We’ve all heard the term sales quotas.
According to BusinessDirectory.com, a sales quota is an “individual sales target figure assigned to each sales unit such a sales person, dealer, distributor, region, or territory, as a required minimum for a specified period (month, quarter, year). Sales quotas may be expressed either in dollar figures (monetary terms) or in number of goods or services sold (volume terms).”
Recently, Marcus Sheridan, whom I call the Face of Content Marketing, has been using the term content quota. This does not refer to the amount of content placed on a website on a set schedule by those in charge of the site and preparing content. Instead, it suggests that salespeople, realizing the value and power of content marketing, will want to prepare credible, quality, informative articles to help boost their own sales figures on a regular basis.
“The essence of this strategy,” writes Joe Pulizzi, the author of Epic Content Marketing, “is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.” And when you think about it, who better to do this than the people who are out marketing these products day after day? Invariably, they know the products they market better than anyone else.
When salespeople become regular content providers, they shift from selling to teaching. Teaching their customers techniques, procedures, services, and products that can help them operate their business and facilities in a more effective, cost effective, and efficient manner can be very powerful. The salesperson has now become a guide, an instructor, a teacher. This helps build trust and loyalty, helping to make the salesperson a partner in his or her customer’s business.
Further, according to sources such as Hubspot, a leading inbound marketing firm, such content does lead directly to sales:
• 61 percent of Internet users research products online before making a buying decision.
• Buyers go through about 57 percent of the purchasing process before ever talking to the sales department.
• Website conversion rate is nearly six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters. (The conversion rate refers to converting a prospect into a customer.)
• Brands relying on inbound marketing save more than $14 for every new customer acquired.
• Inbound marketing delivers 54 percent more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound marketing.
• Nurtured leads (customers cultivated as a result of reading quality content) make 47 percent larger (costlier) purchases than non-nurtured leads.
• Organic search leads have a 14.6 percent close rate, while outbound marketing leads (traditional sales techniques) have a 1.7 percent close rate.
So what does this tell us?
Unlike most advocates, I believe some forms of traditional marketing will always be effective and part of the sales process. However, the Internet has opened new marketing opportunities that should not be underestimated. Quality content marketing, even if it requires content quotas, can lead to sales.