The 3 Key Steps to Optimize your Content Marketing Strategy with White Papers

content marketing strategy

You have in your possession a well-researched, highly-engaging white paper – now what? White papers have no innate benefit in your overall content marketing strategy if you do not promote and leverage them properly. When it comes to successfully using your white paper to generate leads and secure sales, there are three necessary steps you should follow:

Step 1: Create a Proper Landing Page

More often than not, a company’s white papers are deeply hidden within their website. To even reach the white paper, potential buyers are forced to navigate through several web pages. Once buyers find the proper white paper landing page, it is often lack-luster: failing to highlight the benefits and merits of downloading and reading the paper.

To maximize your content marketing strategy, it is important to place your white paper on its very own dedicated page. This landing page should inform the reader of the benefits gained from reading your white paper. Providing these benefits can assist in convincing potential buyers that downloading and reading your insights is worth their time and energy.

To write an impactful and effective white paper landing page, it is helpful to include the following elements:

  • Keywords – To draw traffic to your website, it is well-known that SEO optimization is key. This optimization starts by selecting the keyword of your company’s choice, and ensuring that it is included multiple times on your website’s various pages. Once you have selected your relevant keyword, a rough guide for your white paper landing page is to aim for a keyword density of between 2-7%.
  • Minimal text – The biggest bulk of text on your white paper landing page should be the introduction paragraph. This paragraph should include a catchy and grabbing headline to draw the reader in and a sentence or two of what your white paper is about.
  • Emphasize benefits – All other text on your landing page, excluding your introduction paragraph, should be bulleted. Bullets provide readers essential information in a quick, streamlined way. These bullets should focus on emphasizing the “what” of your white paper – what are the benefits of downloading and reading this paper? If you cannot convince visitors to your landing page that they will be better off having read your white paper, they will not bother to download it.

 

Step 2: Collect Information

When it comes to granting access to your white paper, you have two options: a direct link or gating your content with a form. The smartest option for boosting your content marketing strategy is to offer your white paper in exchange for personal information.

Asking your visitors for information allows you to generate valuable leads. By gathering the names and e-mail addresses of your visitors, you can more easily convince them to opt-into your marketing efforts – your future emails, newsletters, and blog posts. Gaining your visitors information and establishing a relationship with them through sharing your marketing content is more likely to lead to successfully incorporating them into your sales funnel.

It is tempting to ask those wishing to download your white paper for as much personal information as possible – resist the urge. By asking visitors for too much information up-front, you risk alienating them. First time visitors to your company’s website have no personal connection with your company, so they are not likely to want to spend too much time filling out forms.

To increase the likelihood of collecting visitor’s information and connecting with them in the future, keep it simple – ask for their name, company, and e-mail address.

 

Step 3: Post on Social Media

As of 2018, there are over 3 billion active social media users worldwide – that’s nearly 40% of the global population. With such a large, easily accessible pool of potential leads, you would be remiss to not include social media in your white paper’s content marketing strategy.

Social media marketing is vastly important in gaining visibility and driving traffic to your website. When it comes to white papers, 90% of marketers claim that white paper social media marketing has generated immense exposure for their company [i]. By posting engaging, informative content on social media, businesses are more likely to see click-throughs to their website. This increased visibility leads to greater leads generated and conversions – over 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media usage [ii].

The best approach to not only promote downloads of your white paper, but to attract attention to your business as a whole is through the adoption of social media into your content marketing strategy.

 

To learn more about how white papers can transform your content marketing strategy click here.

Teleprospecting Best Practices for Complex Solutions

For the most part, my experience has been in the design and implementation of Teleprospecting organizations for companies that sell complex technology solutions. During my years as a consultant and employee, I have developed a set of Best Practices that enable Teleprospecting teams to successfully drive Sales Funnel growth. Essentially, there are 6 Teleprospecting Best Practices that I have found to be the most effective:

  1. Marketing and Sales should be focused on the Sales Funnel. The Sales Funnel is King! Marketing and Sales should both be responsible for building a quality Sales Funnel. These two departments need to work together and agree on the lead qualification criteria and other key metrics that will ensure that a quality Sales Funnel is being built and is consistently growing. Both teams should be responsible for the quality of sales qualified leads (SQLs) since they are the source of a healthy Sales Funnel that produces revenue growth. Therefore, the implementation of a process for tracking the quality of SQLs is a key factor to the growth of the Sales Funnel.
  1. Hire experienced staff. In most cases, the Teleprospecting team is the first contact that prospects will have with your company. It is therefore counter-intuitive to put your most junior people on the front lines. They have neither the experience to navigate the complexities of a complex solution nor the ability to speak with Senior Level Executives. Furthermore, since Teleprospecting has been around for nearly 30 years, “Seniors” are readily available. Hire experienced people and you won’t regret it.
  1. Focus Teleprospectors on one solution. You can’t expect your teams, Juniors or Seniors, to be effective if they have to learn and sell multiple Complex Solutions.  From my experience, Teleprospectors are more successful when they are focused on qualifying for a specific solution. If your company sells multiple solutions, divvy out responsibilities and focus each person on a specific solution. This focus enables team members to become experts at qualifying for the specific solution and will result in better leads for your sales teams.
  1. Develop and implement Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), or metrics, to manage your team. Effective KPIs can include metrics such as:
  • Total Key Conversations with prospects who can move the sales process forward
  • Size of the Teleprospecting Funnel, which should be at least 3X your monthly SQL quota
  • Achievement of the monthly SQL quota

Effective KPIs are the metrics that directly impact your ability to meet your stated objectives. Total daily dials are important because dials lead to conversations. Key Conversations are more important than dials, because they help to generate the Teleprospectors’ Funnel growth. Know your KPIs and weigh them based on priority of importance (Key Conversations are more important than Dials). Once the KPIs are established, have the team build plans, outlining how they will achieve their assigned objectives.

  1. Develop a Teleprospecting Playbook. A Teleprospecting Playbook is a set of tools that Teleprospectors will use to guide them through the complexities of qualifying for prospect need and interest. The playbook should be written and assembled by people with sufficient knowledge, such as experts from Product Marketing, Marketing, and Sales. It will serve as a consistent source for your Teleprospectors to maintain professionalism while also increasing efficiency.
  1. Build compensation plans that drive desired behavior. Good compensation plans motivate Teleprospectors to excel at their jobs. The role of Teleprospecting is to generate leads that build the Sales Funnel. A good plan will compensate Teleprospectors for meeting a pre-established “approved” lead quota, as well as provide compensation for leads that go into the Sales Funnel. While Teleprospectors aren’t responsible for closing deals, they are responsible for generating quality leads that build a Sales Funnel. Deals that close generate revenue and these deals come from quality leads, therefore Teleprospectors should receive some compensation for their leads that close. When Teleprospectors are paid for the process from the beginning (leads) to the end (closed deals), the quality of leads becomes very important and motivates them to consistently generate viable leads.

Companies that have asked me to turn-around their Teleprospecting teams had initially set up Teleprospecting as an after-thought. None of the companies had these Teleprospecting Best Practices in place. Then, in each of the turn-around situations I implemented these best practices and saw not only the Sales Funnel grow dramatically, but also significant revenue increase.

Call Guide Opening – Best Practices

Teleprospectors are the vital link between Marketing and Sales; they are responsible for transforming Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) into Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). Teleprospectors work with your prospects through the qualification process until they are ready to be handed over to your sales team. Therefore, it is important that their engagement methods, messaging, and targeting is spot on. To ensure this, your company’s marketing and sales experts should provide Teleprospectors with sales tools to help them effectively navigate the lead qualification process. One such tool is a call guide or script.

A call guide or script is used to meet the following objectives:

  • Provide a quick introduction of your company to prospect (30-second commercial)
  • Give prospect insights into issues you have solved for your clients (select 1 great client story)
  • Uncover prospect pain/need and additional qualifiers
  • Determine if prospect is ready now or within your company’s established timeframe (typically under 6-months)
  • Generate a first meeting or demo (either on the phone, web or in-person)
  • Generate a Sales Qualified Lead

The script will have an opening statement, as well as the qualification questions that you want answered.  The opening of the call guide is very important.  Literally, in 30-60 seconds, the Teleprospector has to share who they are representing and why they are calling.

Call Guide Opening

The Call Guide Opening has the following basic parts: the 30-second commercial, a customer story, and segue into qualification questions. Here’s an example of each of the sections:

30-second Commercial:  SOMAmetrics is a sales and marketing consulting practice and we help our clients accelerate growth.

Customer Story:  In 2011, we assisted a $50 million dollar Tech company, which had lost half of its revenue and customers. The CEO brought us in to implement our Sales and Marketing Best Practices and as a result, 2012 revenues increased by 57%. The client has been working with us for over 18 months and we expect 2013 revenues to increase by an additional 35-40%.

Segue into Qualifying Questions:  Perhaps your company has similar challenges? Is now a good time to ask you a few brief questions, to get an understanding of how we might work together? (If no, get a date/time).

Create distinct call guides and openings for each of your Targets (CXO, VP/Director, and Manager). The Teleprospector will have fewer than 60-seconds to engage the prospect. Consequently, the messaging needs to be spot on to keep prospects interested and to give your Reps the opportunity to share more information about your product or service.

CRM: Is Your Lead Qualification Process Mapped?

If you aren’t reviewing your CRM structure at least twice a year, it is likely outdated for your current needs—not to mention future ones.
Almost every one of the 100 plus Software and SaaS companies that we have worked with over the past 20 years had some sort of sales automation tool which they used to manage their sales operation. Most of these companies used their CRM to track sales activities and to manage their sales funnel. Some use their CRM more intensively and at the cutting edge, while many use the CRM out of the box and just scratch the surface of the power of their CRM.
Most CRM’s out of the box are designed to be flexible, powerful and extensible—which means you won’t get much out of them unless you customize them extensively and adapt them to your needs.  One critical omission, we found with many of our clients, is that they hadn’t mapped their lead qualification process into the CRM. Most often, it was because they didn’t have a well-thought-out lead qualification process, to begin with. While other times, if they had a defined lead qualification process, they hadn’t thought to map this process into their CRM.

At a minimum, an effective Lead Qualification Process should include the following:

  • The key questions that are used to qualify prospects
  • The disposition of each lead, as the qualification process progresses
  • The number of times a lead is touched before it is abandoned or sent back to a “nurture” program
  • Next step details that outline what needs to happen to fully qualify the lead to make it “sales” ready
  • A quality control process that enables sales management to review the quality of each lead to ensure that they are quality leads

 

Lead Qualification Process

You’ve done your Four Funnel™ Math and know how many impressions (the number of times you touch your target prospects utilizing a pre-determined marketing-mix, which can include email campaigns, social media programs, webinars, content placement, tradeshows, etc.) you need to generate the right number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL’s) for your Teleprospecting team. Once you know the number of MQL’s required to support your Teleprospecting team, you are ready to create the process that your Teleprospecting team will utilize to generate Sales Qualified Leads (SQL’s) that will build the required pipeline to support your revenue objectives.

What Are Qualification Questions?

The lead qualification process starts with the questions that the Teleprospectors will need to ask to uncover need and interest in your solution. The right questions will uncover:

  • Need: Does the prospect have a need for your product or solution?
  • Authority: Is this particular prospect the person who can make a purchase decision?
  • Decision Maker: What is the name and title of the person who can make the purchase decision?
  • Budget: Does this prospect have money to make a purchase or CAN they secure the funds to make a purchase?
  • Timeframe: When is the prospect planning to solve their problem and purchase a solution or product like yours?
  • Decision Process: How will the decision be made? Will there be an evaluation committee or will some other process be used to make a decision?
  • Understanding of Solution: Does the prospect understand the problem/issue your solution or product resolves?
  • Next Step: If the prospect is interested in your solution, what is the next step to move the lead from an MQL to an SQL?

If your Teleprospectors gets the answers to all or the majority of these questions, you have a solid, highly qualified SQL for your Sales Team. If you agree with that statement, the next question is: Wouldn’t it be good to capture this data in a format that will allow you to run reports and track the answers? We believe the answer is “Yes!”

However, most of the clients that we have worked with didn’t capture this information in their CRM. These clients didn’t have fields in the CRM that captured the qualifying questions or the answers. They forced their Teleprospectors to put the answers to these questions in the “Notes” field in their CRM.

Not everyone is good at taking notes. Not all notes are created equally and not all notes fields allow enough characters to adequately capture the information that we listed above. Notes are difficult to read and it is nearly impossible to report on data in the notes field. If you are forcing your Teleprospecting team to put this important information into the notes field you are missing out on gathering extremely valuable intelligence that your prospects are telling you. You are missing important intelligence that could help Marketing build better demand generation programs and to improve marketing strategy or messaging.
It is an execution mistake that will keep your Teleprospectors from generating highly qualified Sales Qualified Leads (SQL’s). Our advice is—collect quantifiable data (as captured by checkboxes and dropdowns, for example) when you can and augment with notes fields.
Otherwise, you are likely to be wasting money with a Teleprospecting operation that cannot provide you the actionable intelligence you need to improve sales.

 

About SOMAmetrics

SOMAmetrics enables clients to revitalize their Sales and
Marketing organizations, so that they meet and exceed their revenue objectives
each and every quarter.

Over the past ten years, we have worked on a variety of
Salesforce.com CRM implementation projects including: new implementation;
significant upgrades and optimization projects; data cleansing and migrations;
and integrations with other cloud-based tools.

We have assembled a team of experts ranging from marketing
and sales consultants, to business analysts and programmers to assist with Salesforce.com
or other CRM implementation project.

Contact us today to find out more of how we can help you
meet and exceed your revenue objectives quarter after quarter.

 

Contact SOMAmetrics

Email: reach@SOMAmetrics.com

Phone: 800.352.9694