Do you know the point in the buyer’s journey that they read your content? Is it when the assistant hands her boss a stack of articles to help him prepare for a meeting? Has your content ever been used by your competitors?
Much content is not being used to enlist trust, brand recognition, gain followers and ultimately a sale. But we keep writing it and using every means at our disposal to distribute and track it, hoping that someone, at the appropriate point in the decision path, will use it and want to seek us out as a result.
A lot of hope, guesswork, and crossed fingers. But it can be a far more targeted, interactive experience that enables active decision making.
There has always been a struggle to bring buyers to the table. We’ve tried Sandler and Spin, Challenger and QBS. We’ve tried marketing automation, content marketing, and social marketing. But the problem remains an enigma: how do we get in? How do we get the attention we need? How can we convert?
We’re so busy explaining, pitching, writing about, introducing, presenting our solution that we’re not using the right thinking to help buyers or followers do what they need to do first: manage change and get the buy-in they need. Systems congruence and preservation will always come before a purchase, a relationship, or loyalty to an outsider.
We are outsiders. We aren’t there at the meetings. We have no idea what’s going on on the golf course. We aren’t helping assemble the full Buying Decision Team or help manage the political issues. We are pushing our ideas and solution data against their closed system, waiting for an opening but not facilitating one, doing our best to get in, get attention, change minds, influence, and sell solutions.
It is possible, however, to use content to facilitate the actual decision making process, help assemble the right people, and align the non-solution-based criteria of the Buying Decision Team/Stakeholders.
So decision facilitation is king. Content is a wonderful tool to use at the three points along the decision path where it’s needed. But it’s merely a tool.
It’s possible to make your content accessible to facilitate action and decisions and help you become invaluable relationship managers, and differentiate you from the competition. It’s also possible to design Facilitative Questions to help each of your buyer personas know the action they need to take to move closer to a purchase.
Sharon-Drew Morgen is the NYTimes Business Bestselling author of Selling with Integrity and 7 books how buyers buy. She is the developer of Buying Facilitation® a decision facilitation model used with sales to help buyers facilitate pre-sales buying decision issues. She is a sales visionary who coined the terms Helping Buyers Buy, Buy Cycle, Buying Decision Patterns, Buy Path in 1985, and has been working with sales/marketing for 30 years to influence buying decisions. More recently, Morgen is the author of What? Did you really say what I think I heard? in which she has coded how we can hear others without bias or misunderstanding, and why there is a gap between what’s said and what’s heard. She is a trainer, consultant, speaker, and inventor, interested in integrity in all business communication. Her learning tools can be purchased: www.didihearyou.com. She can be reached at sharondrew@sharondrewmorgen.