“Thanks to the Internet, buyers now know as much – if not more – about a company’s products and services than the company’s salespeople.
“This is because sales people are taught to sell features. Buyers, on the other hand, want to know how a company’s products / services will solve their business problems. Sales people often don’t understand their prospects’ businesses, so you end up with a real disconnect.”
So posits Ardath Albee, author of the new book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale (McGraw Hill, 2009). And it’s this disconnect that’s made it marketing’s job to nurture prospects – via online content.
Content, says Ardath, has to address people’s concerns – it has to be an “anchor for conversations to happen.”
It’s developing the strategy behind this content that is the basis for Ardath’s book. “Prospect demographics are no longer enough,” says Ardath. “You have to know who your buyers are, their challenges, their likes, and their dislikes. You have to figure out how these people will find your company online when they have no idea you exist.”
Ardath’s book gives you a solid grounding in how to use online content to help these buyers find your company and then engage with you – from developing the content strategy (including personas) to creating “contagious content” that ultimately results in sales.
What I like about this book is that Ardath incorporates traditional marketing strategy with the new reality of marketing online. As she adroitly points out, the Internet has changed how we do business – not just because we’re all online searching for stuff, but because the Internet has put buyers in control of the sales process.
The book is filled with lots of practical advice on how to create the types of content that educates buyers as well as how to repurpose it (i.e. a blog post becomes a white paper that becomes a Webinar that becomes a series of Tweets). And, she explains how to tie your content marketing efforts back to the sales process using marketing automation tools.
Says Ardath, “I’m really enamored with marketing strategy, how to make it work and how to spread online content virally. I want to know how to get into buyers’ heads and what makes them choose the next step in the buying process.
“What it comes down to, quite frankly, is about adding value and not talking about your products. The companies who do that via content will be successful.”
You can purchase eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale at Amazon. You can learn more about Ardath – and see how she uses content to engage prospects – by reading her Marketing Interactions Blog, following her on Twitter (@ardath421), or connecting with her on LinkedIn.