A white paper download isn't a sales conversation. Asking for the sale is.

"Yes, Kevin, we agree that content marketing generates more publicity, traffic and leads - blah, blah, blah - but I want to sell more product now. How the heck do I do that?"

I'm hearing that more often than not these days from clients and I get it.

I get the fact that marketing, particularly content marketing and social media marketing, helps drive sales conversations in the HR marketplace, but marketing is not direct sales.

We're a marketing firm that helps define and evangelize your thought leadership, products and services that drive people to your door.

However, you've got to invite them in. That's where the sales conversation begins.

Simply put, sales includes these planets in alignment (in my mind):

Then close the deal. Easier said than done I know. That takes a different mindset than relationship building and asking for the sale. We'll be posting more on that soon.

But from a marketing perspective, I want to make something perfectly clear:

Content marketing and pure-play marketing don't create the same results and thus shouldn't have the same expectation.

For example, maybe you get hundreds of folks to sign up for your content webinars and download your white papers. We've done hundreds of them and know first hand.

Now ask those same folks to sign up for a product demo. The numbers drop dramatically and as it should be.

With content marketing you're giving them something in return for something, usually their contact info (and maybe you do ask them if they want a demo at the same time).

With pure-play marketing (demos and the like) you're asking for a sales conversation.

Get that? You're asking for a sales conversation, and unless they're part of the handful you've been nurturing, building relationships with, or even the "bluebirds" you may run across from time to time who buy outright (not common for major software/system buys of course), your response rate will reflect those who are ready to have that conversation - a much smaller number.

A white paper download isn't a sales conversation. Asking for the sale is.

Post by Kevin W. Grossman (join me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - and now join HRmarketer on Twitter!)

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