Most sales professionals—and by most, I mean over 90% of sales professionals—have no idea of the impact that content truly has on shaping the buyer’s journey, driving net new leads into the funnel and shortening sales cycles.
For us at Sales for Life, content is second nature and we believe that everyone should understand its value. But I think it’s very important for you as a sales professional to understand the raw facts. In this blog post, I’ll share some statistics from Sales for Life, which will enable you to see the value of content universally at other companies.
You may think that buyers are consuming content that you wrote last week, and that your content has an extremely short life cycle. But in fact, at Sales for Life, 60% of our content that is being consumed socially is not content that was created last week—it’s the content that was created last year, or two or three years ago.
This is known as Evergreen Content. What you’re doing today is helping to lay a foundation for buyers to find this content several years down the road to shape that future journey.
The Buyer’s Journey is Happening Without You
At Sales for Life, the average consumer will consume 7.4 pieces of content before they’re willing to make a purchase decision. So while you, or the inside sales team may have shared one piece of content, that has only answered one of the 7, 10, or 20 questions buyers may have throughout the lifecycle of their journey. They have so much due diligence they need to do that one piece of content isn’t enough.
In our business, 43% of all content by a buyer is consumed before a buyer picks up a phone or we’ve made a human touch point with them. The book The Challenger Sale by CEB says that number is much higher, at 57%! Half of a buyer’s journey is happening without you. For example, if you’re thinking about buying a car, if half of your entire decision was made before you met a sales professional, think of where the transfer of the power now is based on how much content has been consumed in advance.
But this presents a great opportunity for sales professionals. You have the opportunity to shape the buyer’s journey through providing content. Your content should answer as many questions as possible that potential buyers may have. Take a look at the resource library at Sales for Life, we try to answer both awareness and consideration stage questions so we can engage with potential buyers before they pick up the phone.
Adding Value Through Content
For two years, we polled sales reps, and asked them where they believe they add value. They would always say they add value when they get in front of a customer to do a product demo. But at Sales for Life, 75% of all content consumed by a buyer will be consumed before we do our first demo. If ¾ of the buying journey is already being done before that demo, really just the demo and a few customer success stories are the only things left to validate our solution when we meet with a customer. By the time a buyer gets to the demo stage, it’s down to brass tacks. All they care about is how the product works, and how much it costs.
To add value, as a sales professional, you’re going to read a lot of content around creating your own personal brand. But what you need is the raw data on making the difference between making quota and not making quota next year.
The facts I’ve provided here are important for you to understand that the inbound lead machine and re-engaging the dead zone accounts happens with content. It’s content that pushes a buyer off the status quo.
Take a look at this recorded session which discusses how you can drive more relevant conversations with buyers.