Do you remember when we talked about how 2016 was going to be the year of content marketing? Well, more than a year has passed since we wrote the blog in question—and content marketing is still, undoubtedly, a key component to channel sales success.
And we don’t think this is changing anytime soon. Why is that?
For starters, buyers have changed and the customer now leads the sales process. Technology empowers the consumer, content is everywhere, and many consumers simply don’t trust traditional advertising and marketing techniques. These days, to sell in the channel, it’s critical to leverage marketing content that engages with your customers.
The right content can transform sales reps into teachers. They become sources of information, rather than someone who simply repeats a tagline. They become problem solvers who understand the challenges that their prospects face. They become coaches who are equipped to understand their prospects’ strengths and weaknesses—and encourage them to think differently. And by championing the right content, they become thought leaders.
Interested in revamping your channel sales content marketing strategy?
To sell in the channel, it’s important to remember that you’re no longer selling software; you're selling a solution to a pain point your end users have. How your marketing content reflects this is key. Here are three ways to boost sales with better marketing content.
1. Provide Access to the Right Content at the Right Time
Marketers spend hours creating content. But if the feet on the street don’t know how to find or use the content, it’s null. Marketing content must resonate with partner reps. Indirect sales reps need relevant, up-to-date material that drives results. They must know that content isn’t just something they attach to an email as a follow-up to a phone call.
Marketing content must be connected to the buyer’s journey. It must be leveraged across every stage in the sales cycle to cultivate relationships with prospects. Good content that’s used properly in an indirect sales channel will help you build brand potency. The best partners are those who are actively engaged with your brand to best serve their customers and prospects.
2. Guide Reps on How to Use Content to Sell More Effectively
Content marketing is not a set-and-forget thing. Because resellers are selling other products and services—sometimes from your competitors—it’s essential that they keep your solutions top of mind. Ask yourself:
“How are we making it easier for indirect reps to sell more of our products?”
Content that’s arranged into playbooks based on verticals, personas, lifecycle stages, and business outcomes takes some of the heavy lifting out the equation. Customized, co-branded content keeps partners up to speed on products and services and helps them reach customers effectively and efficiently.
3. Incentivize the Channel Sales Behaviors That You Know Drive Results
With direct sales teams, you have a certain degree of influence over your reps. You’re in their CRM pipeline and talking to them about their business. You’re able to ensure your reps are engaged with the right opportunities through the sales process. However, delivering indirect sales teams the right content takes a little more effort:
How do you coach someone who’s hundreds or thousands of miles away?
How do know they’re using the right content?
How do you ensure they’re following the tried-and-true sales playbook that you know produces results?
By incentivizing their behavior.
Instead of rewarding your indirect reps after the completion of a sale, try rewarding their behaviors that lead up to that sale. In other words, reward the behaviors that you know produce results.
Ultimately, sales enablement software is the glue that holds channel programs together—and that keeps your content marketing efforts aligned. These tools improve content interactions with collateral that’s rankable, shareable, and usable. For example, they empower partners to pin content to personalized dashboards and save and share articles. And they keep partners up to date in real time through content sharing.