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  • Writer's pictureBrian Shea

"Are You Making These Content Mistakes? How B2B Sellers Can Become More Insightful"

You've probably heard B2B sellers complain that the content provided by marketing doesn't work. If you haven't heard this common complaint, you're likely not listening. This gap is created by sellers being instructed to "use content to provide insights". But most B2B salespeople lack the skill to match the right content to their buyers.

According to Corporate Visions, 81 percent of companies say they are selling with insights, and the challenge is most go-to-market organizations don't understand that "an insight sales process has been roundly embraced as a key element of provocative selling. In other words, insight sales, rigorously developed or not, has saturated the market."

What signals can go-to-market leaders look out for? First, recognize that any current prospecting skill gap may be driven by sellers general lack of an understanding of prospects needs and providing content that doesn't resonate or address the prospects specific needs. Other sellers may be embracing their "favorite content" as their "go to" content, but this practice is often just a sellers' security blanket. Some sellers who place an overemphasis on product features fail to adapt content to different buyers personas or industries, instead choosing to highlight the capability of their offerings. And watch out for sellers who are on performance improvement plans. They likely feel the pressure to close quickly and rush through properly assessing and tailoring their approach. They often use whatever content is easily available, and their coaching plan likely says "use content with buyers".

With buyers being so far out ahead of most sellers, B2B teams must break the cycle of "true but useless" information and take a more edgy, counterintuitive approach to insight selling, supported by original, research-based rigor.

Step 1 - recognize that not all insights are created equal. Corporate Visions defines the four main types of insights used by salespeople:

  1. Anecdotal – Content created in-house that focuses on more tactical, day-to-day issues like best practices or lessons learned.

  2. Authoritative ­– Content incorporating the work of respected third parties like industry analysts.

  3. Current – Content centered on original, company-generated research and surveys.

  4. Visionary – Content that leverages in-house expertise but looks to the future of the industry and defines what’s next.

Step 2 - Deliver visionary insights when selling. To be truly visionary, your insight selling messages and content must be:

  • Original – Carry out primary research or market surveys to uncover market-related data that will resonate with your buyers.

  • Exclusive – Generate data points that are unique to you and that you can use as the foundation for developing counterintuitive insights about emerging trends in your market.

  • Forward-looking – Develop a content-driven narrative on both sides of the lead handoff that asserts a distinct point of view to your buyer

Step 3- understand when should you share your insights in the sales process

  • Depending on what type of sales conversation you’re having, it’s important to understand not only what kind of insights to share, but also when to deliver them to have the most impact during the sales process.

    • For example, there’s a 180 degree difference between what motivates prospects versus your existing customers to buy. And our research shows that timing your insights correctly can make a marked difference in your chances at winning those conversations.

  • In a customer acquisition conversation, the most influential insights tell your prospects something they don’t already know about an unrealized problem or missed opportunity that’s holding them back from their business goals. This technique is called messaging to a prospect’s “Unconsidered Needs.”

  • In a customer expansion conversation, any insights you share should introduce “hard truths” about why they need to evolve their situation, but only after you reinforce your value as their established vendor.

And finally, your team will need to learn how to deliver insights through insights-based messages through story telling that will promote behavior changes with you buyers.

Insight selling, when done well, is a powerful technique that can help sellers build credibility and trust with buyers. While many sellers claim to be doing it, few are truly doing it well.

Developing insights that are considered visionary and then delivering them in a way that compels your buyer to act, establishes credibility, and builds trust with your buyers. Ultimately, doing this well will set you apart from your competition and persuade your buyers to choose you.

Building messaging mastery is hard. We can help.


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