Becoming “Resource Full”

As buyer behavior continues to evolve and shoppers become more self-sufficient during their buying process, it’s important for marketing and sales organizations to align with and enable these changes.

First, consider your Web presence. Start with your corporate website and look at it through the eyes of a buyer in self-discovery mode. Does it just communicate product information liberally (sprinkled with clever marketing messages)? Or, does it contain value-added content that speaks to the drivers and issues that your target buyers care about? And no, I don’t mean content that’s directly and overtly related to your products. I’m referring to content that proves that you understand your target buyers and their challenges and that you genuinely want to help them in their everyday business.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Hold on a minute. We’re not an online magazine or a library. We have a product to sell!” Well, consider this for a moment: Over the past 20 to 30 years much has been written about increased commoditization and how the skillful, consultative salesperson differentiates by providing insight and guidance throughout the sales process. Keeping this in mind, consider what I mentioned before about the buyer wanting to be more self-sufficient. This independence often results in reduced opportunities for salespeople or marketers to provide insight, or it’s provided further into the buying process.

This self sufficiency presents both a danger and an opportunity. The danger being that one of your competitors may fill that void with value-added content and start to become a real asset to the buyer and capture their attention. The opportunity, on the other hand, is that you could become that asset. You can provide value-added content that attracts buyers when they’re in buying mode and keeps them coming back because they see you as a useful resource. In other words, your Web assets start to become destination sites rather than just online brochures.

Getting to a point where buyers and industry influencers see your Web assets as valuable resources requires time and resources. It’s not enough to just have a killer blog or a few decent whitepapers (although, that’s a start). You have to consider that people have become so used to having multiple options as to how they consume information that they have developed very strong biases. When their preferred option isn’t available, they may default to another. Instead of taking a chance on key buyers or influencers defaulting to less preferred mediums, make the same content available in multiple forms. For example, many people still read whitepapers and eBooks, whereas others like to digest insights more succinctly through blog posts. Then again, there are those who just want to watch short videos or follow your Twitter feed and look for attention-grabbing headlines.

What I am advising, in essence, is to develop a “resource library” strategy—one that leverages multimedia and becomes adept at slicing and dicing the same core content in various forms. This approach will elevate your organization in the eyes of buyers—moving beyond being perceived simply as a supplier to being an oasis of value-added insights and assets.  

Now that you’ve read this piece, go back and look at your Web presence and see if it’s “resource full.”

 

John Golden is author of Winning the Battle for Sales and Social Upheaval: How to Win @ Social Selling and chief strategy officer of CRM provider Piperlinersales.

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