A core principle in any marketing endeavor is to attract more leads. Businesses we talk to rarely have too many leads; most wish the floodgates would open and drown their sales team.
But, there’s a danger in this mentality. One of the biggest hurdles companies face is attracting enough of the right kind of leads. You know — the ones who understand what the company offers and truly believe it’s the best solution for their needs.
Along our journey, a key finding has been that the quality of the lead relates to how well you educated them during their research. In short, you can attract higher quality leads by answering their most pressing questions.
In addition to our own research and findings, much of what’s written next is based on Marcus Sheridan’s groundbreaking work in They Ask, You Answer.
Why Marketing Needs to Answer Tough Questions
Let’s call out the elephant in the room. Most organizations expect marketing to do the bare minimum and for sales to handle all the “hard work.” That’s how it worked for centuries; why does it need to change now?
Simply put — because the internet happened.
In the internet age, your organization cannot wait until a prospect is in front of your sales to answer their biggest questions. Whether you’re selling to professionals or consumers, the fact is that modern buyers get as far as 70% of the way to a buying decision without the help of sales. Let that sink in.
If your organization is not providing educational resources that buyers can find during their research phase, it is statistically likely that you are losing up to 70% of the opportunities available.
Something needs to change in the way businesses market, but how can you know that your efforts will produce the best return? Here are three key indicators that answering the tough questions in marketing is worth your effort.
Answering Tough Questions Builds Trust
Trust is an essential ingredient in successfully selling a product or service. Most salespeople would likely tell you that prospects don’t trust them or the company, at first. In fact, many salespeople struggle to ever truly build trust with their prospects at any point in the sales process.
What if it were possible to use marketing to build trust before sales even entered the picture? This is more than just possible; it is, in fact, the single best way to convert more prospects into leads and leads into customers.
It’s true — you can begin building trust with a prospect long before they ever talk to anyone in your organization.
So, what does this look like in real life?
The key is for your marketing efforts to answer the tough questions boldly, for the world to see. Marcus Sheridan rightly identifies five key topics that today’s consumers expect marketing to cover:
- Pricing and cost
- Versus and comparisons
By talking openly and honestly about the things that no one else does, you build trust with your reader. Truthfully, they’re relieved to finally find a company willing to help them understand both the good and bad — the beautiful and ugly — of their product or service.
The trust you build by answering these tough questions openly makes it more likely for your prospect to continue considering your product or service and to convert into a lead.
Answering Tough Questions Educates Your Prospects
When your marketing clearly communicates about pricing, problems (reasons why it might not be the best fit for a certain customer), comparisons, reviews, and best-in-class, you’re providing them valuable education that will help them determine if your product or service is the best choice for them.
This is invaluable for your organization, as it means the prospects who become leads have likely self-educated in your resources before reaching out. This signals both higher buying intent and better qualification.
What happens if an uneducated prospect gets into sales before finding your educational content? Your astute salesperson will recognize that the prospect is asking questions already answered in your marketing, and they can provide that information for the prospect to review. This will save your salesperson valuable time and ensure that all prospects are consuming the same information.
Answering Tough Questions Benefits Your Sales Team
Leads who are better educated and already beginning to trust your organization are going to benefit your sales team, too. But, let’s dig in a little deeper as to how this works in real life.
The value of a salesperson’s time is directly related to how many qualified leads they can meet with in a given period of time. In today’s world, these are usually inbound leads generated by digital marketing. However, one of the negative sides to digital marketing is that it’s easy to fill a salesperson’s day with leads who aren’t qualified at all.
Providing education that answers tough questions and builds trust before a sales conversation means that the leads entering your contact database are truly sales-qualified. It means they already understand the negatives of your product or service and know that it’s still a good fit for them. It means that they’ve read reviews and decided to put their trust in you, not your competitor. It means they’re likely selling themselves on why they’re choosing you, and all your salesperson needs to do is facilitate the transaction.
If you could build a system that would educate future customers, build trust early, and enable your sales team to close more leads faster, why wouldn’t you?
Turning This Into Reality
If your business has yet to start educating potential customers, then it’s time to make a change. Too much is at stake, and chances are one of your competitors is going to begin educating your prospective buyers if you don’t, first.
If you have the team members and resources, you can begin brainstorming how to answer the questions your prospects are looking for during their research phase. I would highly recommend They Ask, You Answer as a guiding point for maximizing your return on effort.
However, you may lack the team or resources to turn this into a reality. That’s ok. Every day, The Coutts Agency helps businesses like yours produce educational content that accomplishes everything covered in this article. I’d invite you to schedule a consultation with me — we’ll review your marketing and sales strategies, take a look at your assets, and develop a customized plan to help you succeed!