Content is most successful when it is information-rich, authentic and buyer-centric. By definition, this demands the input of your in-house talent who service your clients day in and day out, i.e. the actual professionals who deliver the services you (hope to) sell. There is no one better qualified to understand your prospects’ biggest challenges, issues and pain points or to answer their questions.
The problem with this? Clients and client work always comes first, which means developing and sharing lead-generating content is invariably positioned at the bottom of your employees’ ‘to do’ lists. Time, or rather the lack thereof, becomes content’s number one enemy, as your team focuses on serving the clients it already has.
But what if we turned this notion on its head? If you, like many people, believe that your existing clients are your best (and most efficient) prospects for new business, then wouldn’t it make sense to find new and valued ways to satisfy and serve them better, such as through content?
Different means to the same end
If you reframe the value that can be derived from content in terms of the spend it can generate from existing clients versus raw prospects alone, you can change the way in which content is viewed within your organisation and the level of importance assigned to it.
If your employees understand that one of the main reasons for using content is to better satisfy their existing client pool (by serving them better through the active sharing of knowledge and ideas), then the priority they assign to content development will rise accordingly. While your aim as a partner or business owner may be to use content to attract more work, your employee’s aim may be to simply serve his/her client’s needs. However, despite your ‘different’ objectives, you both achieve the same outcome: increased share of wallet and overall client spend.
By repositioning content in your employees’ minds in this way, you help make content development an integral part of what it means to work ‘in’ and not just ‘on’ the business. This is an important point, because it will change how your employees view their responsibilities regarding content.
Speak your employees’ language (not yours)
To generate the greatest ROI from your content, you need to harness the knowledge and expertise of your in-house talent, but these individuals are not (nor see themselves) as the traditional sellers in your business. They are lawyers, accountants, engineers, consultants and so on. Since they sit outside your sales and marketing departments, you need to talk to them about content in a language they will understand, engage with, believe in and commit to.
Educate them about the role content can play in maintaining and building their client relationships and improving their service levels (to which their KPIs, bonuses and other incentives are directly linked), instead of overwhelming them with foreign marketing-speak. This will help change their mindset about what it means to service their clients in the digital era and will make content a priority on their ‘to do’ list.
A softly, softly approach to the soft-sell
The by-product of this entire learning curve is that your professionals will begin to ‘sell’ without even realising they are doing so. And there is no more authentic way to sell than by simply doing your job well and serving your clients’ needs.
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This post was contributed by Candice O’Sullivan, Director and Head of Strategy at Wellmark. You can find Candice on Google+ at +Candice O’Sullivan or follow her tweets on brand strategy, content marketing and related topics @candicepill.