Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that right now is a tough time to break through to prospects. Buyers are less inclined to make purchases amid the uncertain economy, their teams have been streamlined, and they’re being forced to work with tight budgets. But instead of seeing this as all negative, isn’t this really when buyers need your help the most? I believe it is.
The best way to help them is by understanding them. If you learn how buyers are operating today and, as a result, what your sales teams are facing, you can break through. Here’s a little more about what these groups are experiencing and how you can build content experiences with this in mind.
What are sales teams facing today?
In previous years, buyers made purchases in a somewhat sequential order. They might buy and implement Marketo, then entertain the idea of buying and implementing Demandbase once Marketo is up and running. Today, buying habits are different. Since budgets are being squeezed, your buyers not only have fewer dollars to work with, but they’re also being very particular about where that money goes. There isn’t a list of “to-buy items” versus “what do we need now.”
So, what solutions do they prioritize? The ones that can solve their most pressing problems. This shift dramatically changes what your sales teams need to focus on. Now is the time to get back to basics, clearly articulate your value proposition and present solution-first messaging above all else. Your audience needs to know you understand the urgent challenges they’re facing and that you can provide a tangible way to help them through.
Rethink your content strategy
Based on the current climate and buyers’ needs, the content strategies of a year or two ago aren’t going to cut it. You don’t need volume and keyword-heavy pieces; you need content that is useful and engaging. One piece of highly relevant content that draws a buyer in and teaches them something valuable is worth the weight of 40 others that were churned out simply because someone said to do so.
Revamp your strategy to be about engaging your audience with your content until they’re ready to have a conversation. Make sure the pieces you’re creating resonate with their most urgent problems and will be seen as a worthwhile resource. Also, think through which stage of the journey your buyers become stuck. Is it at the top? Middle? Bottom?
Review your data to figure this out, rather than making assumptions. If the data tells you that your sales opportunities are primarily stalling in the consideration phase, determine what obstacles buyers are facing at that point, and then build content around it. By doing so, you’ll build trust, which is the first and most important part of a strong customer relationship.
Change up content messaging and delivery
As you revise your content strategy, pay special attention to how you’re phrasing your email messages. For example, if you’re using a solution like Salesloft, work something like “Here’s some valuable content I think you’ll enjoy” into the cadence instead of the typical “Come do a demo” language. This shows that you care about the buyer’s current situation and understand the problem, rather than being seen as simply trying to push your product.
If you had just been on a couple of dates with someone, you wouldn’t go straight to saying, “Come live with me.” Similarly, your buyers need to first trust you and find value in what you provide — only then will they want to explore taking bigger steps.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to sales, content messaging or content experiences. Since the economic and business landscape can so vastly change from one year to the next, organizations need to shift their approach to fulfill buyers’ needs and preferences. Marketers can help break through today by shifting their messaging — and how they deliver content — to meet buyers where they are.