Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a MIT Enterprise Forum of Atlanta event that featured a panel of experts discussing how automation is driving sales, growth and strategy. While the evening featured a bevy of great information, what really got my attention was a comment made by Salesfusion’s CEO, Carol O’Kelley.
According to Carol, the secret to lead generation strategies is remembering that, as marketers, we should be marketing to prospects and not selling. You might be asking yourself what the difference is between these approaches and it ultimately comes down to answering one key question for your prospects.
How can I make them look smarter at work?
As marketers, far too often we’re focused on fast tracking prospects into the sales cycle as opposed to empowering them with the information they need to be successful in their purchase. This is to say, we place far too much weight on creating sales offers to pull in prospects that are ready to buy today as opposed to providing the knowledge needed to move more top of funnel prospects into a buying position.
And remember, the key to thought leadership is…
Inform, not sell
We need to explore creating pieces that expand beyond our services and offerings, because these are the very items that show prospects that we want them to succeed, as opposed to just buying our product. Such practices go a long way in building credibility with prospects, who will remember our insights when they’re ready to buy more than the other companies that consistently tried to sell to them.
What specific items can help create thought leadership? In my experience, I’ve seen success in creating pieces around larger prospect themes, including:
- Industry trends: What big trends are you seeing in a particular vertical market from a perspective that pertains to your industry? Consider creating a survey to better understand and inform your prospects of these trends.
- Common mistakes: What common mistakes are being made by users in your industry? How can they avoid these? An infographic or eBook are great pieces to promote this information.
- Evaluation criteria: What items should prospects look for when evaluating offerings similar to yours? Create a series of informational blogs or a detailed white paper to present your knowledge on this topic.
- Best practices: What best practices have you personally experienced or seen in action? Consider looking into a tip sheet or an infographic to present this information.
We need to remember that, as marketers, we have the opportunity to guide prospects through the buyer’s journey. So let’s rework our approach to this process by informing and empowering prospects rather than selling to them time and again.
Let’s leave the selling to the sales team and focus on what we do best: marketing.