Content marketing is a sales conversation

Listen and subscribe on: iTunes | Stitcher | Buzzsprout | Spotify


We have a problem. When I speak at events and to people all over the world about content marketing, they do not understand how important marketing is in the buying decision process. They don’t understand how important content marketing is for sales, and therefore they don’t invest enough resource into marketing.

We need to change our perspective. I want you to see content marketing as a sales conversation.

In this episode I lay out the case for content marketing and sales to work together, and share with your some clear examples that prove how content marketing truly is a sales conversation.

Enjoy and DFTBA!



What’s the problem?

  • Not understanding how important marketing is in the buying decision process (ZMOT)
  • Not understanding how important marketing is for sales, and therefore…
  • Not investing enough resource into marketing.

In order to change your perspective, I want you to start seeing content marketing as a sales conversation:

  • Yes, we can have content marketers and sales people working together, to the same end – to increase sales and increase the quality of our customers
  • Yes, we can consider that content marketing resource is part of the sales budget…since content marketing impacts a large portion of the actual sales process, we have to think differently about where the budget for content marketing comes from.
  • Yes, we can prove that content marketing leads to sales, and that content marketers influence sales and add to the top and bottom line of a company; increasing revenue and profits.

Content marketing should be a sales conversation, and content marketing needs to be treated with much more importance and priority in companies all over the world.

Why is this the case, you might be asking yourself?

Let’s start somewhere logical.

We’ve talked about this before on the show, so I’ll keep it short. If you want more you can go back to the previous episodes, which I’ve added to the show notes for you.

The Zero Moment of Truth research from Google tells us that on average, 70% of the buying decision is made online before a prospect contacts a business for the first time.

On average, 70% of the buying decision that someone makes, is made online before they contact a business for the first time.

Google has all the data about how we search for, find and use information to make a buying decision. So we have to listen to this…it’s called the zero moment of truth.

In your industry the number might be a little higher or a little lower, but the principle remains. We are officially in the era of the research obsessed consumer.

This means that your prospects are completing a lot of their decision making process online (using content marketing) before they contact your company for the first time. Meaning that your marketing is (or should be) doing a lot of the work to help your prospects to make an educated buying decision, and feel confident when contacting your company for the first time.

On average 70% of the buying decision is made online before a prospect contacts a business for the first time.

If you think back to 15 years ago, do you think the number was higher or lower than 70% – it was most definitely lower. And if you think about the future. In the next 3-5 years, do you think the number is going to go up, or go down?

You’re a consumer, I’m a consumer. We buy things every day. Why do we do our research before we buy?

We want to feel:

  • Knowledgeable/educated
  • Know if we’re getting a good deal
  • In control

We don’t want to:

  • Be sold to
  • Ripped off
  • Make a bad buying decision
  • We want to make an educated and confident buying decision.

And a big part of the job that content marketing does is to close this gap by creating content that your prospects will be searching for when they have never heard of you before, to help them with answers to their questions and solutions to their problems when they are in this buying process.

If you can close this gap you will attract customers that you would never have had the chance of getting before, generating revenue that wasn’t possible before. Also consider the quality of the customer – if they come to you more educated, and more confident – do you think this leads to a higher or lower quality of customers.

They will be more likely to spend more, return more often and tell others about you. Content marketing leads to better customers.

So, it should be quite clear at this stage how content marketing has a big influence over the sales process, and therefore we cannot ignore this anymore.

A few question to get you thinking:

  • Are you making it easy for your prospects to find you when they’ve never heard of you before?
  • Are you creating the right content that helps your customers to make and educated buying decision?
  • Are you doing everything you can to help your prospects and customers feel confident about buying the thing you offer?

Let’s bring this to life…

Cara is the Managing Director of Gillies and Mackay. I’m sure you’ve heard of Cara before, but just in case, Cara is also my partner in life and Mum to Luna, our baby girl. She is the most beautiful woman in the world, building the best sheds in the world.

Gillies and Mackay is a family run business – Cara’s dad John and Uncle Grant started the company almost 30 years ago! A great company, with a great product and a great story, and now, 3 years on, some great content marketing that’s working exactly as you would hope it to.

Steven was recently in the market for a bespoke photography studio – this can cost somewhere around £30 thousand pounds. Now, Steven did know about Cara and Gillies and Mackay, but before he approached Cara, he did a lot of his research online. In fact, he used the Gilles and Mackay content that Cara has created to answer all of his questions and navigate the industry – essentially Cara’s content was his ‘wikipedia’.

What happened next was astonishing – he contacted Cara and sent her a 4-page .pdf of all the specs for his bespoke cabin studio. He placed his order and paid his deposit with Gillies and Mackay.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that he actually met Cara in person.

Now, think about this: How much ‘selling’ has Cara done? None, that’s right. Steven sold it to himself. He used Cara’s content to educate himself, which led to confidence and trust in the brand. He did it all himself, and didn’t take up any time from the company. Steven is is a great example of the kind of customers we want, isn’t he?

This is just one of dozens of examples from Cara’s customers, and 90% of the traffic to G&M website is organic, and Cara doesn’t pay for any advertising, or pay for any traditional advertising. This is all from content marketing.

Over the years this has resulted in an increase in revenue year on year from content marketing, and now into year three we are starting to see a signifiant increase in profits. This is mainly due to attracting a higher quality of customer, that’s spending more with G&M.

This applies to B2C companies, B2B companies, services, products, large and small companies.

As a marketers, sales person, business owners and Managing Director’s like Cara, what you need to concern yourself with is – how do our customers make a buying decision, and how could content marketing help us to make the buying process smoother, faster, easier and help our potential customers to be more educated, leading to trust in our brand?

I’d like to leave you with one final example…

Debbie is the in-house marketer at Eagle Leisure. Eagle Leisure sell, fit, and repair hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms and pools.

18 months ago Debbie found herself in a frustrating position – she thought she was doing content marketing, but she couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t driving the results she expected. She was starting to doubt it would work, and a s a result, leadership felt the same. I met Debbie for the first time at a workshop we were hosting with Marcus Sheridan back in 2017.

18 Months or so on at the time of recording this episode, things have changed dramatically for Debbie.

We recognised Debbie for her great work at CMA Live in 2018 – mainly because –
not only is video a core part of her marketing, but she also integrates video into her blogs, emails and her sales process as a whole…very smart!

We’ve witnessed big changes over the past 12 months with her digital marketing, with continual website improvements, the introduction of email marketing and an increase in quality of video and written content.

Here are a few short examples of Debbie’s customers that I’d like to share with you to showcase the impact…

Story 1

One customer was about to buy a hot tub from a competitor who sell “The world’s only self-cleaning hot tubs” – which doesn’t truly exists. She googled self-cleaning hot tubs to find out more about them and found Debbie’s blog and video. She bought a hot tub from them on the first visit to the showroom, which was valued at £7k.

Story 2

Another good example is an interior designer who phoned the store after finding this video online. She wanted to come in and see that they were as “awesome and knowledgeable in real life as we were in videos/blogs”. She put a deposit down on the day for a hot tub and, at the time of writing, was finalising a sauna quote. This order was valued at approximately £24k. The sauna cost video was just under a year old when she found it.

Story 3

A separate interior designer found Eagle Leisure last year through this video. She phoned as she wanted a custom build and already knew approximate cost from the content. Eagle Leisure sent the quote and confirmed the order over the phone a few days later after a site visit. She never even came into the showroom. This order was valued at approximately £16k.

So, what has happened here?

With content marketing, Debbie has:

  • Generated sales that would never have been possible before
  • Generated sales faster than they would have before
  • Created customers spending money they would have never before with Eagle Leisure.

How do you think Debbie feels about her role as a marketer in Eagle Leisure now? In 12-18 months Debbie went from feeling frustrated to feeling like she has a direct impact on the success of the company and is in a revenue generating role.

She now knows with 100% confidence that the content she creates for her company is having a direct impact on sales and revenue.

A few questions to ponder:

  • Does Debbie work in the marketing department or the sales department?
  • How do you think leadership feels about Debbie’s impact on the company?
  • How ‘bought in’ to content marketing do you think they are now that they can see a direct ROI?

Interesting, right?

Can you see what I see?

Can you see how content marketing is really a sales conversation?

Do you understand the impact content marketing has on the sales process, and why marketers and sales people must work together?

If so, what are you waiting for? Let’s change this for your company. Let’s change the narrative for your company. Let’s create the content that’s our responsibility to create to help our prospects to feel confident when making a buying decision.

Do you believe that it’s possible for you?

I hope so.

It’s been great sharing this with you, I hope you’ve taken something away from this episode. If you have any questions, thoughts or ideas you can email me or tweet me @chrismarr101.

Have a great day and DFTBA!