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Why this Executive Traded Old-Fashioned Sales for A Content Strategy
January 26, 2015
As a 25-year sales professional, I have become leery of reps looking to join our sales team, regardless of their personality or diligence in reaching us for an interview.
As I meet the candidates, I can’t help but question whether they will truly invest what it takes to learn about what we do, what our clients do and elevate opportunities into successes. Truthfully, there is no precise formula, and in most cases, they won’t!
I have discovered we can find friendly people, happy to follow up on leads that call for a quote, find us on the web or make other direct inquiries. So, all we have to do is: make that phone ring. Easy, right?
Cushing has been forced to make changes in the last four years, doing just about everything differently than we have in the past.
We have targeted different markets, obtained new prospect lists, updated offerings with existing equipment, created new offerings with new equipment, modified our brand image, purchased software (spending to cut costs!), scaled pricing, while trying to keep every single lead warm and EVERY client happy, no matter the size.
With that, we recently refreshed our website (www.cushingco.com) changing it completely and moving to WordPress, a content management system, because our marketing team spends hours updating pages, managing our content and optimizing it for SEO.
If you don’t know what SEO is, here’s a start.
At a Crossroads
Another tool we have made better use of is information: specifically, data gathered through cross media marketing promotions like email blasts or our newsletter, helping us strategically determine our next moves.
EXAMPLE Not all clients are poised to make a buying decision today. In fact they might be two years away but you made a good impression and you need to keep in touch. Ask for permission to send your newsletter and keep an eye on what they read. This activity tracking provides you with loose content, staying in touch, and, the chance to find additional information about the client.
Identifying what articles or statistics they click on, obtaining quick response on what trade shows they attend, charity events they support or other brief inquiries help determine the better time to call and ask for a meeting.
This interactive process is one interpretation of the term cross media marketing, and if done right, can streamline the marketing vs. sales cycle efficiently and effectively.
Taking two to three signals from cross media tools, you can pick the right time to mail a copy of an article and pick up the phone to begin the business development cycle, with more information than you had prior.
Our marketing plan is now built around content, intelligent data, and making ourselves known through philanthropy and industry-wide associations. Our Marketing department keeps all of our employees involved in building content and seeks the marketing professionals of our clients and suppliers to link articles to make sure our outreach is effective.
A constant effort, we learn more with each trial we run, and lo and behold . . . the phone rings, every day.
Now, we actively recruit happy, multi-tasking customer service people. And maybe, one of them might turn out to be a true sales person, but I’m not holding my breath!