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Engage With Your Customers: Digital Selling

This is the ‘Engage With Your Customers’ tutorial which is part of the Digital and Social Selling Certified course offered by Simplilearn. We will learn multichannel marketing, Thought Leadership, Content marketing and strategies, Creating a content calendar and Multichannel Marketing.

Objectives

By the end of this tutorial, participants should be able to understand:

  • Understand the importance of creating personalized content that speaks to buyers
  • Appreciate the value of establishing Thought Leadership
  • Plan a digital strategy for the entire year, including content-driven campaigns
  • Grasp how sales engagement platforms can help as part of a content marketing strategy

Personalized Content

Content is the means by which we speak to our target buyer personas. When we deliver timely, personalized content to our prospects, we raise awareness and promote discovery. Doing so will strengthen the bond between us and our audience, and will reinforce our reputation in our field. Through the publication of strong, information-rich content that’s based around trending and emerging topics, we’ll establish ourselves as a Thought Leader. We’ll learn the value of content marketing, and the ways in which we can plan out our content for the entire year so that it ties in with seasonal campaigns, and so that we can set and then meet clearly-defined sales goals.

In the earlier sections, we looked a Target Buyer personas as how we can use these personas to identify this sort of customers we currently attractor would like to attract.

The advantages of delivering Personalized Content that will appeal to these distinct personas could be used for real purchase and interest them in our product services. At the end of this tutorial we will be able to:

  • Discuss the importance of delivering personalized content.
  • Appreciate how personalized content can raise awareness and promote discovery.
  • Explain how to develop personas-specific content
  • Discuss the best ways to deliver personalized content.

Importance of Personalized Content

To succeed in our marketing efforts, it is essential that our content matches the mood, interests, and needs of our prospects. In fact, research from a consultancy shows the 88% marketers believe that personalizing content has a high impact on both ROI and engagement. There are many compelling reasons why one should want to personalize content.

Let’s consider some of these.

  • It shows that we value our customers time and respect them. After all, would you prefer to receive a generic email from a company or one which addresses us by our first name? What about a form that contains data we have already given that company pre-populated in a template? Touches like this show that we believe that our customers should be addressed as individuals and that we value them.
  • Personalized content results in fewer communications overall, yet the accuracy of each one increases. If we understand where our customers are in the sales process, it should require fewer touch points overall to complete a sale. Prospects see fresh and new content by tracking a customer through their online journey. We can prompt them to check out different content on our site.
    • For example, by offering them tailored special offers or more product information to help them complete a sale. This will improve our online conversion rates. Similarly, if we know the age group or location of our customer, we can send them content based on Pacific topics that they will be interested in.

Personalized Content and Search Engines

There is another reason why it makes sense to personalize our content. When we browse the web, Google makes a note of our preferences and recalls them. It then directs traffic and websites to our searches based on those preferences.

Google on other search providers, do that, based on information collected from cookies and affinity segments. Therefore, if we have content that's intended for a certain demographic, Google can direct web searches made by customers in that segment to us. If our content is of sufficiently high-quality that people are viewing, commenting, sharing, extracting quotes from it and linking to it, Google starts to rank it as being an authority on the subject within that market segment.

This will get rewarded as a high ranking for our website. The more we know about our customers, the less scattershot our marketing becomes. This increased efficiency helps to reduce marketing costs overall. Content personalization is, therefore, a win-win, both for the customer and for the search engine rankings.

Developing Persona Specific Content

If it was as simple as emailing out a fact sheet about ‘why our brand is so great’ and ‘why people should buy from us’, everyone will be doing it. But we can't be that blunt. We need to educate, inform and intrigue our buyer's. This means that our communications should not be all about us.

We also need to be receptive to their needs and interests. If we perform market research and identify the existing custom types, we already have a firm idea in mind about our target buyers. Based on our research we also know the demographic makeup and interests of the sort of people who could potentially buy from us.

Some of these groups will be closer to the point of purchase than others. Some will have more buying power than others, and some will even have more brand loyalty than others. One of the best ways of making sure that we're reaching out to all these buyer types and pushing all the right buttons is by creating a persona based content strategy.

  • The first row is Buyer Goals, which include cost saving, knowledge, and quality of service.
  • The next row should be called Challenge or Objective. This is where we enter impediments that are preventing that buyer from achieving their goal.
  • The next row should be headed as Content Themes where we'll start to brainstorm ideas for the sort of content that will help these buyers out with the challenge they are facing and will ease them closer to the point of purchase
  • Content Type: Quite simply, here we have to decide which type of content is likely to elicit the best response. Whether this involves emails, blog post, FAQ’s, infographics, adwords, webinars, is for us to decide.

We've previously discussed the importance of meeting our buyers where they are conducting due diligence. So if that happens to be linked to that is where we publish our content whether it is Facebook or Instagram etc.

Considering Buying Cycle

When developing our content strategy, we'll also want to factor in the buying cycle and we can add a separate row for this. This is where we consider whether the content we publish is time sensitive or there are certain seasons or period when the content is likely to be more in demand or times when these personas are looking to buy.

Once we've planned out our persona-based content strategy, we'll be ready to get started. We know who we're writing for, what they're looking for, and we also know how we could help them fulfill that goal. We need to create content as credible and informative as possible.

Also, we need to remember that many of these buyers have never bought from us before or may not even know who we are, but we need to gain their trust and really add value which will compel them to sign up and to visit our site and know more.

At times, we come across an article on the internet, that feels like it was written just for us. An article that raises questions we've often wondered, but we've never articulated them. This is what happens when we publish content that is designed for a specific persona and promotes it. We don't know these people and yet we've tapped into their needs and desires. This is the power of creating content for our personas and is an important marketing step that we cannot miss.

Checklist to Develop persona-specific content:

Below is a checklist for developing persona specific content.

  • Identify your target buyer personas and their interests.
  • Consider goals and obstacles that are preventing them from achieving these goals.
  • Devise content that will help buyers overcome these pain points.
  • Pinpoint the best channels for reaching them and the type of content they’re likely to be receptive to.
  • Consider the buying cycle and prioritize sending them content at a time when they’re likely to be more receptive.

Important data points for delivering personalized content:

  • Location
  • Interest
  • Behavior
  • Referral

Strategy and Planning personalized content

  • Be Transparent
  • Thinks Small
  • Localized Asset
  • Integrates CRM.

Getting started with Content Personalization

  • Find out if CRM has the personalization capabilities
  • Define Audience
  • Integrate Personalized platform
  • Configure rules and create segmented content.

Establishing Thought Leadership

A Thought Leader is someone who is recognized as an authority within a particular field. Typically, the industry they work in, establishing Thought Leadership is a way of growing reputation and building up a trust to open up additional opportunities; the networking and career advancement.

At the end of this tutorial, we will be able to:

  • Express the value of being a Thought Leader.
  • Identify the difference between Thought Leadership and content marketing.
  • Articulate what constitutes a Thought Leadership piece

The Value of Thought Leadership

Unique and recognizable brands sell more, and they also sell to consumers that are higher margins in the competition. Consumers go to brands that they trust, respect, and are engaged with. Thought Leadership could be thought of as a form of the brand building, make our brand more attractive even during an economic downturn.

Thought Leadership also helps to give a reputation for innovation for being ahead of the curve. No one wants to be associated with the brand that's perceived as being behind the times. If we can lead from the front, it will attract an army of followers who will rely on us for information and for alerts to the latest trends, products, and services. Services which we can later supply.

Thought Leadership and Content Marketing

It is important to understand that Thought Leadership and content marketing are not the same things. They both have similar aims. In that we want our work to be read and shared by as many people as possible. Also in each case, we're looking to grow our reputation with a view to ultimately grow our revenue.

In every other respect, Thought Leadership takes a very different approach to marketing. Thought Leadership piece is generally less introverted than content marketing. In other words, with Thought Leadership, we're looking outwards and reflecting on our industry as a whole, rather than basing things solely around the business, brand on converting more customers or capturing more leads.

When we're writing the Thought Leadership piece, all of the stuff takes a back seat. To actually saying something worthwhile, something profound and genuinely unique is going to get people listening and talking about our ideas.

What it takes to become a Thought Leader

No one becomes a Thought Leader overnight. It is a gradual process, which can't be measured in page views or shares alone. The reputation starts to grow when influencers start coming to us seeking networking opportunities when other brands are contacting us requesting to write for them or speak to them or appear on their podcast.

We need to be authentic, true to ourselves and keep it real. This is especially important when it comes to Thought Leadership because we can't fake an entire persona and make a lifelong career out of it. We can't have detailed knowledge of our industry, and we certainly can't make our way to the top.

In addition to knowing our subject matter, we also need to know our audience. We can publish the most provocative and groundbreaking piece in the world, but if it is only available to members of our email list, probably we will not be reaching the sort of influencers that we're trying to gain approval of.

Similarly, if the company blog averages ten hits a day, even the most persuasive Thought Leadership piece is unlikely to send shockwaves to the industry. Learning how to become a Thought Leader takes time and careful study, not only of the industry or segment that we wish to be seen as a leader within, but also the tactics and positioning of those who have already achieved that status. There are also future trends to consider and be ready to respond to and comment on.

Planning to adapt Digital and Social Selling methods for your business. Learn more here!

A Thought Leadership constitutes:

  • With Thought Leadership, there is less concern with finer details, but more with the big picture. We could be offering a solution to a problem, that is the best in the industry.
  • We could be proposing a direction that companies in our sector should take in response to changing consumer preferences.
  • With Thought Leadership, we're creating the content that others will read and then react to. This doesn't mean we have to tackle a topic that no one has addressed before. That would be virtually impossible, but at the very least, we're trying to present fresh slant on a hot topic.
  • Good Thought Leaders are also quick to react to trending topics and emerging stories that affect their industry. If we could be one of the first one to reflect in an event as it's happening, we will benefit and a number of ways including organic search results. But more importantly, we'll come to be seen as someone who's got their ear to the ground and is well connected and people will start to allow on us as a source of information that comes to value our assessment.
  • People need not even agree with us all the time to respect your expertise and to appreciate that we know our industry inside out. The other thing to know about Thought Leadership is not about telling people things they want to hear; this doesn't mean courting controversy, but it would be fair to say that if we are opinionated and we aren't afraid to voice those opinions, people respect us far more than if we're simply mouthing what everyone else is saying and rehashing the same points.
  • Thought Leadership is often expressed through a blog post or long read or at least in article format, but this isn't the only means of publishing such a piece. We could also establish our authority by publishing a white paper, or by giving a keynote address. An industry event would be the perfect platform for establishing Thought leadership for a slide presentation. If we are planning to publish Thought Leadership pieces in article form, we don't need to conflate this with blogging. Having a blog and an opinion doesn't make us Thought Leader or writing about trending topics that are in the news also doesn't make us a Thought Leader.
  • In fact, we don't get to decide whether or not we can be a leader. That can only be decided by others in the industry. We can dream of the pieces we want to publish and also we can choose the platform on which we wish to publish them on, but beyond that, all we can do is sit back and wait for those ideas to take route.

Driving a content to drive Sales

When it comes to dreaming of content that will establish us as a Thought leader and also drive sales, we need to check

  • What are the most pressing questions and issues in our sector right now?
  • How can we contribute answers or content that will solve those problems?

Effective tactics include:

  • Conducting and Sharing Research: This will enable our brand to be seen as a source of reliable information and content.
  • Providing Entertainment: Informative content doesn't have to be dry, and if we can inject some personality and humor, we'll be more likely to stand out and our audience will be far likely to remember us. When the time comes to consider possible solutions to their problem, there is a good chance that our name will be first on their lists.

Where we choose to publish content, it depends on the platform we're seeking to become known on as a Thought leader. If we are in B2B, the content we publish on LinkedIn will stand a greater chance of being seen and shared by the right people.

Where should we place the content?

Medium is another platform where many Thought Leaders have grown their reputation and one would definitely want to consider it when it comes to planning our Thought Leadership to pieces. If we're looking to become known as an authority on a particular social platform such as Twitter, we're obviously want to share our Thought Leadership pieces there. We'll also make sure that any links or images we share on Twitter are optimized for that particular audience, which in the case of Twitter and Facebook will largely be a mobile audience.

So how do we become a Thought Leader? Hard work, patience, perseverance and not being afraid to speak our voice and show off the knowledge we gained for years.

Content Creation Calendar

In the last two sections, we discussed the importance of creating specific content and how the establishing Thought Leadership. Now we're going to look into the value of creating a content creation calendar that will help we organize and schedule our marketing content. At the end of this section, we will be able to

  • Articulate the importance of setting up a content creation calendar
  • Factors to consider when devising our calendar
  • Explained how to set up a content creation calendar

When it comes to maximizing the effectiveness of our content, timing is important. This holds true not only in the case of seasonal industries, but even when we're publishing content that might not appear to be date dependent. After we've been sending out newsletters and other marketing messages for a while, we will start to spot a certain pattern in terms of the response rate. If we haven't noticed these patterns, we need to take a closer look at our analytics.

Businesses that operate in the fitness and nutrition industry report a greater success rate with the emails sent out on a Sunday night or Monday morning. The reason will be that; probably after a weekend of overindulgence people are looking to get back into good habits by the start of the week. So, if we want to show our fitness program or fat burning supplement, that's the time to do so.

There are many benefits we have from setting up a content creation calendar.

  • It makes it easier to keep track of everything since it is unlikely that we'll be operating single channel campaigns in a linear fashion. We will have several different messages, different online outlets and different forms of content depending on who the audience is and how or when they should be engaged with.
  • Planning our content campaign and calendarizing it makes sense, no matter what is the size of our business. If we are involved with a major trade event, we can even schedule content to go on the days before, during, and afterwards, including sending out thank you’s and pictures to the attendees, having met customers and suppliers at the event.
  • Using a content creation calendar affords us a thinking time before creating and sending out content ensuring that each piece is well constructed and hasn't been rushed.
  • It will also keep the staff in the loop so that they know the deadlines that everyone is working towards to produce relevant content.

If our content is on point and topical, it stood a greater chance of being read, seen or commented on and engaged with. Having a content calendar allows us

  • To plan time for measurement of content engagement metrics.
  • Formulate strategies to ensure that content has the maximum possible impact.
  • Ensure that our messages consistent across all platforms.

Creating a content creation calendar is beneficial because it would enable us to schedule our content at the opportune time, which will increase the number of clicks, reads and conversions we generate.

But there's another reason why we'd want to set up a content creation calendar so that we can schedule a steady stream of content that will be delivered to our audience month after month. By planning this out in advance, we can make sure that we've covered a wide range of topics. It also gives us latitude for adjusting our schedule, pushing a piece back or pulling its publication date forward to reflect trending news and other events.

Having a content creation strategy in place will be a weight off our shoulders because we can relax in the knowledge that we've got our content marketing planned out for the coming months. If we have scheduled a blog post for a specific day of the week, we'll be aware that in the days prior we need to write a corresponding email newsletter and social media snippets to promote it.

We might also be reaching out to influencers and getting them to share it too, all of which needs to be planned in advance. When the time comes to go live with that piece of content, all of the elements will be in place for sharing it across multiple channels and platforms. Having a calendar means that we can keep all of our team in the loop on working together to achieve a common goal. Depending on the size of our company, we might have separate sales, marketing, or content creation teams and a content creation calendar will make it easier to ensure that everyone's on the same page.

It's up to us how far in advance we want to plan our content creation strategy and it's not uncommon as well for brands to plan out the entire coming year.  At a bare minimum though, we need to aim to plan the next three months as well as factoring seasonal trends will allow us to base our content on industry events and other key dates.

Example:

If we operate a food business, we may have content designed to coincide with National Pancake day or World Vegetarian Day and such like. Just because we should plan our content out in advance doesn't mean we have to create it all in advance. We need not write a year's worth of content at a time. Least, we'll need to have working titles or a basic summary that we intend to publish.

Developing a Content Creation Strategy

Developing a content creation strategy calls for:

Identify our topics on the audiences or audience we'll be producing content for. Just as we're likely to have multiple buyer personas, the same is true for the audiences we create content for. We have existing customers; we have leads that we would like to convert into customers. We have customers of our competitors who we'd like to approach and so on.

A well-rounded content calendar will include regular content that goes out each of the audiences we wish to target.

Once we've planned out the themes for our content, we will next be able to choose what form the content takes. That's another reason why it makes sense to plan these things in advance so we can publish slides, infographics, and other times of content at regular intervals rather than publishing nothing. We can plan out content for the coming month, quarter or year using Google spreadsheets before using Google calendar to enter the scheduled publication dates. This makes it easier to keep our entire team aware of when our content is due to go out

As we start to think up topics for articles and other types of content, we might also find that we have previous content on a particular topic that can be repurposed. This will help us save time and money in addition to providing access to a treasure trove of content that we previously put a lot of effort into. This is essentially a free resource at our disposal, so it makes sense to use it.

Repurposing content doesn't mean we publish old blogs under a new name though. Rather, it means taking elements of this content and adapting them for a new medium or audience. In some cases, we may be able to update blog posts we've published in the past, including a note specifying the date when it was updated before sharing it freshly. It's going to be particularly useful when we've got a piece of content that has performed very well in the past.

A content calendar or social calendar is a valuable digital selling tool. This is something that will help us focus our marketing effort, allowing us to publish a steady stream of strong content throughout the year, delivering the right marketing messages to the right audience at the right time. Pulling all of this together, there are few easy steps we can follow to set up a content creation calendar:

  • Use a social media analyst tool such a sprout social or Facebook insights. To pinpoint what has worked well in the past and to collect all of our previous postings in one place.
  • Decide when to post and how often, and also check what our competitors are doing for inspiration.
  • Throw the content creation calendar with scheduled campaigns, that we can go back to and examine the results to gauge their success.

Examples of Content Calendars

Wordpress, Editorial calendar plugin, GatherContent, and Kapost are all examples of solutions that can be used to organize and calendar our content marketing campaigns. There are various content calendar tools that help us stay better organized. When it comes to choosing content calendar tool, consider the sort of features, we're likely to need, such as the ability for collaboration and outsourcing assignments, and the ease with which the team will be able to access the calendar.

Popular calendar tools we might wish to consider include,

  • GatherContent
  • Kapost
  • Coschedule

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Creating a Multichannel Campaign

Multichannel Campaigns means implementing a single campaign across multiple channels or platforms. The benefits of following this strategy are obvious, because publishing our content in different places as possible, maximizes its visibility and increases the chances of reaching our target audience.

A well thought out multi-channel campaign takes into account the differences between the respective platforms and various audiences. We'll discuss below,

  • The benefits of a multi-channel campaign
  • Described what makes a successful multi-channel campaign
  • Discover the importance of setting campaign objectives
  • Discuss considerations in developing content for Multichannel campaigns

What is Multichannel Marketing?

Running a multi-channel campaign doesn't mean blindly sharing our content over LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else where we have a presence though. A well thought out Multichannel campaign takes into account the differences of the respected platforms and various audiences. There is nothing wrong with simultaneously publishing content on several channels, but the way in which we promote this content, including the descriptive text and use of imagery, might vary.

The channels were talking here aren’t just limited to social media. We have also got an email, print, email, website, mobile app push notifications and so on. The aim of a Multichannel campaign is to reach out to consumers wherever they happened to be. If our target audience rarely leaves Facebook to browse the wide web, we need to deliver our content to them on Facebook. If a proportion of our audience isn't receptive to social media or if we've yet to develop a social following, an email will be more effective.

Benefits of a Multichannel campaign

There are several advantages to running a multi-channel campaign.

More touch points to measure success over: The more channels we try, the more likely we are to find ones which intersect effectively with our target audience. Customers require five to ten touch points on average before buying from our brand. This is something which is best achieved over multiple channels. In addition, good content delivered over many channels allows for customers to pick the part of the story or content that they need from our product or service.

More data points to work with: The sort of analytics we can glean from content on our website are more detailed than those we might glean from content that is published elsewhere such as LinkedIn. Some social channels will be able to show us how many impressions we've got as well as how many engagements we had. While an email will show us how many people clicked under that particular campaign.

With email, we could also use automation to follow up and send additional content to readers who did check out our content. Conversely, we could use automation to follow up on the portion of our email list who didn't open the first e-mail.

Identify the goal of a Multichannel campaign

The channels we use depends on our audience and on the nature of our business. There are certain principles, however, which hold true regardless, one of which is the importance to identify the goal of our multi-channel campaign. This is something we should do at the very start. Broadly speaking, we're looking to raise awareness by getting our message out on as many platforms as possible.

We often see this was big brands who might launch a television advertising campaign in conjunction with display adverts and banner adverts that appear on buses and billboards. This is something we'll often spot when there's a new blockbuster movie being released in conjunction with a huge marketing push.

Now we don't have that sort of budget at our disposal, so we need to reign in our ambitions a little. But it is possible to launch a very successful Multichannel campaign using a little more than a few additional platforms on a modest investment. We're looking to raise awareness with our Multichannel campaign and in the process, we're looking to consistently deliver our message.

This is how we build our brand by releasing content or several platforms that convey the same message. Tone, typography and slogans but as mentioned earlier it doesn't mean we can't take into account the characteristics of the platform we're using.

Campaigns that running on Facebook and Twitter, for example, will require far fewer words in the same campaign delivered by Email or LinkedIn. With a visual medium such as Instagram, we're obviously going to need a very strong image, which is something that's less important on other platforms. So, we need to be consistent with our multi-channel campaign but also take into account the former that works best on that platform and how our audience will be digesting that content, including the device there be using.

So there's a lot of different data points available, and when we choose to run a Multichannel campaign, we open ourselves up to the possibility of tapping into these different analytical systems and getting a much broader picture of how people are interacting with our content and which platforms and types of content generated the best response.

Before we launch our campaign, it is up to us to decide what metrics were used to gauge its effectiveness. What, counts as a successful form of engagement ? Is it like a share, a comment, or a purchase? Different campaigns have different goals, so although the ultimate goal is to get more customers buying from us, we might also be looking to increase brand recognition. We need to grow our email list or solicit feedback from our customers and start a conversation.

Importance of setting Campaign Objectives

One of the primary reasons why it's so important to set campaign objectives is that this allows us to determine whether we're getting a return on our investment. More specifically, it allows we to pinpoint which channels are the most profitable on are delivering the most engagements and conversions.

You can then focus on these channels with future campaigns, with a view to getting a greater return from our marketing spends. Setting campaign targets can also act as a motivational spur for the staff. In particular, when they are incentivized to meet certain goals that we've mapped out.

Features of a successful Multi-Channel Campaign

A great multi-channel campaign is one which means multiple objectives, which may include the following.

  • It reached our target buyer personas or market segment.
  • There were quantifiable results such as more comments and shares which led to an identifiable sales uplift.
  • Our target audience was reached without generating a significant number of complaints and negative comments that adversely affected our brand.
  • We successfully reached our audience across a reasonable spread of channels and devices.
  • We were able to measure metrics such as the cost per sale or leads and benchmark this to past campaigns or competitors, campaigns.

Important Considerations:

Multi-channel content should:

  • Tell our brand story to a precisely targeted audience.
  • Resonate with current and potential customers.
  • Engage with a social audience.
  • Influence prospects who are at the consideration buying phase.
  • Build our brand's reputation and online authority.
  • Grow our audience.
  • Be useful, insightful, creative, funny, topical, and as detailed as it needs to be.

Challenges

One study of marketers from 22 of the united kingdom's largest retailers found that while many did not have a clear roadmap for innovation, they did have an understanding of what they needed for implementing it. The greatest challenges that are faced:

  • Reducing the time to market for innovation projects.
  • Removing or making up for legacy challenges.
  • Reducing the load on overstretched development teams.

These are the roadblocks that we should be trying to remove if we're a large organization, and the areas where we can get a jump on the competition if we are a smaller entity planning to launch a multi-channel campaign.

Measuring the Results of a Multichannel campaign

When it comes to measuring the outcome of the multi-channel campaign, we'll be looking to see whether we achieved the goal that was set out at the onset, and we'll likely find there to be some channels where we exceeded our expectations and others where we failed.

But succeed or fail all of this information is valuable because it feeds into future campaigns and helps to give we a better idea of how our audience is consuming our content, and which channels are providing the best return on our investment. Another reason why we want to pay close attention to the analytics is Attribution. If people buy from us as a result of our multi-channel campaign, where did they come from?

Attribution is very important, not only so we can credit the relevant sales team but so, we can redouble our efforts on those channels that have proven to be most profitable. If we're running a small business, keeping track of our campaigns across multiple channels is relatively easy. But if we are a larger business, it's very important that our different departments are encouraged to liaison closely and are aware of what each other is doing.

If our marketing department is pulling in one direction and our social media team are doing their own thing, our multi-channel campaign is going to be a multi-channel mess for which close communication is the key. With the aim of creating a unified experience, it will enable customers to recognize our brand and our campaign, wherever they happen to see it.

Checklist

Here is a checklist for creating a multi-channel campaign.

  • Make sure you map out the overall objectives of the campaign.
  • Ensure your content has been designed to appeal to the target audience on a particular channel and that it’s delivered in a manner they can digest.

Essential Content Management Tools

It’s easy to set a goal of engaging with our customers throughout every stage of the sales process. But how do we tell whether we've met that goal on whether our efforts are moving our presence closer to converting? That is where sales engagement tools come into play. These powerful tools allow us to measure our success so that we can really get a feel for what's working.

In this section, we'll examine some of the best sales engagement and content management platform on the market and consider their main reaches.

At the end of this section, we will be able to:

  • Articulate the benefits of using sales engagement platforms
  • Discuss the ways in which sales engagement tools can be used
  • Describe the features of popular engagement platforms.

What is a Sales Engagement Platform?

A sales engagement platform is a piece of software that can be used to manage, measure and nurture the customer’s engagement from start to finish. Not only does the sales engagement platform make it easier to share high impact content, but it also provides insights that will reveal the next steps we should be taking to move our prospects forward.

A good sales engagement platform will integrate with our existing CRM, and when they're used together, these platforms can dramatically shorten the sale cycle and improve the quality and frequency of our communications with our customers.

Sales engagement platforms provide various analytical tools that can reveal which pieces of content are working best? And why? We will also be able to gain detailed insights into an engagement that extend way beyond seeing how many leads or downloads we gained. We can also note, which particular slides have had the most engagement, which can be extremely useful.

Benefits of using a Sales Engagement Platform

A sales engagement platform also enables us to keep tabs on the ones that get away. If we notice that we're getting prospects with a certain point in the sales funnel but they're stumbling at a particular hurdle and failing to convert, we can take action to fix them. A sales engagement platform allows us to gauge the quality of our efforts.

In other words, it doesn't just tell us whether a salesperson followed up on a particular lead, it tells we about the quality of their interaction and allows we to determine how hot that prospect is.

While CRM tools will let us open a sale, a sales engagement platform is what allows us to close the deal. It allows us to provide the sales team with the information they need to seal the deal by supplying them with relevant content, analytics, and best practice acquired from other successful sellers in our company to maximize the chances of closing the sale.

To summarize, the features and benefits of sales engagement platforms include the following:

  • CRM Integration: We can communicate directly with prospects.
  • Automated Workflows: To empower our sales team to choose the best means of reaching out to our prospects by phone call, Email or social media.
  • Real-time Data: Allowing us to see which pieces of content are generating the most engagement.
  • Reporting and Measurement Tools
  • Mobile Analytics
  • Email Templates: Allows us to reach out to prospects at the optimum moment.

Leveraging Sales Engagement Tools

One of the most useful benefits of using sales engagement tools is that they allow us to leverage digital listening. All this means is that we're able to closely monitor how and when our prospects are engaging with our content and do they use knowledge to follow up with additional information delivered to them at the right time.

For Example, the Sales team can see how many times a major sales proposal has been viewed and for how long. They can also determine which pages or size in it have attracted the most scrutiny. A prospect who has contacted within 30 min of opening a key document is 50% likelier to end up doing business with that company. That's the value of leveraging sales engagement tools and using them to follow up on prospects promptly.

Clear Side is one of the leading sales engagement platforms. It provides quick and convenient access to content which gives our sales team everything they need to close the deal. Clear Slide comes with the feature called live pitch. For example, it allows us to provide one-click presentations in the form of HD video content that can be shared with clients in real time.

Clear Slide also has a series of dropdown lists which are designed to help sales teams overcome objections they're likely to encounter.

Other tools that we can make use of with clear slide include the ability to send out personalized emails and then to be notified of when these have been viewed and the prospect is ready to be contacted again. Clear Slide also comes with a mobile app, so that sells teams can access content and overcome objections on the go. Features include

  • Share presentations, HD video, audio
  • Integrative Content
  • Integrated conference bridge
  • Detailed content and engagement analytics
  • Host secure online meetings on record and we play them
  • Email Tracking: schedule is an individual all mass emails
  • Unlimited Cloud storage
  • Salesforce
  • Google Drive Integration

A possible use case where Cleat Slide might prove useful is when it comes to sending emails to prospect. Unless that prospect emails us back, it can be extremely hard to tell whether they've read and absorbed the message we sent them. Clear Slide allows email prospects and sends them a custom linked to content.

Not only does this eliminate issues associated with sending large attachments, but it means we can get valuable insights into how they engage with that content after clicking the link. We can even receive an alert the moment they've access the content and could learn exactly how long they've spent looking at it.

Eager to learn more about Digital and Social methods of selling? Click to know more!

Brainshark

Another leading sales engagement platform, Brainshark is also designed to equip sales teams with all the tools they need to be better at their job. Brainshark is particularly good when it comes to providing sales team the training on the go, especially things such as bringing up to speed or new procedures, products and sale strategies. Brainshark also provides instant access to the sort of content that can be used for onboarding.

So it's ideal in situations where we're trying to convince clients to make the step up to a new software platform or a higher subscription tier.

Features include:

  • Content delivery and tracking
  • Customer training including e-commerce functionality and digital training courses
  • Content storage and management.
  • Pre-built templates for fast content creation.
  • Sales enablement portal, that's used to hold content for training sales reps and internal communications
  • Conditional redirects will direct the user to the best version of a presentation to view based on the device's type and default language.
  • Ability to upload large files of up to five hundred megabytes
  • Variety free images on audio library

There are many ways in which Brainshark might prove beneficial to our business. Some organizations have found that it's an extremely useful tool for measuring customer engagement with content before using these insights to prioritize follow up. But Brainshark is equally valuable as an internal company tool which can be used to improve sales training and to ensure that sales managers have access to the same resources.

As a result, we can implement best practice across our entire organization and can update training materials instantly and their knowledge that our entire sales team will be on the same page.

Custom Show

The Custom show is more of a content management platform and it's one which is especially good for building presentations that can be shown to the client. When it comes to creating eye-catching slideshows and marketing content that strongly branded, custom show excels, making it very easy for the sales team to assemble content quickly.

We can use the custom show to host online emails and to send and share presentations by email and on various device types. Customs Show also allows us to access all of our content online and offline wherever we are. So on ourselves,f teams are out in the field they know they've got a bank of high-quality content at their disposal on aren't reliant on a good wifi connection to be able to do their job.

Features include:

  • Access to a library of all our media in one place including brand logos on videos
  • Obtain our entire content and training materials library at the push of a button
  • Allow us to customize a specific slide to suit the customer needs.
  • Deliver online and offline presentations and a variety of former including powerpoint and pdf
  • Deliver presentations in person on tablet or laptop with a video that's optimized to suit the device type.
  • Send secure and trackable links that can be viewed on the web
  • Stream web meetings
  • View presentation metrics so we can see who's been viewing particular presentations and for how long ?

Use Case

Imagine putting together a library of slick and professional presentations that show off our product range, complete with HD video and audio.

Using custom show sales team can now go and visit customers face to face and show them strongly branded content which is going to look great on whatever device they are using and which will provide a consistent user experience.

Sales team could also do the same through email by reaching out to prospects and sending them a custom link to view a web-based version of the same presentation.

Based on the analytical insight we'll receive from customs show, we can then reach out to the prospects who have been most engaged and can send them to follow up content or arrange to set up a meeting.

Benefits for B2B

For B2B sellers in particular, Sales engagement platforms are extremely useful. They provide a clear indication of where a prospect is that in the buying process on there make it easier for sales teams to do their job by giving them instant access to the resources they need.

Whether it's sending out personalized emails and then tracking their open rate or creating presentations on the go, Sales engagement platforms proved their worth once we get close to the point of purchase. Given the effort is taken to nurture prospects this far, we can't afford to lose them at the last moment.

That's the value of cells, engagement software. It gives our sales teams the resources they need to get it.

Key Takeaways

Let us summarize what we learned in this tutorial so far:

  • Personalized content is a must for businesses that want to engage with customers in a meaningful way.
  • Delivering personalized content shows that we care about our customer's interests and value them as individuals.
  • Google was recognized personalized content and rank your web pages more favorably on account of the increased engagement.
  • Consider the buying cycle when creating content so that we can deliver our marketing messages at the optimum time.
  • Thought leaders aim to stand out online through publishing timely and authoritative information that is ahead of the curve.
  • To become a Thought Leader, we need to be seen in the spaces where our target audience is contributing and developing content they will enjoy.
  • Successful Thought Leadership strategies can significantly reduce our customer acquisition costs and increase brand value.
  • A content creation calendar strategy allows us to plan out our campaigns in advance and to become better organized at implementing them.
  • A calendar also makes it easier to review the effectiveness of campaigns and to ensure that brand positioning is consistent across different platforms.
  • There are numerous calendar tools available, some of which will integrate with our CMS.
  • Planning ahead will help us respond to seasonal trends and capitalize on our industry’s sales cycle.
  • Multi-channel campaigns give us more touch points to measure our success and determine whether we're getting a return on our investment.
  • It's important to set clearly defined goals before launching a multi-channel campaign.
  • A successful multi-channel campaign is one which reaches our target buyer personas and generates overwhelmingly positive engagement.
  • With each campaign, we should be able to measure such metrics as the cost per sale or lead.
  • A Sales Engagement platform can be used to manage, measure and nurture the customer's engagement.
  • It can also be used to follow up on prospects who have shown the most interest while that interest is still piqued.
  • Sales engagement tools also facilitate digital listening so we can see which slides have attracted the most scrutiny and by whom.
  • Popular sells engagement tours include Customers Show, Brainshark, and Clear Slide.

Conclusion

With this we conclude the 'Engage With Your Customers' tutorial.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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