The Keys to Effective Dynamics Content Marketing? Speedy Followup, Right Sales Expectations

Ever more ISVs are using content--white papers, case studies, and articles--to helps sell their products. The process is sometimes referred to as" content syndication." But while content syndication can be a very powerful tool, it's not a simple or slam-dunk marketing technique. A recent article on content syndication by a marketing consultant very aptly highlighted a few of the challenges associated with content syndication.

The article, by Howard J. Sewell, concludes that, "In today’s economic climate, content syndication is one of the lowest risk lead-generation vehicles there is." He notes they can be tailored according to product, geography, and other demographic factors.

But sometimes, sales executives express frustration that the leads aren't as hot or easy to close as the executives may have been led to believe. What is the disconnect about?

Sewell identifies two of the most common problems he encounters. One big problem Sewell sees is a failure to follow up in a timely way, which is especially important with content-generated prospects who are actively researching a particular topic and thus in a hurry for solutions.

Sewell recommends immediately emailing prospects, and then following up via a phone call. "If you don’’ll have a very difficult time converting content syndication leads to qualified or 'accepted' status at any kind of significant rate. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen too often: the rep calls the prospect days later and either that prospect is unavailable after multiple attempts, or perhaps doesn’t even remember downloading the content."

Sewell notes that many content syndication systems compile names for distribution on a weekly basis, which he says may be too slow for successful conversion. Real-time alerts about reader download activity should be a standard capability of a content syndication/lead generation engine, and a quick and appropriate response can have a big impact in converting new prospects.

The second big problem has to do with sales force "expectations." As he explains it, "It’s important to recognize that content syndication leads are not like most sales leads. When someone registers to download a white paper or podcast or case study about the business challenge that your product solves, he or she is expressing an interest in that topic, not necessarily in your product. (That individual may well be a great candidate for your product, it’s just that he/she doesn’t know it yet.)"

The best way to counter this problem? In following up with readers of content, sales people should say they are following up about the prospect's interest in the topic, not the company. That avoids confusion, and possible embarrassment of the prospect.

As Sewell points out, this is a hugely important topic. "At a time when potential buyers for your product are few and far between, content syndication can be a highly effective complement to lead generation vehicles like search, by ensuring that your company is engaging with prospects actively researching answers to the problems your product can solve."

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