Champion content, champion enablement, and content selling – the video

I am attempting to live by the TOPO mantra of “create once, publish many” for content marketing production. Last week I created a blog post on my company blog, TOPOhq, on content selling and specifically the idea of champion content. I still have all the ideas in my head so I have created a video with a transcript to go along with long posts. Here we go:

Transcript:

This is Craig Rosenberg, the Funnelholic. If you hear sirens in the background that’s because for some reason the fire department has decided to roll by my office every five minutes while I’m talking. This is by the 20th take. This video is a new content type for me. I want to test following up content projects with video. All the stuff’s in my head, and video is becoming a popular content asset for people. I figured let’s test it and see how it works.

So that’s where we are today, and we’ll see. I will note one thing for everyone in content creation, video’s hard. You think it’s not, but actually writing a blog post is easier. Like I said this is the 20th take. (Besides the fire engine, there is me just going “NO. Cut, let’s go move on.”)

So I wanted to talk about champion content. I just wrote a post on blog.topohq.com, and it was really well received. I’m glad, because it was a topic near and dear to my heart. It’s been a breakthrough finding for us at Topo, and I just wanted to keep talking about it. So the idea is champion content, and let me tell you the scenario. So sales goes and has a conversation with their champion, the champion is really excited, sales marks the opportunity at 40 or 60% or whatever it is when you do your pitch or demo, and then you don’t know what the buyer’s doing. The buyer goes dark, you haven’t heard from him, in many cases they stall for a long period of time, or they actually fall off.

And part of the problem is we lose visibility and the buyer is not giving us any detail. As everyone who’s selling knows the buyers today don’t call you back, and don’t email you back, and give you progress reports anymore. You’re left to figure it out. So the thing to do here is to first of all go through the process of mapping your buyer’s buying experience, and the reason you want to do that is you want to understand how your buyers buy. Everyone talks about how we are going to understand the buyer’s buying journey, but it’s still just on a superficial level. For example, it’s not enough to know that they downloaded a particular piece of content.

You have to go deeper. And you have to understand on their end, the buyer’s side, what they are doing in the sale cycle. And often times the reveals when you do that are really important for you as you go and design your sales and marketing processes. In the example I just gave, the buyer or champion gets really excited, and then tells you I’ve just got to talk to my boss. That’s not true, and there’s a number of things that they’re going to have to go do on their end that allows them to go buy that they’re probably not going to tell you about.

And they need help whether they like it or not. Because today, as we all know, the buying committee is very powerful. And it’s much larger than it’s ever been before. There’s a lot of factors that touch a deal. It could be environmental factors. It could be regulatory issues, whatever that might be. As sales leaders and sales folks we’ve got to find out whatever that is, and then we have to enable sales to go overcome these objections. And the way we do it, one of the great techniques, is champion content. What we do there, is we create content for the champion. The champion uses this content to sell internally. The best thing I can do right now is just give you a couple examples that help make my point.

So one, a champion content bundle. So I’m working with this cloud company. They’re actually doing really well, but there’s just a large number of deals that are taking longer than they should or just falling off after going dark. The sales person really has no update on them. The sales leaders really wanted to understand what’s happening obviously. They are hoping for a 5-10% conversion lift, and that’s a big impact on their pipeline. So they looked into the buying experience, and what they found was the buyer was getting really excited. But they were getting hung up.

The idea was pretty radical, and they were getting hung up selling internally. Internally, the champion had other stakeholders that they had to go and take this idea too, and they were losing. The main thing from the decision makers side was risk and security. So what this company did was they created these content bundles designed specifically for the champions that they could take and use internally. The content bundles came in video and written form, because some buyers prefer one over the other. And really addressed the objections that the decision makers would have. The content focused on risk and security, and they did it from a third party objective perspective. They used third party writers to lend credibility to the content.

The other thing they did is they created a challenger piece on content <There’s my challenger sale reference> for decision makers that helped them to understand why this issue was important to think about, and to challenge the status quo. And by doing that, by creating these content pieces, and enabling their champion. We always talk about sales enablement, how about champion enablement? They were able to basically help their champions sell the benefits. I think their sales cycles were one month shorter and they were winning deals that they would not have won before. That’s a great example.

The other one is the champion deck. My buddy Steve Hays at InsideSalesTeam.com has a great example of this. They have a separate deck for their champions. The deck has what he calls bullet-proof ROI. The champion can go take the ROI, and someone can question and they’re not there to defend themselves. So if you’re going to go do that. You’ve got to make it bulletproof, and if there’s an opportunity to use clients numbers. Then they will do that. They’ll make it even more credible.

They also create a table comparing their solution to other options. Like comparing working with them vs status quo vs their competitors. If they’ve looked at competitors they’ll fill them in, and make that table even more relevant. And they package that up for their champion to go and take and sell internally. Really great stuff. The champion’s no longer confused on what they need to go do next, and I know there’s a lot of champions that know how to buy. But they don’t know how to sell your product, and if you can help them with that. Then that’s basically champion enablement.

The other one I wanted to give you, which I love, is a company we met who basically had mapped the buying experience. So they figured out what it takes for a buyer to buy their solution, and they published it and provided it to their prospects and potential clients. This is such a great idea. The product they are selling is basically a platform for application development. It’s future. It’s awesome, but people already have something. There’s a big status quo issue. It’s ripping something out, as you all know, is a radical move for a lot of folks.

So what was happening was their champion was really excited. I mean these folks were raising their hands saying “Hey. I want to go work with you guys.”, and then nothing was happening. There was two problems, one was management. They had so many people they had to go sell this to, and they were just getting tripped up along the way. The other one was they didn’t even know where to start. So they get this gal who is really excited. This person is just kind of stopped in the tracts. They didn’t know what to do next.

So they produced the map. The map that they had given their sales and marketing team to understand how their companies had bought the solution before. Then they provided their champions with a road map for who to talk to, what to say, and what objections they’re going to have, and what to give them when you face that objections. And they’ve won some big deals as a result. It is one of the best examples of champion content I’ve ever seen in the content selling and champion enablement movement.

Champion content is happening today. I might be able to lay claim to the idea of champion content. The other one is champion enablement. I got to get that up in my blog so that I can claim it. And how understanding how your buyers buy is probably the most important thing you can do to build your entire sales and marketing process around, and to really effectively enable your sales team.

So I hope you enjoyed my first video. It’s probably longer than I planned to make it, but I enjoyed it. So thank you for listening, and let’s see if this works.

Funnelholic checking out.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic and a co-founder of Topo. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter