of companies, it’s just golden.
Brynne Tillman 21:02
Yeah, a perfect example for us is I had sold TD Bank locally in the Philadelphia region and worked with him for years, and then got an introduction into Washington DC. area, right. And so that’s that kind of land and expand option. But one thing I want to throw in here is you have to earn the right to do that. Don’t ask for more business until you’ve mastered the business they’ve bought from you.
Bob Woods 21:33
Absolutely. Absolutely. And that is a great place to end up except to mention, again, the ebook, which is socialsaleslink.com/funnelcontent, you can download that and use it on your own, you can download that and use it as an accompaniment to this episode, however you want to use it, we hope that you find it very valuable, and because we hope it delivers a lot of value for you.
Brynne Tillman 21:57
And I’m just gonna throw it in, make sure you comment and like and even share it with other people because this ebook is actually connected to Bob’s post. So you know, it’s shared around. I really think it’s a valuable one, that many people, you know, social sellers can really get value from.
Bob Woods 22:19
Absolutely, absolutely and I would appreciate that as well. So with that, thanks again for joining us on Making Sales Social Live today. If you’re with us here live on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter right now, we do this every week. So keep an eye out for our live sessions. If you’re listening to us on our podcast so the recorded version of this in other words, and you haven’t subscribed already, go ahead and click that subscribe, follow button, whatever it is on whatever you’re listening to us on and you’ll be able to access all of our previous shows and be alerted when new ones dropped.
Gonna throw one more URL at you if you’d like more on the podcast, go to socialsaleslink.com/podcast that’s socialsaleslink.com/podcast. We do two shows weekly, this one and our Making Sales Social interview series, where we talk with leaders and experts in sales, marketing, business, and many many more areas. So when you’re out and about, be sure to make your sales social.
Brynne Tillman 23:19
Bye, guys. Thanks, everybody. Bye bye.
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