I just got off of a call with a prospective client who works as a marketing director at a big technology firm. He’s got problems.
And I listened.
I had to resist the urge to gush about our qualifications, work samples, and references. But it was worth it, because I got some clear insights into the world of the marketing director and their day-to-day concerns.
Here are a few of them in no particular order:
- difficulty getting customer sign-offs on case studies
- outsiders have a tough time understanding company and tone
- complex/long sales cycles
- lots of leads and few opportunities (7500/17)
- high traffic to posts but not well linked to “how we do it” content
- sales people wanting deeper-dive brochures on systems
So, how to deal with these issues (from the content producer perspective)? . . .
- Create anonymous case studies that are so good your customers want to put their names on them. This takes some skill, but the payoff is huge. When customers see their experiences crafted into compelling, dramatic, engaging story arcs, they offer less resistance to approvals.
- Hire contractors with heavy experience in your industry. You cannot give work to people who don’t understand your business (period => there it is).
- Offer content that’s targeted to very specific phases of the sales cycle. You need to have tight, well-crafted pieces that show up right when the prospect is considering that particular phase of the sales cycle and all its inherent challenges.
- Create better lead screening systems and surveys. If you’re wasting a lot of time chasing bogus leads, you need to offer those leads multiple opportunities to disqualify themselves. One easy way to do this is with short, pointed surveys. The right questions will automatically filter out the duds, and automation software can purge them from your lists or re-target them for later surveys and further qualification steps.
- Craft better “HOW” content. The question of “how” is a major differentiator for this particular company. They do things differently than competitors, and it’s critical to explain this. Case studies are useful for this, too. Ask your own customers how they think you achieved what you did with your solutions. You might be surprised at the answers you uncover.
- Sales people know what to ask for. So many marketing departments continually deliver content that the sales people don’t ask for. This is a pretty simple solution. When sales asks for specific content — deliver it, quick!