Bernie Borges's credentials are endless.
For starters, he's the co-founder and CMO of Vengreso, a digital sales transformation company and host of the award-winning Social Business Engine podcast that now has over 200 published episodes. His career spans over three decades.
Bernie frequently speaks at industry events due to his unique and extensive background in B2B marketing and sales roles.
He's also the author of Marketing 2.0 and is recognized by many industry peers, including Marketing Insider's 60 Best Marketing Speakers, 50 Best Social Media Marketing Influencers, and Top 100 AI Influencers by Onalytica.
Today, Bernie sat down with Chris and Rick to talk about why content is so important for engaging buyers. Here's what he had to say.
What Is Content Marketing for Sales?In the general context, Bernie explains that content marketing is something a team produces for many people to consume -- like a podcast or blog. The purpose is to create company awareness, credibility, and lead generation at the top of the funnel.
Content for sales is much different.
For sales, content should take a one-to-one approach. A salesperson should utilize a piece of content to connect with a prospect. From there, the salesperson can leverage the value of the content to help the prospect in a specific way.
The goal, in this case, is to initiate or continue a sales conversion rather than build brand awareness.
The Merger of Marketing and SalesBernie points out that 82% of B2B buyers consume between five and eight pieces of content before making a purchase -- not from different vendors but from the one they select.
To top it off, a staggering 75% of B2B buyers say that vendor content has a significant impact on making their final decision.
At this point in the game, where do you draw the line between sales and marketing?
Bernie says it varies on a case-by-case basis, but that's exactly why sales and marketing must collaborate to share useful content with the buyer. This is key to influencing their line of thinking in the buying journey.
Choosing the Right ContentBernie recognizes that there isn't one right answer. He says it really depends on where your buyer is in the sales funnel.
- Awareness Phase: Create content focusing on "why" prospects should be considering a specific pain point or concept.
- Consideration Phase: Develop content focusing on "how" potential buyers can solve a specific problem (that's where you come in).
- Decision Phase: Create content that dives deep into data and statistics to provide ammunition and help prospects sleep at night knowing they're making the right decision.
As Bernie puts it, content is like clothing: One-size-fits-all doesn't work. You need to select the best size for the right results.
Buying is still a person-to-person action that involves some degree of emotion -- even during multimillion-dollar transactions.
How to Get Started with ContentBernie can't stress enough how important it is for sales and marketing to collaborate with one another. He suggests thinking of content as a form of sales enablement rather than marketing alone.
That attitude really helps change your mindset about both marketing and sales individually, so you can create and curate content that's most helpful to prospects.
Speaking of content curation, Bernie recommends finding authoritative third-party content from research organizations, news outlets licensed under Creative Commons, or even public domain.
Just because something is public domain or already out there somewhere doesn't mean your prospects have already seen it.
Case studies, ROI calculators, research reports--arm your salespeople with content they can use. From there, salespeople can decide when to use specific pieces of content to maximize effectiveness.
Don't forget to get creative. Take risks and think out of the box. This will help you stand out from competitors. Approach B2B with a kooky B2C strategy and always remember that you're selling to people.
Don't Give It All AwayBernie has seen significant success with what he calls "vaulted content."
The idea is to produce content that's kept behind some kind of gate and only accessible to your sales team. They can selectively reach for this content as they engage with prospects. (Along with special training and guidance, of course.)
This gives the sales team some control over choosing content itself and deciding when to use it properly.
The Most Common Mistakes in Sales ContentBernie says too many businesses have the wrong mindset: They don't view content as sales enablement.
This is a huge mistake because when marketing and sales collaborate, they are much more likely to change their behavior which is ultimately what helps the buyer make a sound decision.
He also says that salespeople tend to overlook the intense pressure faced by B2B buyers. In many cases, the B2B buyer could lose their job or cost their company several million dollars by making a poor choice.
Once your sales and marketing teams understand this intense pressure, they can create content that truly helps the B2B buyer. Plus, it helps your teams understand that B2B buyers are just people, and this fosters connection on a personal level.
Develop something meaningful that goes beyond just business talk -- make a human connection.
A lot of salespeople believe they don't have time to create content when they could be making phone calls. Bernie says that's a lot like watching a movie on VHS. Sure, you could do that -- but why would you when there are other--more efficient--methods?
The modern buyer needs a modern seller. That's where content comes in.
Create Something ValuableRemember: What's valuable to one prospect isn't valuable to another.
Bernie points out that 59% of executives would rather watch a video than read. If it's remarkable, they'll send it down the chain to different roles. That's why it's so important to create different types of content for different people at various buying stages.
By creating something valuable that hits people on an emotional level, you can break through the clutter, build trust, and, ultimately, close more sales.