How Much Sales Content is Too Much?


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big-book1“Why should I spend money on sales effectiveness content when I can get everything I need for free on the Internet?”

I heard that question too many times when I was running ES Research Group. People didn’t understand that the content ESR published was available nowhere else. Not on the Internet. Nowhere. No matter how hard we tried, we continued to have difficulty getting people to pay for what they believed they could get for free.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I was part of the problem. We published a newsletter, I wrote a blog, guest posted on other expert’s blogs, had my posts syndicated, produced podcasts, was interviewed by other sales experts, tweeted, posted on LinkedIn as well as Google+.  After all, we’re in the age of content marketing!

There really is a problem with all this content, at least for some

I’ve spoken to a few authors recently who are concerned about how few books they are selling. (I can assure you that The Challenger Sale isn’t in this category.) Those authors can tell you succinctly how the content of their book differs from the content they post online, but I’ll bet some considerable slice of their potential audience believes they don’t have to buy the book to get the content. Would those authors sell more books if they produced less content? I don’t know the answer to that. What do you think? Am I on target with this assertion?

Here are a few thoughts:

  • When you are selling a service, such as sales effectiveness training or consulting, you’re at risk when, attempting to demonstrate your thought-leadership, you give a lot away for free. When you sell a product, you can, and should, provide the market with plenty of content demonstrating thought-leadership around best-practices, case studies, testimonials, examples, etc., because the customer knows they have to pay for your product, whether its software, trucks, or group life insurance. That content (hopefully provided in exchange for the reader’s name and email address) will not erode demand.
  • If you’re a sales expert, how much are you giving away for free? Can your followers clearly state what is free to them and what additional content they have to pay for in the form of your books, your programs, your consulting, and your training? Is your top line suffering because you are trying to differentiate yourself from everyone else by the quantity of information you’re putting out there?
  • If you’re a sales expert and are employing an automated content management/marketing automation solution, such as HubSpot, are you using it the way it was designed to work? Get on SalesBenchmarkIndex‘s mailing list and see how to really leverage the right amount of free sales content in precisely the right way.
  • If you’re a salesperson or sales manager, are you sure the person who is providing more content than anyone else is giving proven, sound advice? I’m not going to name names, but every day I read content from well-known “experts” that is utterly wrong. They produce voluminous amounts of damaging advice. Free doesn’t sound so good in these cases, right?

This is what I’m doing differently.

I’m writing a book with a colleague. It’s not going to be yet another book about selling. You may have noticed that I am posting on this blog far less recently than I have in the past. That’s part of my strategy. I need to keep my content relevant, meaningful, valuable, and available in considerably smaller doses. When the book is published, there will be no question that the content will be entirely fresh, and yes, not found anywhere on the Internet—and that a lot of people will buy it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Stein
Dave specializes in helping his clients win critical B2B sales opportunities as well as helping them hire the best sales talent.Dave is co-author of Beyond the Sales Process. He wrote the best-selling How Winners Sell in 2004.


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