woman with dropped ice cream cone

You Can’t Handle the Leads! Research Shows Your Content isn’t Ready for Interested Buyers

woman with dropped ice cream coneOne fine day, probably in the 1960’s, this door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman rang the doorbell of a lovely family, and the lady of the house opened the door (the 60’s was around the last time people would do that).

The man explained who he was and that he was selling vacuum cleaners, then just stood there and stared at her.  Amazingly, she said she was in the market for a new vacuum cleaner and just might be interested.  But she noticed the man didn’t have any vacuum cleaners with him.

He said he didn’t think that would be necessary, and that he also didn’t have any beautiful brochures with information about the vacuum cleaners to show her.  Nor did he have any customer testimonials about how great they were.

The woman said, “Well surely you can tell me all the details and specifications.”  The man politely explained he really wasn’t anticipating anyone showing interest, so he hadn’t prepared anything beyond giving his name and telling people he was selling vacuum cleaners.  He could wing it, but couldn’t guarantee he’d get everything right.

The woman assumed that since he didn’t have a machine with him, he couldn’t give her an in-home demonstration, but the man said, “Oh that’s not true!  I can come in and pretend to push one and make vacuum sounds with my mouth.”  He then asked if she was ready to hear the price.

She replied, “Oh you poor man, that hardly even matters now does it?” as she sadly closed the door.

It’s hard to believe that today, modern enterprises are heading out into the marketplace in no better shape than that poor man.  Interested prospects want to research and gather the information they need to make a purchase, and the sellers simply aren’t ready.  They’ve prepared a shallow little something for the initial engagement but after that become a literal barrier to purchasing instead of a sales operation that glides prospects through to closings.

If you’ve spun around in circles about content production, you aren’t quite ready for an interested prospect.

If you’ve regarded content strategy as something that can be put off; if you’ve spun around in circles about content production, what should get made and why and how, then you aren’t quite ready for an interested prospect.  What you’ll wind up revealing to them is that you either don’t have the information they need, or can’t convey it competently.  Both are bad impressions that build a lack of trust that’s extremely hard to overcome.

We’re town criers for strategizing and producing content at scale, with a video-first approach, for the purpose of having a clear answer to the many questions prospects ask at each stage of the buyer journey. Unlike a convo with a sales rep, those content assets are vetted and factually error-free, they’re tangibles the prospect can watch repeatedly until they have complete understanding, they’re tools for the internal champion that can be passed to higher levels – with nothing getting lost or misunderstood in the process.

Many organizations, especially B2B, believe they’re in good shape because they have “a lot” of content.  But it’s usually a mishmash of ad hoc projects not based on any strategy to address what prospects need to confidently move toward purchase.  What happens is the prospect asks a question and a rep throws them a white paper or a massive deck where the answer is sort of answered in there somewhere.  That’s how you really slam the brakes on a sales process.  Prospects aren’t interested in your treasure hunt.

IDG Enterprise, publishers of the likes of CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, ITworld and Network World, conducted their 2017 Customer Engagement research and discovered some interesting things about content needs and consumption in the tech platform purchasing space.  IT decision-makers (ITDMs) are on the hot seat to make good decisions, and they aren’t seeing the info or experiences they need from vendors.  Behold some fun facts (fun unless you’re blowing it) from the research:

  • 85% of ITDMs are more likely to consider a vendor that educates them throughout the buying process.
  • They download an average 7 assets during the buying process.
  • 79% of ITDMs get a negative impression of a vendor if they can’t find content they’re looking for.
  • 74% notice and appreciate a consistent omni-channel experience.
  • Sharing valuable content is key at 56% for why ITDMs respond to a sales rep.
  • 60% of the communications between ITDMs and vendor sales people are email or online based.
  • ITDMs are responsive to video, and 95% watch tech-related videos.
  • Product demos should be available in video format.

The buyer side is not exhibiting a lack of interest, just frustration with an inability to get the info they’re looking for as they try to move through the funnel.

Clearly, the buyer side is not exhibiting a lack of interest, just a frustration with an inability to get the info they’re looking for as they try to move through the funnel.  On the vendor side, organizations are sunk in the mud up to their axles in confusion around content…a discipline that could be the wonder drug of communication and the fulcrum to higher sales and retention.

Combine a seriousness about getting clarity around your content strategy, and then put the production of that content in the hands of people who know how to emotionally move people toward an action through storytelling, and you have the makings of a gratifying, trust-building sales machine.  Don’t be that poor unprepared man left standing at the door.

 

Are you ready with concise, clear video answers to the questions your prospects will have?  If not, reach out to michael@valverdestiles.com and lets start getting the basics covered.

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