Technology changes everything, and if you’re feeling like you have to play catch up, you’re not alone. Person-to-person sales are suffering in big ways, as consumers are becoming more and more interested in researching and purchasing online. This really affects B2B sales, as a report from Forrester indicates that “68% of B2B buyers prefer to research online on their own” and a “mere 36% of B2B executives believe that reps understand their business problems and offer clear solutions for them.” Basically, B2B sales reps are dropping off at an alarming rate. But there’s a deceptively simple solution: personal branding. Sales representatives need to have personal brands, or they won’t be relevant anymore.
When it comes to setting up your personal brand, content is king. Consumers need something relatable to keep them engaged. Bill Gates famously forecasted this at the start of the tech bubble in a 1996 essay for Microsoft’s website: “If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines.” Content marketing has become more important than ever before as it continues to reap great rewards. If you focus on creating authentic and unique content that consumers will find useful and entertaining, you’ll begin to see the advantages everywhere.
Sales Reps Must be Supported by Personalized Content in Order to Hit Sales Quotas in 2018
Content is king when it comes to personalized banding, and personalized branding will make or break a sale rep in 2018.
Here is why you need personalized content and a brand for every sales rep on your team if you want to hit your sales goals next year:
Personalized content encourages engagement
Every sales rep will need great content in order for their personal network and audience engagement to greatly increase. There’s so much content out there right now, but the content that will show up in newsfeeds won’t be those from business pages in 2018. Instead friends, family and peers are going to take the show front and center. This means personal posts will receive 10x the amount of views, comments and shares over business posts.
Personalized content adds value to your service
Brand advocacy is huge if businesses want to succeed. Your content already should help your consumers, possibly instructing them on your service. But it will place an intangible value on your content that you won’t get anywhere else if you have your own employees sharing and writing content and building up their personal brand to support your business. If their leads value their content, they’ll build trust and close more deal as leads continue to come back for more.
Personalized content massively increases traffic
If you’re looking for more traffic on your site, personalized content is the perfect way to drive traffic straight to you. Consider how keeping a blog with topics related to your services, or implementing video content already works for your business to drive traffic online. Now imagine if you had x50 of that, one personally branded blog for every sales rep? This will not only give their relationships a reason to keep coming back, but it’ll keep them connected to your site longer because, well, they personally know the author.
The Content Tsunami
Most content is underperforming, and it’s really hard to maintain, or even get attention. According to a Buzzsumo analysis of the performance of 1,000,000 posts, 50% of posts received 8 shares or less, and 75% of those posts received 39 shares or less. These statistics sound pretty grim, but there might be antidote to this problem: The more personalized your content is, the more your customers will be engaged with what you have to say. Personal branding is the new way to play the game. 60% of consumers feel a stronger connection to a brand that provides content that’s relevant to them, 80% of consumers say that personalized content increases their plans to purchase that brand’s product or services and 64% are more likely to recommend a brand connected to them personally. The more personal your branding, the more likely you’ll be noticed in the great seas of content marketing. It can be tough to get noticed out there, but if you follow these four steps, it should get a lot easier.
Saving our Sales Reps
The end of the B2B sales rep will be marked by two things: unmet sales quotas and unforged relationships. Unmet sales quotas have a lot to do with missed goals during the sales process. Last year, less than 50% of sales reps met their quotas. That’s a dangerously low number.
The lack of relationships with their customers all points back to a human to human connection. Personal branding is the answer for sales reps who desperately need relationships to build those relationships and achieve quota. You need a brand that is “liked, trusted and remembered. Check out this branding strategy more in-depth, I call it “LTR”:
Liked content relates directly to your contents value and how it can connect to your audience through emotion, engagement and entertainment. This can be personal or related to your work, just as long as it’s engaging to the audience.
Trust is a natural foundation for any relationship, and you need the credibility to bring in new customers. Thought leadership is a great way to help customers to know your areas of expertise.
Are you giving your consumers a reason to remember you? It’s harder than ever to leave an imprint in the mind of a consumer, but there are also more tools at your disposal. You can implement slogans, logos or even hashtags to convey your mission statement in a fun and creative way.
All in all, the most important thing to remember going forward is that without a personal brand, you’ll have a lot of trouble finding and building business relationships over the next few years. This may happen as soon as 2020. Investing the time and effort into creating your own personal brand will ensure that you’re a marketable person to work with. Everything’s changed, and we need to learn to adapt with it.