The “3 Ps” of Killer Drip Campaigns for Sales

Editor’s note: Today’s post is from myDocket CEO Jason Wesbecher. If you have read my work or heard me speak, you know I am very excited about sales enablement and in particular, content selling. I asked Jason to write a “how-to” post because I love the approach myDocket is taking to solve the sales engagement challenge. It’s a great post — I hope you enjoy!

content selling, salesIt’s no secret that selling in today’s buying environment is really tough.  Sales cycles are getting longer, more buyer stakeholders are involved in the process, and competition is brutal.  Given the amount of time that can elapse between a first call and a contract, successful sales reps often employ a tactic originally invented by marketing – the drip campaign.

A drip campaign for sales is similar to ones run by the marketing department with two major exceptions.  Campaigns run by sales are highly tailored to the unique deal being worked (think of it as laser focused versus shotgun).  And salespeople have to execute these campaigns via email, because they typically lack access to or knowhow of marketing automation systems.

In my experience selling and managing sellers over the last 17 years, drip campaigns can have a profound impact on maintaining the buyer’s attention during the ebbs and flows of a sales cycle.  And a drip campaign consisting of good content can actually influence the buyer’s thinking about what’s under consideration.  Winning drip campaigns typically adhere to 3 guiding principles: Pace, Personality & Packaging.

Pace

sales, content selling, content marketingWhen customers go “radio silent” it can be a disheartening feeling.  For some it even causes mild paranoia.  The one thing to avoid is telegraphing to the customer how lousy you are feeling.  Remember the John Favreau scene in Swingers?  You know, the one in which he painfully leaves 5 or 6 awkward, consecutive voicemails to a woman he just met?  Don’t be John Favreau in Swingers.

Keep in mind: it’s a marathon not a sprint.  History tells us that it’ll take a few weeks or months for the customer to make a decision.  Take a deep breath and plan a drip campaign that unfolds over the course of an entire quarter.  Plan to drop a dozen pieces of content evenly paced throughout the quarter (roughly 1 per week).  Employ a mix of 4:1 online:offline content.  Which means that for every 4 pieces of digital content you provide, send 1 “old school” item.  It could be a handwritten letter, a reprint of an analyst report, or even a magazine or newspaper clipping with a post-it attached.  This approach will differentiate you from competitors because it signals to the buyer that you are both paying attention & care.

Personality

content marketing, salesThought leadership content can be some of the most effective tools in persuading a customer to ascribe to your point of view.  After all, nobody sells your message like somebody else.  Think about it, the reason that references are so critical is that they are basically delivering your sales message but what gives them credibility is the fact that they have a different business card.  The same goes for content.  In the eyes of your customer, an analyst / journalist / industry luminary has way more credibility than a salesperson because there is no ulterior motive perceived.  So, own that and use it.  Find the blog posts, the YouTube talks, and the contributed articles of the thought leaders in your domain and direct that content to your customer.  Don’t assume that your customer knows how to find it on his or her own.

That being said, your customer is buying into a relationship with YOU!  They are risking internal political capital on this decision based on their read of YOU.  Are you authentic… are you human?  If you are, then behave as such.  There is no reason not to share content not specifically related to “work.”  Is your customer into dogs?  The Westminster Kennel Club is like the Super Bowl of dogs – send them a link to “the TMZ of show dogs”.  Have they mentioned that they own a timeshare in Costa Rica?  Use TripAdvisor and Yelp to find a hot new restaurant near their condo.  Do you not yet know what they’re into?  The awesome “conference call in real life” video instantly appeals to anyone in business.  It’s authentic, relatable & true.  Share it today and win their hearts!

Packaging

sales 2.0, content selling, content marketingBeyond the tone & temp, what are the best ways for salespeople to package up this content?  Email is the default option. But it sucks.  The fact is that the social obligation of email doesn’t exist today like it did 10 years ago.  Customers simply do not feel obligated to respond to emails.  And sales reps know this.  The vast majority of reps we talk to say the send up to 15 customer emails per day and receive a response rate of less than 30%.

Tools like myDocket and Postwire help sales people package their content into beautiful digital galleries rather than cumbersome email attachments.  The benefit to buyers is that they now have a 1-stop, 1-click destination for all of the content they need to make a purchase decision.  The benefit to salespeople is that it’s both (a) massively more scalable and time saving to use templates rather than sending emails each time, and (b) they get analytics on how & when the customer is consuming the content.

This is a great way to repurpose a traditional marketing tactic for the hard realities of today’s B2B sales environment.

mydocket.com, content selling, sales, modern salesAuthor: Jason Wesbecher is the CEO & co-founder of myDocket, a tool that helps salespeople measure the intent of customers based on how they engage with their sales collateral.