I had an interesting conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn with Sander Biehn (@sanderbiehn), who is an an evangelist for Social Selling at AT&T. The conversation was prompted by an article on the importance of creating good corporate content that I had tweeted.
During our discussion, I mentioned my sales approach during my earlier career as a salesperson and sales manager, and belatedly realized that there is nothing new about a content focus for B2B Sales! When I was selling bonds and fixed income derivatives and later online platforms and services for derivatives trading I used content to sell for me.
I was not a sales “natural” - charismatic and extroverted. Early in my sales career I wrote an official weekly newsletter. When I changed companies I personally wrote a weekly newsletter and distributed it to thought leaders and potential clients in the industry. It was a pre-Web 2.0 world: the newsletter was first mailed, then faxed and then emailed to my targets. The newsletter helped me secure speaking roles at key conferences and insured that few sales calls were really “cold.” Content made me competitive with people who were far better at working cocktail parties!
Content continues to be a winning B2B sales strategy. Social Media is a two edged sword: it is easier to distribute content to your target audience; but it is so easy that even less determined competitors will be sending out content!