The Incredible Relationship Between Content Marketing and Sales

by Marcus Sheridan

Although the trend called “content marketing” continues to grow with companies big and small around the globe, the gap between producing content and then using it to change the sales cycle continues to be grossly wide, with few companies truly understanding the relationship between these two critical piece of business success.

The more I work with organizations, the more I find myself getting blank looks to this one critical question:

How has your sales process changed since you started using content marketing?

Sadly, this question typically leads to a look of confusion and perplexity.

A few months back, I introduced the concepts of content marketing tipping points and assignment selling. Although this may sound arrogant, I strongly feel that these two marketing techniques will revolutionize any business and organization if used the right way.

And now that I’ve been able to watch the magic of content work with many of my clients, I’m more passionate today about this subject than I’ve ever been.

Let me give you a few examples of what I’m talking about when I say integrating content marketing with the sales process.

Changing the Sales Process of an Entire Industry

Just because sales have always been done one way doesn't mean you have to follow the lead.

Since the first inground swimming pool was put in the ground many, many years ago, the sales process (for pool builders) has essentially been the same—A consumer calls “pool guy” and asks him to come out to his/her house to give a quote. And in most cases, a consumer will get 3 or 4 quotes and eventually make a decision.

In other words, the sales process for inground pool builders requires a huge amount of time, travel, money, and follow ups—something I’m all too familiar with after having done it for so many years until I was able to stop about 10 months ago.

But today, at my swimming pool company, our sales model is literally one of a kind in an industry that has thousands of pool builders. In short, this is how it works:

1. Customer calls and asks us to come out to give them a quote.

2. We respond by explaining our process is different—we educate more than anyone in the world with our website, videos, blog articles, and eBooks—which gives consumers everything they need to know about us, our products, and what pool/options suits them the best.

3. Once a potential customer educates themselves through our content, they tell us the pool and options they want, at which point we send them via email an actual quote.

4. If the customer reviews the quote and agrees to its terms, we then go out to their home to confirm there are no hidden costs and write up the contract.

Some of you might be thinking no one would ever agree to buy a 50k swimming pool without “meeting” the contractor first, but the truth is by reading and watching our content, they actually get to “know” us better than they do in a typical sales meeting with a contractor that has never spent 5 minutes teaching them anything about swimming pools before that moment.

I’ve explained our sales process to pool builders around the globe and most still do not believe we’re able to have success this way, yet we’re the #1 fiberglass pool contractor (in terms of sales) in the country and likely have the highest appointment to close ratio in the world—despite the fact that our prices are always on the upper end of the spectrum.

Other Industries

Unfortunately, when I explain the River Pools sales process to other industries, many folks often think their field or niche is the exception to such principles. But let’s look at how this also applies to The Sales Lion for a second.

Each week, I get 7-15 emails from companies that want to work with me and my team in some type of consulting capacity. Like any business, some of these leads are good while others aren’t nearly as qualified/serious.

For a long time, I had a very difficult time filtering out these leads and was ineffective in my approach to handling them, as some would take huge amounts of my time without truly being ready to take action. In order to deal with this problem, I made it a requirement for every lead to do one thing before I would contact them via phone—read my eBook (Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy).

Considering the eBook is a customer’s best method by which they can know me, my strategies, and the way I work—it only made sense to make this an integral part of The Sales Lion sales process.

Today, my sales cycle is much, much better than it was before. The conversations I have with prospects are way more productive and my actual clients are also much more educated and prepared than ever before.

US Waterproofing

Many of you have heard me talk about my friend/client Matt Stock at US Waterproofing, but few folks are using content as a sales tool as well as this company in their sales process.

To give you an example of how they work, before one of their 30+ sales staff goes on an appointment, the prospect is sent educational articles (from the blog) regarding their current problem/need, a bio of the sales professional they’ll be meeting with, and educational videos as well.

In fact, US Waterproofing now does everything they can to ensure that every email their company sends out has some piece of educational content included.

Content Sells

I could go on and on with examples here, but I hope you get my point—content, when done right, sells. And as I’ve stated before, great content is the best sales tool in the world. It’s the best sales “person.” When we’re all asleep, it’s still working, teaching, and moving prospects in the right direction.

But unless we produce it, and then use it to its potential, we’ll never appreciate the full experience that is the power of content marketing.

Your Turn:

I’m curious to know your thoughts on this question: Why do so many companies fail to integrate content marketing into their sales process? Also, have you seen companies who are doing this well?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Walt Goshert July 6, 2012 at

Marcus,

Turning the tables from doing the chasing for business to having clients select you is a big mind shift for most businesses.

They’re afraid they will lose business.

Most are scrambling for short term sales without a long term strategy. They’re looking for the quick hits. It’s why PPC, Facebook Ads, and buying leads are so popular.

Generally, only those businesses who want to be market leaders will invest in content marketing and building their own lead generation and qualification systems. It’s the E-Myth. 99% of businesses are too busy working IN their business to work ON their business.

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Rebecca Livermore July 6, 2012 at

Marcus, in answer to your question about why so many companies fail to integrate content marketing into their sales process — I think it is for a couple of reasons.

One reason is that they may not really believe it will work. Another is that it takes work — not as quick and easy as doing something like a PPC campaign. Never mind that it’s far more effective and has much longer term results than PPC, there’s not the instant aspect to it like there is with PPC.

And of course people feel like they don’t have time, don’t have the skills, etc. I’m learning, though, that people have the time and will develop the skills they need in order to do what they feel is truly important. Which goes back to the point of people not really believing that it will work.

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Mauro D'Andrea July 6, 2012 at

Hi Marcus, interesting article: your sales process not only makes your company saves time, but it also increase the your sales efficiency!

Regarding your question…
I think that many companies fail to integrate content marketing because they don’t truly understand it.
Maybe they don’t get the right information or maybe they can’t imagine the real power of this type of marketing.
Add that many small companies think that they are doing pretty good or that they can’t really improve their profit: they don’t have the driving force to search new way to sell.

I am pretty sure that there are many companies that are doing really good…but I don’t know many of them…
The ones who come in my mind are BlueGlass and SeoMoz, but I bet you already knew these :)

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Mauro, how are ya bud? Really appreciate you stopping by and you’ve made some excellent points here. This is a slow process, and although so many still aren’t there, the numbers grow every day.

Have a great one and thanks again,

Marcus

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Mauro D'Andrea July 10, 2012 at

I’m fine, thanks Marcus :)
I completely agree with you: there are many companies that are not yet on the content marketing boat, but soon or later everyone will join us…it’s a really contagious way of running business :D
Thanks to you for another brilliant article.

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Ricardo Bueno July 6, 2012 at

Re: “great content is the best sales tool in the world.”

I couldn’t agree more!

But in order to really connect and convert, writers/bloggers need to identify their specific audience first. Then, write content that speaks to that audiences’ needs. Otherwise, you’re just writing filler content. There’s a difference between writing something for the sake of writing something and writing a piece of content that’s meant to attract, engage and convert a reader into a customer.

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Great point about understanding personas Ricardo, something many folks miss but is a critical part of all of this.

Talk soon bud,

Marcus

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Jack@TheJackB July 6, 2012 at

Why do so many companies fail to integrate content marketing into their sales process?

Because some tools really aren’t applicable to all industries. I can speak about construction because I worked as a project manager for a general contractor who did both residential and commercial work.

I am a believer in content marketing but a skeptic about its use in construction. That is based primarily upon my experience.

When I met with homeowners to discuss doing work on their homes they wanted to know that I was trustworthy and that the workers we employed were trustworthy.

They were opening up their homes to us. Every day strangers were going to march through their homes and tear up parts of it so that it could be rebuilt.

Did they want to know that we knew what we were doing? Yes, of course. They wanted a degree of comfort in our professional capabilities. They wanted to see pictures and hear stories, but words and pictures didn’t close those deals.

I did and so did the other project managers.

In theory content marketing might have helped to filter out some of the weaker leads, but I am still not convinced about that either.

Content marketing can be very powerful but I think it is mistake to suggest that businesses who don’t choose to use it are doing so because they don’t understand it.

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Matthew Stock July 8, 2012 at

Hi Jack-

I am the owner of U.S. Waterproofing, who Marcus referenced in this article. Albeit basement waterproofing is a niche business, it still falls under the broader construction industry (as does pools).

I can tell you first hand inbound / content marketing works not only in our industry, but just about any other industry that could improve their online presence. Not only is it great at weeding out the bad leads and shortening the sales cycle, it also increases sales (conversion rates) and ultimately helps to drive down outbound marketing costs.

I’m such a believer it in, I’m actually in the process of starting my own consulting company with the goal of teaching other businesses – no matter the industry – the principles of inbound marketing and how to implement a program total buy-in from all employees and departments.

Take care.

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Jack@TheJackB July 8, 2012 at

Hi Matt,

With respect we still disagree here. There is a world of difference between the work you do and the work that a general contractor does.

Please understand that I am NOT saying that your work is unimportant or not valuable because it is critical.

What I am saying is that there is a world of difference between talking to a homeowner about remodeling their home and basement waterproofing.

After thousands of leads and tons of jobs I can tell you from experience that 1% of the homeowners who used us did so without spending significant time talking to us in person.

It didn’t matter how good our website was. It didn’t matter how many questions were answered or how many pictures/videos we provided because at the end of the day the homeowner wanted to meet the person who was going to be in their home day in and day out for weeks and sometimes months at a time.

That is not to say that I don’t see value in a website or a need for content marketing because I certainly do.

What I object to is the suggestion that it works for everyone because sometimes it wont and that is ok.

I do not believe that content is the best sales person because not everyone reads or understands the material that is produced.

Again that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do produce it or that there isn’t value in it because there is substantial. None of that negates the value of these posts or the discussions that come from them.

The engagement with other professionals has helped to teach me a lot and I am grateful. It is a testament to the quality of the community that Marcus has built. There are very good people here.

But I just can’t get behind the idea that content marketing works for everyone or the suggestion that if it doesn’t it is because it is not understood or used properly.

I wish you continued success in your business and luck in consulting.

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Matthew Stock July 9, 2012 at

Hi Jack-

I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

I would be interested to see the company’s website address you worked for. I have a slight hunch their inbound marketing practices weren’t what is considered “best practices”.

We still send out a sales consultant and it’s still his / her deal to lose. Nothing changes there. The sale is made (or not made) based on whether the salesperson was able to instill trust in the customer. The content only helps to build and enhance that trust in a shorter period of time (and the free leads from Google don’t hurt either).

Whether you’re shopping for a pool, a waterproofer, a remodeler or even a jeweler or attorney, the process is the same. No trust, no sale.

Thanks for the best wishes.

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John Gizowski July 6, 2012 at

Fear of change is the first thing that comes to mind. In my consulting days this was the biggest obstacle that we had to mitigate. Another one is the ‘perceived’ obstacle of lack of time. My response to this is to take some of the time out of developing sales & marketing collateral that describes me, me, me and shift it towards educating the customer on what’s important to them (content marketing). Thirdly, for bigger businesses especially who don’t practice transparency, you’ve got legal departments who get in the way of communications.

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

I can see you’ve been around the block John, as these are spot-on.

Keep spreading the good word bud,

Marcus

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Ryan Hanley July 7, 2012 at

Does content sell?

Yes…

How do I know?

My business competes in the most competitive industry keywords in business… Insurance._

Try building a content strategy against GEICO… Easy…

You doing everything Marcus outlines in his ebook (not stroking you Marcus shiz just works and you have it right) or come to my site… whatever

Content Marketing is the solution to the problem you don’t understand you have yet…

Hanley

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

WORD.

And I seriously hope everyone here subscribes to your stuff bud, easily some of the best and useful info on the web IMO.

Marcus

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Ben Landers July 7, 2012 at

When we launched our online marketing company in 2007, we had hardly any web traffic and we needed leads (like yesterday!), so what did we do? We invested in pay per click, went to networking events, cold called business owners, and a variety of “traditional” sales tactics. Of course, the results were mediocre. Thankfully, we had the foresight to start content marketing from day one. It didn’t take long before we had some major case studies detailing the process we used to produce fantastic results. In 2009, we decided to take our best case study and send it to 1,000 people. We sent 364 and had so many customers we couldn’t keep up. Anyone not investing in content marketing is leaving an enormous amount of business on the table.

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

AWESOME story Ben. LOVE it!!

Well done my friend,

Marcus

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Adarsh Thampy July 7, 2012 at

Marcus,

Great post.

I’d have to slightly disagree with you on this one.

I have seen a lot of companies try their hand at content marketing and have seen many of them fail.

The simple reason is, what works for one industry, does not necessarily work THE SAME industry in another area.

Let’s take the case of India. Your approach, if tried out here, is almost 100% guaranteed that it will fail. The simple reason being, the Indian audience is not that much accustomed to consuming content and acting upon them.

I have tried the content marketing approach for the real estate industry, entertainment and the education industry in India. Both of them have very little to no ROI. However it works for tech industry as the audience is much more advanced than the rest.

However, things are fast catching up. And people are evolving.

Having seen both the Indian audience as well as US/UK audience and working for a lot of companies spread across the globe, I can hands down say content marketing is the way to take for businesses.

Although it may not work now, it will definitely work one or two years down the line. If you are creating evergreen content, then it’s a huge plus as well.

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Good point Adarsh, and it’s obvious that India has a unique information/consumption culture at this time. But like you said, there is a very, very good chance they will come around and embrace the information age at some point,and then whoever has been ahead of the curb there will dominate their niche…big time.

Thanks for stopping by my friend,

Marcus

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Ryan Aspy July 7, 2012 at

I can see there are still some skeptics out there. Some folks who think their industry/business/marketplace is the “exception to the rule” as Marcus likes to put it.

Allow me to offer one more example to the ones that have already been offered that’s currently relevant in my life. I’m an avid CrossFitter and enjoy engaging in workouts that require lots of push-ups, pull-ups, dips and other such movements. A couple of months ago I started to get significant pain in my shoulder that forced me to stop a lot of these activities.

I turned to my friend Google to find out what I could about shoulder problems. I quickly came upon the website of a shoulder doc in my area (Dr Vivek Agrawal) that by far and away had the most extensive and informative content I could find. There are many shoulder docs in this area, but it was a no-brainer to go see Dr Agrawal based on the trust I gained through digesting his content.

Turns out I need surgery to repair my labrum. Question: What’s more critical – spending $50K on a swimming pool or having someone take a scalpel to your shoulder? Answer: They’re both critical to whoever is going through that situation at the time.

Now, content marketing didn’t “close the sale” for Dr Agrawal. Marketing requires a consistent story be told at every touch point with the customer (re: Godin). If I had gone to his office and he was a complete goofball there’s no way I’d be allowing him to cut on me. However, the office visit CONFIRMED the trust I had already gained from his content. I’m not looking forward to having surgery, but I’m confident the guy doing it knows what he’s doing. This same general principle will hold true regardless of whether you’re installing swimming pools, repairing shoulders, remodeling homes or “fill in the blank.”

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Jordan J. Caron July 8, 2012 at

Ryan,

Lots of businesses discount the concept of blogging while still believing in SEO. The problem is that they’re focused on keywords like “shoulder Doctor (insert city) which is a crowded term.

Instead those businesses need to take the advice or Marcus and focus on longtail keywords and answering people’s questions. This way they stand a better chance to attract someone like yourself who is a damn qualified lead. The chances of turning that person into a sale are greater as well since they land on content and not just a homepage with the company’s brochure style website.

Ryan Hanley’s post is further proof that long tail keywords are the most beneficial SEO strategy out there.

http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/06/11/results-small-business-seo-experiment/

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Appreciate your point Jordan, and yes, Hanley’s post on this was excellent– really, really good.

To the long tail!

Marcus

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Perfect case study Aspy on how Content Marketing works when done right. But you know, I bet 99% of all shoulder docs in the world would laugh off content marketing.

Odd indeed.

Thanks for such value bud,

Marcus

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Johan July 7, 2012 at

Why do so many companies fail to integrate content marketing into their sales process?

This is a great question. But if you can answer it you will not blog. You will just count the money.

I need to think about it. ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

So true Johan! ;-)

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Jacquelne monroe July 7, 2012 at

Another great article! You are doing a great job of explaining why. Many folks promoting content marketing don’t come close to you and your ability to show why.

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

You’re too kind Jacquelne, thank you!!

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David Weinhaus July 7, 2012 at

Great post Marcus. It’s cool how you are approaching inbound marketing, but also inbound sales, which typically gets much less attention. I like how you are filling the funnel at the top, and that you don’t necessarily ‘sell’ to everyone just because raise their hand once. Rather you’re expecting them to take on equal work in the process. I also like how you are laying out the breadcrumbs for them, though case studies and such, in a way that advances the sale. True, not everyone will make it through, but I bet the serious ones do more than they don’t. That is cool. Inbound marketing and sales seems to have changed the power equation between you and your prospects.

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

David, I really like how you put that– “Take on equal work in the process”

That’s exactly it—both parties are putting out effort—and progress is so much stronger because of it.

Appreciate all your continued support David,

Marcus

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Ian Altman July 8, 2012 at

Marcus,

Thank you for stimulating another great conversation. I agree that content marketing is a valuable piece of the puzzle. Especially in a business-to-business (B2B) setting, the client may not realize that your solution is the right fit for their issue. In fact, by the time they client is confident that they know what they need, anyone claiming to solve that issue is perceived as a commodity.

The point is that I see many organizations fail by using content marketing to describe their products and services. Instead, focus on the problems/issues/challenges your ideal clients face. The prospect is more likely to search based on the problem they are having rather than the solution.

A format I recommend for B2B is to describe the issue a client faced and clearly illustrate how that issue impacted (negatively) their business. You can spend almost ZERO time describing the solution. But, definitely describe the results. When you get an inbound inquiry, your first question can be “Why did that piece catch your attention? Do you know others who are facing a similar issue?”

Content marketing can be a great tool to qualify and educate. However, I think that sales needs to qualify each opportunity to ensure that the client has an issue, with sufficient impact and importance, to make it worth your time to help them find a solution. The right content marketing can make the process very efficient.

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Love your outlook Ian, and the questions you mention here are spot on in terms of truly defining client needs and making progress.

Appreciate you stopping by bud and I’ll be calling you soon!!

Marcus

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Rebecca Livermore July 8, 2012 at

Tim,

Sorry to hear you had a problem with this. Can you send me an email at rebecca@thesaleslion.com and I’ll help you with this?

Thanks so much,

Rebecca

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Murray Lunn July 9, 2012 at

I think the biggest moment of failure is that many business owners don’t realize that they’re already sitting on a mountain of potential content pieces and they convince themselves that it’s going to cost an arm and a leg to get things running.

The reality is that by tapping into your existing customers and staff, you could easily create a years worth of content in less than a month between doing interviews, tutorials, spotlights, etc.

Couple all this with the use of video and audio, and small businesses have a wide range of content for their marketing purposes.

Another aspect is that small businesses generally have this idea that they have a “secret” they can’t let out to their competitors. Unfortunately, the customers DO want this information and whoever puts it out there gets that expert status which, in turn, increases the chance of the sale.

From my experiences, it was difficult getting my old boss to agree to sharing a lot of information through the website but, in time, he gave in and since then, their social media channels have exploded, Youtube video count skyrocketed, and sales shot up. All because of content.

It’s an old mentality overall. Businesses are keeping up these barriers because it’s the wide unknown. Hell, most don’t even have a website yet so content is out of the question.

I think, for us business types pushing for content marketing, we have to ensure that they already have their fundamentals down pat but start them with a process of content creation from the get go vs. a later implementation.

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Murray, I love the way you think man. seriously, if you don’t have your own marketing and content marketing company within the next few years, there is something wrong, because you’ve got the vision my man.

Just keep pushing buddy!

Marcus

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Ben Troy July 9, 2012 at

Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Know, like, and trust—those are certainly the magic words Ben ;-)

Thanks for stopping by,

Marcus

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Christina Pappas July 9, 2012 at

I havent the slightest clue why they dont but I know that they dont. I have mentioned him here before but had another conversation with my father about content. He has a side business installing security systems in small businesses. When he goes into the business he always closes the sale but he doesnt have time to knock on every door in town so he wants to advertise. ‘Design me an ad’ he asks me. I say ‘write some content, make some videos, do something cool’. To which he responds ‘nah, these guys dont read blogs.’ Errrr. Kind of goes back to your post a week or so ago about the word ‘blogging’ in general. There is an affiliation there and it’s stuck. People who dont get it dont see blogging as content – not in the way you and I do. They see it as a blog and then judge whether their audience reads blogs without even questioning or considering how blog content could help fuel search inquiries. I love what you are doing Marcus but I struggle to see how we can get everyone to see that this works!

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Hey CP! Yep, things are still slow. But then again, so was the need to have a website for the first few years and then “BANG”…the rest is history.

I don’t think content marketing will ever be as big as the need to have a website, but I sure see it close….eventually. ;-)

You rock CP, hope all is well on your end!

Marcus

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Lee Kirkby July 9, 2012 at

One of the great gains from the process that Marcus has outlined is the ability to match your scarce resources in people to the clients who are really interested. One of the hardest things in business is to know who really wants to buy and who is shopping for ideas and will never buy.

Using the process to educate, encourage people to learn before they shop actively means that you can spend your time with those who are really serious not tire kicking. Of course the process will probably weed out a few serious buyers who are uncomfortable with working through an online line process, but you will most likely find that many more not serious people will be streamed away first.

You do have to be flexible enough to help people buy in the manner that makes them most comfortable and for some that requires face time…but by screening out a whole bunch who are not serious buyers you reserve more face time for the serious players anyway.

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Amen, amen, amen Lee. Right on my friend!

Marcus

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Stephen Kavita July 10, 2012 at

The main reason the internet was created was to share content. This means if you want to promote your business on the internet and attract leads thus generate sales you have to share content.

Content can be in many forms, there is text, video, still images, podcast and so on. The secret is to make sure what you share adds value to your target audience.

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Yep, that’s exactly right Stephen–add VALUE.

Cheers,

Marcus

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Grady Pruitt July 10, 2012 at

I like this idea of getting people to come to you. I feel myself thinking of ways I can use it right now in the things that I’m considering doing. I just need to sit down to create the content.

Still, the hardest part I’m learning is getting your name out there in the first place for people to even find you. I’m working on it, but I feel I have a long way to go on that area.

Thanks for sharing this informative post, Marcus!

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

That’s true Grady, promoting awareness is another animal in and of itself. But just keep in mind that whether you get 1 lead a day or 1 a month, the principles here will work.

Continued success Grady!!

Marcus

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Cliff Pollan July 10, 2012 at

Marcus – Great Post. My thoughts on your two questions:

1. Why do so many companies fail to integrate content marketing into their sales process?

I think that the word “content marketing” has left many people feeling that content is for marketing – getting people to the website and “top of funnel” and it is not as important when the sales person gets involved. The sales person sells on building trust and does not need content to create that bond. What a missed opportunity.

This is compounded by the fact that marketing and sales management is not driving how to get the content that marketing is using into the hands of sales people. I am amazed at how many companies have rich content libraries but when you ask the sales people do they use the content they say not much and they do not know how to get at it. They just grab a couple of pieces, often out of date and continue to use it over and over again. Not strategically, just so they have something to send.

2. Who is doing it well:

I admire:

Owen Blevins at Mid-Atlantic Concrete – http://maconcrete.com

David Marinac at Standuppouches – http://standuppouches.net

Andrew Sealy at MINDBODY – http://mindbodyonline.com

Cliff

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Cliff, LOVE this comment, and yes, you’ve nailed how so many in sales miss the mark and simply “don’t get it”. This is not an industry thing, it’s a principle thing–and the principle is great teaching.

And some awesome people you mentioned there too!

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Marcus

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David Marinac July 10, 2012 at

Marcus,

I sent you an email reply about PostWire…what I believe is our Secret Sauce. Having great content is critical…being able to access that content and send “collections of that content” to clients and possible clients not only speeds up the entire sales process but really helps us identify who is a “tire kicker” and who has a legitimate project. This to me is a game changer.

Keep up the great work! See you a Hubspot Conference in August hopefully!

David Marinac
StandUpPouches.net

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Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2012 at

Hey David, sorry to be so slow responding to you sir :-)

I LOVE your outlook on content and certainly look forward to catching up in Boston.It’s going to be GREAT!

Marcus

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Owen Blevins July 10, 2012 at

Marcus,

You have an uncanny ability to unearth great content consistently and knock it out of the park. Thanks again for sharing your passion with so many. We’ve had very good success with Postwire.com . We use it to interface with prospects and customers. It gives us the ability to share information about us as well as videos, docs and pdf’s with them in an upscale, organized manner that keeps those folks from having to search the internet on their own and possibly ending up at our competitions site. No vested interest in this company, just really happy with their product. Rock on my friend…

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Marcus Sheridan July 12, 2012 at

Owen, appreciate your thoughts on Postwire, coming from you, that means a lot man coming from you, I’m certainly going to be checking it out.

Talk soon!

Marcus

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Mitch Mitchell July 11, 2012 at

I like that process Marcus. Of course, I’ve got to get them to pick up the phone and start calling me first, or at least sending me email, but I’m working on that. :-)

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Marcus Sheridan July 12, 2012 at

Hahahaha, yeah, good point bud :-)

Appreciate you stopping by Mitch!

Marcus

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Inge Papp July 11, 2012 at

Marcus, I’ve always believed that content marketing is a wonderful strategy for creating credibility and trust with a client – credibility because it shows them that you know a lot about your work, and trust because it shows you care enough to make sure they understand what they’re buying from you. That being said, I agree with Jack about every client being different. Some clients, albeit not too many, only really establish their trust in you with an eye-to-eye meeting and a warm handshake. Maybe this is because content marketing is new to them. In the end, each client needs to be considered individually. I think Matt’s approach of sending a sales consultant out for a personal meeting in addition to sending the client the material is a good one – balance always wins.

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Marcus Sheridan July 12, 2012 at

I agree that balance is a great thing Inge. And I’m certainly not stating here that in-home sales should be eliminated, as they should not in most cases.

But this much I know for certain, especially in any face to face sales situation— Preparation of the client is huge. The more prepared and informed they are, the closer they are to making a buying decision.

Content Marketing is just good teaching. That’s all it really is. So when Jack says it doesn’t apply to his industry, frankly, it makes no sense to me, as it’s like saying, “Great teaching, unless it’s face to face, doesn’t help in our industry….”

What?

Everyone said the same thing with the pool industry, which is just like the home building industry, and now they’re all scratching their heads at our success.

I have a client in the home building industry that’s doing very, very well as a matter of fact.

The ones with a great vision will allow content marketing to enhance their business and coincide with their sales process. The ones that think they’re the exception will continue with business as usual.

When it comes down to it, I just feel great principles are great principles, no matter the field, the niche, etc.

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Les Dossey July 12, 2012 at

You asked the question why? Here is an illustration that should help.

I call it the dummy – success loop and everyone who has ever breathed air has been in both loops at least once in their life.

but sadly many who enter the dummy loop never come out again.

Here’s how both loops works….

Everyone has potential and I’ll posit that everyone has unlimited potential whether they believe it or not.

For this illustration we will look at two guys – one has deficient beliefs the other transcendent beliefs.

Let’s take a guy who’s been nurtured and told that he can do anything he sets his mind to… he looks at his potential with powerful belief and says I can do this, I can get content marketing to work, if it worked for someone else then it will work for me. In fact, I can make it work even better!

So he sets off to educate and train himself, he hires a consultant to coach him, he visualizes the result that he wants and orchestrates his plan and then pulls out all of the stops and takes massive action and gets massive results and then says I knew content marketing would work in fact I see even more potential and better ways to deliver relevant and compelling content and he goes out and revolutionizes an industry. Say hello to Marcus Sheridan who lives life in the success loop.

Now let’s look at a guy who for various reasons has deficient beliefs about himself, about life and business. Everything to him is a grind, he says there is no such thing as unlimited potential so he looks at content marketing and says ok I’ll try it but I’m not sure it will work, so he fails to educate himself and get trained, he opts out of hiring a consultant to coach him, he doesn’t visualize what he wants and unknowingly visualizes what he doesn’t want and he half heartedly plans and takes little action which produces little results which reinforces his deficient belief so he can say, see I told you so..content marketing doesn’t work in our world. Say hello to the folks duped by the dummy loop.

Both guys will with great precision and accuracy get amazingly consistent results over and over again because they both believe they are right.

Want to escape the dummy loop? Send me an email and I’ll send you my 6 steps to escaping the dummy loop.

Thanks for allowing me to share.

Only the Best,
Les Dossey
The Man’s Man Coach
les@lesdossey.com

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James Markey August 14, 2012 at

One problem I see about having content marketing or educating the possible customer is by having videos showing why your product is the best , then the customer has someone else over to get an estimate and shows them the video. I would think the sales rep for the other company can look at the videos and decide how to knock my product, and push his.
Thanks

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Marcus Sheridan August 16, 2012 at

To be frank James, that very mentality will always keep you behind your competitors.

Remember, we don’t market out of fear, we market out of a desire to teach and help others.

Good luck,

Marcus

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