After successfully scaring one of our clients with several hyperbolic claims, I was asked to speak to a salesman regarding a CRM software that would allegedly solve every single one of my our client’s issues, from Facebook likes to lead generation. The call wasnt so much a disaster but a great example of how content marketing can be more effective than the usual powerpoint torture.
On the phone, I got immediately rolled into the usual high-pace sales pitch – build credibility extremely fast “we’ve got over 600 employees, generated XXX in revenue, and have just been bought in the 3rd largest acquisition in Silicon Valley history”, followed by the product pitch. That’s where things got weird. I tried to stop the flurry of fancy-but-meaningless claims such as “we can increase your revenue by X%” and “we’ve got direct connections with Google and Facebook, and over 90 sites, and can get your site featured immediately”.
Direct Link To Google And Facebook, You Say?
As I was asking obvious questions, like “How exactly do you post content on Google?” and “what do you mean by featured?”, the salesman not only refused to answer, but kept trying to push me into a 45-minute sales presentation. I politely refused the first time, then just refused the second time, but to his claim of “I can only answer your questions after our presentation”, I rudely refused.
No, You Cannot Research Our Company On Your Own
My solution to this simple dilemma was to ask for a recorded demo, or any sort of material he could link me to so I could research his claims on my own. Blasphemy. They NEVER recorded any sales presentations, or webinars, or videos of any kind. That was the end of the phone call.
And the worst part was not finding an immense amount of content and an extensive Youtube channel, but finding that their software was actually REALLY good, and I was happy to recommend it to the client.
Teach A Prospect To Fish
The simple demo videos I found on this company’s Youtube channel were shot with an amateur camera, and had no professional editing done whatsoever, but answered all of my questions. Some additional Googling revealed honest testimonials and even some sincere concerns, which made the entire project much more real to me as I imagined the benefits it’d bring our client.
I was selling myself, without having to sit through a dreadful sales presentation. That’s what content marketing does. It teaches your prospect how to fish, by giving her the tools to arrive at the conclusion that she does need to buy YOUR bait.
Not For Everybody, Clearly
There are cases when you’re talking to a small business owner and she barely understands how to update her Facebook fan page. While some will, most users wont master your software on their own by watching Youtube videos. But they’ll learn enough to build confidence on your solution. By reading your insights on a blog post, or by reading other users’ positive comments on your fan page, she will convince herself that she needs to listen to your sales presentation.
With that level of confidence, you’re no longer a salesman shoving Powerpoint bullets down her throat, you’re a teacher; your presentation will explain exactly how the solution fits her enterprise.
If there was ever a reason to invest in content marketing, just think about how much more efficient the sales process would be if your prospects already knew enough to cut the dreadful presentation from 45 to 10 minutes?