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Do B2B Salespeople Need To Create Content? (YES! Like… Right Now!)

Sam Dunning is a marketing expert who has helped start-ups through to well-known brands get results via digital marketing strategies.

In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Sam answers the common question of why B2B salespeople need to start creating content and the massive benefits of doing so.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Sam Dunning
Sales Director and Co-Owner of Web Choice UK

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast.

 

Sam Dunning:

You see people in your feed. They’re posting each and every day and they’re actually giving genuine insights. They’re saying, “Look, I spoke to this customer last week. They asked me about this. Here’s some tips.” Or they’re giving videos to actively help you, whether it’s sales, whether it’s marketing, all these different kinds of tips. And over time, I think, wow, they’ve got so much knowledge in this space and they’re openly sharing it without asking for the details from me. They must know what they’re talking about.

 

Sam Dunning:

So it goes without saying, you need to start creating content that’s going to be relevant to them and thinking about questions that clients are coming to you whether each day in and day out, and ways that you can bring insights, ways that you can bring value and mixing up your content. Not just doing text posts but doing a video and all sorts.

 

Will Barron:

Hello sales nation. My name is Will Barron and I’m the host of The Salesman Podcast, the world’s most downloaded B2B sales show. On today’s episode we have the legend that is Sam Dunning and he is the co-owner and sales director of Web Choice UK, which you can find over at webchoiceuk.com. And on today’s episode we’re asking the question, “Do salespeople need to create content and spoiler alerts?” Yes, of course you do if you want to have success in modern B2B sales.

 

Will Barron:

Everything that we talk about in this episode is available in the show notes over at salesman.org. And with that said, let’s jump right into it.

 

Selling Skills Versus Content Creation Skills. Which One is More Important in This Day and Age? · [01:25] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So in today’s episode, we’re going to get into why salespeople need to create content. And I might be making a presumption here, so I’ll tee up that presumption with this first question Sam. In the world that we’re currently living in, people working from home, content seems more important than ever, from my perspective, is… Which is more important to create new revenue? Is it the skill of creating content or is it the skill of being able to, for example, sell on the phone?

 

Sam Dunning:

It’s a tough question and I’m not sure if there is one specific answer. I think… I mean, If we start from scratch, I think in the future, possibly content could be… I always say content is key because it’s a big part of what I do. And perhaps if I start with a little story about myself Will, it might give us some context and help the audience understand how it’s helped me.

 

Sam Dunning:

Probably about eight to 12 months ago, I set myself a little task of creating content on, in my case, LinkedIn. Because just like everyone listening in, I’m a B2B sales professional, and I thought, Hey, I’ve been neglecting LinkedIn. I think if I can put content out each and every day, something that’s hopefully going to be a bit of value. Whether it’s a tip, whether it’s a little video, maybe it’s a question that I’ve had from my clients or prospects. It’s just giving insights really into what I do, questions I get on a day to day and just really trying to help people with sales or in my case, marketing as well, it could be of use. So I set myself that task to post each and every day. And over time, magically, I started getting people messaging me on LinkedIn from the content that I was putting out and saying, “Look, Sam, can you help me with this project?” or “I’ve got this project in mind.”

 

Sam Dunning:

This took weeks, this takes months. It’s not an overnight thing. Other people say, “Sam, you’ve sprung out from literally nowhere. I see all this content that you’re engaging on, all this content you’re putting out. First of all, who are you? Second of all, can you help me?”

 

Sam Dunning:

So, in my case, well the content has been a huge part of helping me get thought leadership, helping me get inbound leads and helping build brand or trust with people that I’m perhaps already talking to, or thinking about doing business with, or people thinking about doing business with me, which we can perhaps tap into a bit more later.

 

“Sales skills are still key. Even if you can generate the lead, if you can’t have a conversation with a prospect and bring them some sort of insight, show that you know what you’re talking about, understand their world, understand any potential problems they may be facing and if your product or service can actually help fix those and make their life better or make their world better, then it’s kind of the two evils.” – Sam Dunning · [03:50] 

 

Sam Dunning:

But on the flip side, is it more important than being able to sell on the phone? Well, I still don’t think it’s quite there yet, even though I’m a big believer in content. Obviously I run a digital marketing company, so I’m selling to people day in and day out. Sales skills are still key. Even if you can generate the lead, if you can’t have a conversation with a prospect and bring them some sort of insight to show that you know what you’re talking about, understand their world, understand any potential problems they may be facing and if your product or service can actually help fix those and make their life better or make their world better, then it’s kind of the two evils. They weigh up against each other, if that makes sense?

 

Will Barron:

Of course. It’s chicken and egg, isn’t it? How are you going to close the lead if you can’t generate them? How are you going to generate leads or how are you going to close leads if, well, whatever the opposite of that terrible anecdote was.

 

How to Stay Top of Mind When Targeting a Prospect By Genuinely Engaging with Their Content on LinkedIn · [04:27]

 

Will Barron:

Okay, well, two things here Sam. I think you’re slightly underselling yourself and I’m interested as to whether you popping onto my radar, just by commenting on every single piece of content that we publish on LinkedIn, which is greatly appreciated. Whether this was look or whether there’s actually strategy behind it. Because Sam, is it as simple as if we want to get in front of a B2B buyer, we just comment on all their posts or is there further strategy behind that to make it not annoying and kind of add to the conversation?

 

Sam Dunning:

Yeah, so I guess in my case, I had it quite good. Because in your case Will, I’ve been a huge fan of the show, like I said, for a long time. So it was in my interest, because I’m genuinely interested in the content that you put out, as should other sales professionals. Your own personal development, so whether that’s podcasts, whether that’s watching videos, whether that’s audio, is going to be a good thing to set in sales. But without going down that obstacle, that’s why I was actively interested in the content you’re putting out.

 

Sam Dunning:

But if you’re actually engaging in people’s content that you want to do business with, so whether these are prospects that you’ve added, in this case we’re talking about LinkedIn so you’ve added those to your connection, or whether it’s people that have come inbound and you’re having a conversation with them and then you’ve added them on LinkedIn, perhaps, and then you start engaging with your content.

 

Sam Dunning:

It keeps you front of mind. So if you’re commenting on their posts, if you’re saying, “Look, this video you just put out was great. In fact, I talked about this last week to a customer, have you considered X, Y, Z?” It just strikes a conversation and in my opinion, it’s just a great way to keep front of mind throughout the process. For example, I’ve had deals where people have come inbound, perhaps through our website, and we’ve had conversations, they’ve gone cold, but because of the content that I was putting out on LinkedIn, because I was putting out videos daily, I was putting out posts daily and all different bits and pieces, then they’ve come back just because they followed the content.

 

Sam Dunning:

In fact, without going down too much of a rabbit hole, there was one deal where I was talking to someone, I think it was on email or perhaps LinkedIn chat, and he asked for a call. So he wanted to discuss a sales project. I had a phone call with him, and at the time, it had been a really long day. So it was about… I don’t know, just before [5:00] PM. I’d had a day of it. I’d had a bunch of sales calls. I was starting to get tired, I was getting hungry and I was getting thirsty. Anyway, he said, “Sam, can you help me with this project?” And it was an okay priced sale but I rushed the sales process. So instead of understanding his world, instead of understanding his needs and objectives for why he’d reached out to me and if we could help him do business, I rushed it. So I didn’t follow a process. I just said, “Look, this is going to be the price. In this case, maybe five grand. Do you want to take it or do you want to leave it and part ways as friends?” Which is terrible. Don’t ever do that. And he said, “I need to think about it.” Which again, is a seller’s worst nightmare. And I think a week later he emailed me saying he went with someone else.

 

Sam Dunning:

Anyway, I thought nothing of it, carried on doing my daily content creation as well as my other tasks. About three, four months later Will, he reached out to me. He said, “Sam, I’ll be honest with you. When we spoke before I thought you were very rude and I didn’t like it. But since then, from the content you’re putting out, I can see you’re genuinely passionate about what you do. You’re actually giving tips and insights each and every day. And I want to do some business with you. Can we discuss this project?” I was like, “Woah.” So that just shows the power of just being present in people’s minds. Even when you think you’ve really pissed someone off, they can come back because of what you’re putting out each day in and each day out.

 

Will Barron:

I could share 50 anecdotes that’d be similar here, Sam. This actually came up on a podcast last week and it’s on my to do list. Literally on my iPad there’s a line that’s essentially research this topic because I want to see if there’s any data on it.

 

How Much of Staying Top of Mind Comes Down to Strategically Positioning Yourself Enough Times In Front of the Buyer and Building Trust? · [08:13] 

 

Will Barron:

But how much of staying top of mind, creating content, being in front of people, commenting, follow up over email, phone calls. How much of the effect that that has, do you think comes down to just sheer impressions of your name and face in front of someone versus you actually having to add content to them? Because I’m convinced if you put me and my face and salesman.org in front of enough people, in front of one person, enough times over a long enough period, people eventually just go, “It’s probably all right this, I’ll check it out.” I’m convinced that that’s the fact.

 

Sam Dunning:

To be honest with you, as much as I shouldn’t as a digital marketer stroke salesperson, I do agree with you. Because it’s happened to me. I see people in my feed, and we can move this away from LinkedIn in a sec to other channels, but you see people in your feed. They’re posting each and every day and they’re actually giving genuine insights. They’re saying, “Look, I spoke to this customer last week. They asked me about this. Here’s some tips.” Or they’re giving videos to actively help you, whether it’s sales, whether it’s marketing, all these different kinds of tips. And over time, I think, wow, they’ve got so much knowledge in this space and they’re openly sharing it without asking for details from me. They must know what they’re talking about.

 

Sam Dunning:

So when I need that service, let’s say they we’re selling a CRM solution, I’m probably going to reach out to them because I see them every day. I trust them. I see these text posts, I see these videos posts, I see these image posts. They must know what they’re talking about so I believe what they’re selling and I’m going to reach out to them. I think it is a case of staying in front of mind and over time that compounds interest and you feel that they’re the ones to reach out to.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. And I guess there’s two layers to this, right? There is probably, and again I genuinely want to sit down and research this, there’ll be some cognitive bias somewhere when we see someone’s face a number of times, we trust them. I’m sure there’ll be data on that.

 

Staying Top of Mind is Recognising That The Buyer Might Not Be Ready to Buy. But When They Are, You Become The Go-to Person · [10:01] 

 

Will Barron:

But then you mentioned something there, which is interesting, which is the time dilemma or being at the right place at the right time dilemma. So we can all cold email, cold call someone. And if it’s not the right moment for them, well, you can have a good crack at trying to sell them and influence them and try and convince them that this is the right time but at a certain point, you’re just trying to manipulate them to get the deal.

 

Will Barron:

Probably a smarter strategy is to do what you outlined then, of consistent, regular, just small bits of value and communication, staying top of mind. Essentially what advertising has done for a hundred years with Coca Cola being on every billboard, or back in the day, Malborough being on the back of Formula One racing cars and everywhere else. I’m convinced that there’s just impression, impression, impression. Then, when you come to make a decision, because you’ve had a need, the situation has changed, you’ve had a trigger event, they’re the person you’re going to go to by default aren’t they?

 

Sam Dunning:

Exactly. And that’s it really. So whether it is someone that you’ve spoken to in the past, whether it is connections you’ve built up or people in your network, then the whole main element of it is that because you’re constantly on the top of their feed, because you’re consistent, because you’re showcasing you actually know what you’re talking about, over time it is building that trust element and they’re going to be the one that you reach out to.

 

“In this day and age, and as we drive forward the next few years, it’s going to be so crucial that you’re creating content. Why? Because you can’t rely on marketing to hand your leads. And we all know cold calling is getting harder and harder, especially right now with everyone being at home.” – Sam Dunning · [11:34] 

 

Sam Dunning:

And taking this in another angle Will, on the content basis, I’ve had many arguments or let’s say constructive debates with people on LinkedIn that say, “Sellers shouldn’t be marketers.” And I completely disagree. What I feel is, well, I’m going to disagree because I’m a marketer stroke seller. So what I mean by that, is that I actually think in this day and age, and as we drive forward the next few years, it’s going to be so crucial that you’re creating content. Why? Because you can’t rely on marketing to hand your leads. And we all know cold calling is getting harder and harder, especially right now with everyone being at home. So you need their direct dials, you need their mobiles to get through to it, and a lot of the time if they see an unknown number, they’re probably not going to pick it up.

 

Sam Dunning:

So content is a way to break through. It’s a way to actually drive your own inbound leads rather than having to dial all day or do cold emails all day. It’s a way to say, “Hey, marketing aren’t giving me that many leads. Let’s generate my own pipeline.” So as well as the inbound leads, as well as my cold outreach, I’ve got my own steady flow of warm leads. So if I’m doing my LinkedIn posts daily, if I’m engaging with my network, that’s one source.

 

“It’s no longer a case of “I’m a salesperson, I want to do my nine to five.” I believe if you want to continually smash and beat your quota, beat your revenue goals, you’ve got to go above and beyond. You’ve got to do above what every other seller does, and a part of that, many people listening to this might hate me for saying, you’ve got to create content. You can’t rely on marketing to do the tough work for you.” – Sam Dunning · [12:40] 

 

Sam Dunning:

And then perhaps we can talk about this in a sec Will. Ultimately creating content comes down to what you’re comfortable with. Now, if you’re B2B sales person, it goes without saying, you should be on LinkedIn. But other options you may want to consider are things like what we’re doing now, a podcast. Whether that’s creating your own or going on other people’s. Looking at a blog. And ultimately, you’ve got to decide what form channels of content you’re comfortable with, but it’s no longer a case of “I’m a sales person, I want to do my nine to five.” I believe if you want to continually smash and beat your quota, beat your revenue goals, you’ve got to go above and beyond. You’ve got to do above what every other seller does. And apart of that, many people listening to this might hate me for saying, you’ve got to create content. You can’t rely on marketing to do the tough work for you.

 

Will Barron:

For sure. And I think it’s worth underlying here that I don’t believe that this is a hamster wheel that you get on and you have to create content forever and you never get off it, right? And I-

 

Sam Dunning:

No, no, no. It’s got to be a balance.

 

Will Barron:

Well, I think that more so than a balance, there’s a compounding effect of all of this. So I now produce less content than what I did three years ago, four years ago. We were almost, well, we were daily at one point with the podcast. And once that big, if you imagine a big flywheel for the audience, once that gets to turning, then you can slow down and perhaps focus on quality, or you can focus on going on other people’s podcasts and building that bit of PR and building yourself as an expert in the industry. Things we talk about on the show all of the time.

 

Why You Need to Focus More on Creating Content That You’re Comfortable with and Targeting Platforms Your Customers Frequent · [13:49] 

 

Will Barron:

But with that said, you mentioned the word, “Being comfortable” here, Sam. What does it mean if we are choosing a content platform or type of content that we are comfortable to produce? Should we all just be doing LinkedIn because that’s performing the best? Or should we focus in on what perhaps, naturally what we’re going to be better suited up?

 

Sam Dunning:

Yep. So it goes without saying, and I know you’ve had a lot of guests that have talked about going on LinkedIn. So that’s a no brainer. If you’re B2B sales professional, your ideal customer is probably going to be on there. So it goes without saying, you need to start creating content that’s going to be relevant to them. And thinking about questions that clients are coming to you with each day in and day out. And ways that you can bring insights, ways that you can bring value and mixing up the content, not just doing text posts or doing video and all sorts. Then-

 

What Does it Mean to Share Insights? · [14:34] 

 

Will Barron:

Sorry, Sam to interrupt. Just pause on that for a second. What does it mean to create… to share an insight, right? What would be an example of yourself doing that?

 

Sam Dunning:

Yeah, sure. So, I mean, there’re tonnes of ways that I come up with content ideas. I’m fortunate because I’ve got a podcast running, so I can use snippets of that and chop up bits and pieces of that where I need to. Also, sometimes… let’s say I’m on a call with a prospective client or existing customer. They might say… In my case, I’m in digital marketing world so they’re a sales and marketer too. So they might say, “Look, how can I get more inbound leads from my website?” So I’ll say, “Look, I was asked this today. This is the answer. This is probably going to be useful to people in my network.” So I put it out as a question on LinkedIn.

 

“So, (insights) it’s essentially making notes on my phone when things come into my head and using those. Using real questions I get asked in the real world. Using other interviews that I get to chop bits and pieces up. So it’s actually using different things that happen to you, taking notes of those things, and then using those as content. So it doesn’t come to [9:00] AM in the morning and you’ve started your day and then you’re struggling to think of content.” – Sam Dunning · [15:39] 

 

Sam Dunning:

Or it might just be that I’m taking the dog out for a walk, something comes to my mind. I might think… I think it was yesterday or the day before, I said, “Saying ‘cold calling is dead’ is like saying ‘SEO is dead’. It’s a load of BS. You can still reach your ideal customers.” So, it’s essentially making notes on my phone when things come into my head and using those. Using real questions I get asked in real world. Using other interviews that I get to chop bits and pieces up. So it’s actually using different things that happen to you, taking notes of those things and then using those as content. So it doesn’t come to [9:00] AM in the morning and you’ve started your day and then you’re struggling to think of content. You’ve already got this list that you’re starting to compile from things that actually happen in your working day or when you’re out and about, so you can use it as a useful bit and piece of content.

 

Sam’s LinkedIn Posting Process and How to Make Content Creation a Part of Your Routine · [15:58] 

 

Will Barron:

Do you use any tools to schedule on LinkedIn? Are you doing this in real time? As in you’re walking your dog, you pull out your phone and you just throw that out there. How do you manage all of this? Because I find… and I do this personally, depending on… I have a couple of members on our team that’s on my back constantly to post otherwise I’d be super scatty with it all. How do you make this part of your routine?

 

Sam Dunning:

Yeah. I am probably not the best example, but I just use my phone app. So I just use the iPhone notes app and just put a whole bunch of ideas as they come into my head so I don’t forget them. Drill them down on there and I just tend to do my posts in the morning. So eight in the morning or whenever I come back from the gym. I’ll just chuck those posts up at eight o’clock each morning and then I’ve got them ready. And like I said, I don’t have to worry because I’ve already made the list of the things on my phone, so I don’t have to panic and mess about in the morning and waste time. I can just focus on the productivity for the day and get selling, really. But going-

 

Will Barron:

That’s the perfect example. Why did you just say you might not be a good example? That is the best way to go about doing it. Have a little bit of a backlog so if you’re not feeling inspired in that moment, and then you’ve got it in your notes to copy and paste it over. That’s perfect. Right?

 

How to Settle on The Type of Content You Want to Create · [17:07]

 

Sam Dunning:

Yeah, man. And going back to your question about channels you’re comfortable with. Comfortable is probably not the best answer. So I’ll give you a quick example of myself. So I started a podcast back in December of this year. Why did I do it? Because I love sales. I love learning from people smarter than me much like yourself Will, and I wanted to get some leads for myself. It gives me a chunk of content to put on LinkedIn because I can use the video. I can recite it for blogs and I can split up all this content into good stuff. So that helps me build brand.

 

Sam Dunning:

I wasn’t necessarily comfortable. So as you know Will, I managed to get you as one of the first guests on the show because I was engaging in all your content regularly, trying to ask you insightful questions and all this and that. And eventually managed to convince you to come on the show. And yeah, as you were seeing from my podcast, I started pretty nervous. I was umming and ahhing all the time. I was sweating. My podcast background looked terrible. My audio was probably awful. My internet was terrible. And over time you get more and more comfortable. The production gets better, but the key is to start. So comfortable is probably not the best word. You probably do need to come out of your comfort zone.

 

Sam Dunning:

But even if you’re not comfortable with the podcast, other forms of creating content might be just doing interviews. So whether that’s a Zoom interview with your ideal customers, maybe even without video, maybe just audio or maybe starting your own blog. But the key is to start creating. And I’m not saying content is the be-all and end-all, it could only take an hour of your day. But it’s something you need to slowly start over time. Because like I say, you cannot rely on marketing to constantly pass you your leads. You need to go out there. You need to break out of your comfort zone and start creating.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. Maybe we should have said this from the top of the show, right. I feel like there’s two types of salespeople who are listening to this. And both are appropriate and both are fine. I’ve got no beef with that. One salesperson wants to go to work. They want to pick up the phone. They want to send some emails. They want to hit the target just about and they’re happy. And that provides them with whatever funds they want for their lifestyle and they’re happy with that.

 

Will Barron:

Then you’ve got another salesperson who is perhaps scared that if they just did the basics, that they just hit target that they’re essentially fallible but they could be… Especially in the time that we’re living in right now, with COVID, they could be made redundant. And so they want to go one step further. They want to create content. They want to become known as an expert. They want to become, essentially, anti-fragile as a salesperson.

 

Multi-Threading: The Creative Use of Pillar Content and Breaking it Down to Multiple Reusable Content · [19:28] 

 

Will Barron:

So just to kind of prerequisite the rest of the conversation on these lines, I feel like if you want to go down that second route, you’re doing what we did with one thread and I’ll explain how we’re multi threaded in this in a second. But we just started with The Salesman Podcast, which then we broke down into a blog post, which then, quotes from the guests became images that we shared on social media. And so we started with a couple of interviews a week. And then that turns into, over time, 30, 40 pieces of content from each interview.

 

Will Barron:

And I feel like, tell me if you agree with this Sam, I feel like that’s a really good starting point for someone. It could be a YouTube video. It could be a long form blog post. Whatever it is, I feel like we should create one piece of solid content a week and then break that open to sub bits of content that all point back to the original source. And I found when I’ve been teaching this over at salesman.org, that’s the best way we’ve found to build thought leadership in a short amount of time.

 

Sam Dunning:

Definitely, definitely. So this is kind of bringing out the marketing side of me, but it’s going to be useful for salespeople alike. So like you say, a podcast is an awesome piece of pillar content because you can record it on Zoom or Skype like we’re doing. And then from there, you’ve got maybe 30, 40, maybe an hour interview that you can break up into so much usable content. And especially if your show is lined up, so you’re actually interviewing ideal customers or you’re interviewing people that you could potentially do business with, or you’re sharing insights with this interview that’s going to be useful to your network and as a piece of that, could get you leads over time.

 

Sam Dunning:

Then you’ve got the video. Like you say, you put it out to YouTube, you’ve got the audio that you can put out on the podcast channels, and then you can snip it up. It doesn’t take much time to edit it up. You can break those down into 60 second snippets that you can put, like you say, out on social. You can put it into crits. There’s so much reusable content on what we call one piece of pillar content. And like you say, you’ve only got to do one interview a week and you’re away.

 

Sam Dunning:

Going back to your first point Will, there’s two types of salespeople, completely agree. And I’m definitely on the second fence. So you’ve got the people that want to do nine to five, want to just about hit target or maybe sometimes miss target and they’re happy to earn a bit of cash. Or you’ve got the second people. Second branch of people who understand sales is a profession where you can earn a heck of a lot of more than your friends and your colleagues and your family. Some of which will hate you for it. Some of which will respect you for it. But what that means in my personal opinion, is that you need to be not scared or not afraid of going above and beyond. So that means, yes, you might need to spend some time on the weekends as I’m sure you do as well Will. Yes, you might need to spend some hours before nine to five.

 

“I think most of the salespeople that come on your show will probably agree that if you’re just in it for the standard hours, you’re probably not going to do as well as you could. And I’m not saying you need to work all the time. I do agree you need a work-life balance, but it’s just going that extra mile.” – Sam Dunning · [22:18] 

 

Sam Dunning:

So salespeople you’ve heard it here first, nine to five is definitely not for you if you’re in sales. So you need to go above your comfort zone, you need to start planning what you’re going to do. So whether it’s a podcast, whether it’s actively posting on LinkedIn. And in my case, I do that outside of work hours. And putting that time aside to make these things happen otherwise you’re not going to be one of the quota breakers. And I think most of the salespeople that come on your show will probably agree that if you’re just in it for the standard hours, you’re probably not going to do as well as you could. And I’m not saying you need to work all the time. I do agree you need a work-life balance, but it’s just going that extra mile, you know?

 

How to Create Content That is Genuine and True Even if it Makes You Slightly Uncomfortable · [22:50] 

 

Will Barron:

And if you could hear, Sam, giggling in the middle of heavy as there, flailing around in the background to try to plug the MacBook in because it’s throwing up all kinds of low battery messages.

 

Will Barron:

So, with that said then Sam, there’s one thing… and you’ve said this, I’ve highlighted it on the page here. You said the word “genuine” at the top of the show. Now, I have no idea what context you said that in, but that word seemed important as you said it. So how do we do all of this? Because I guess, we’re almost talking as if marketers here, right? And I feel the difference between, or one of the key differences between sales and marketing is that salespeople are representing themselves as an individual. So you can be entirely genuine versus most marketers are representing a brand. They’re telling a story about avatars and people that don’t really exist. And so they can push the truth. They can spin it a little bit. So how do we create content that is genuine and true to ourselves and perhaps makes us slightly uncomfortable?

 

“If you’re creating content, I think, first of all, you’ve got to be sold either on what your product or service is. Or if not, if you’re not actually interested or keen on what your product or service is, you’ve got to be passionate about the outcomes. So how it actually helps people.” – Sam Dunning · [23:40] 

 

Sam Dunning:

Sure. Well, I think if you’re creating content, I think first of all, you’ve got to be sold either on what your product or service is. Or if not, if you’re not actually interested or keen on what your product or service is, you’ve got to be passionate about the outcomes. So how it actually helps people. So even if it is a boring generic product, whether it’s CRM software or something simple, not that I’m saying CRM is boring, but you might find it boring. You’ve got to be pose in a way that helps people. So it helps people speed up their workflow. It helps them get on the phones to sell more because they don’t have to do the manual task of putting all the data into the CRM that we all know loads of self professionals. So that’s part of it, actually being passionate about your product or how it helps.

 

Sam Dunning:

And then from there, it’s putting across, like we were saying, genuine insights in what you’re creating that you’ve spoken to people about in the past, perhaps in your conversations over the phone, perhaps through questions that prospects have talked to you about, perhaps through stories that you’ve shared with prospects or maybe case studies. So maybe you’ve had a client that you’ve taken from… Let’s go back to the CRM example that was struggling with all the data and time it was taking them to do their CRM updates. Maybe it was taking them 30 minutes or 40 minutes each and every day to add all their leads and add all their cold calls in there. And then you introduce your software and then they had all this free time left in their day to sell. And as a result of that, their revenue went up by 10% each month.

 

Sam Dunning:

So, it’s sharing these stories, sharing these ways that you’ve helped people. And that’s a great content piece in itself because that can be put into a video, that can be put into text posts, that can be used in your actual conversations you’re having with people on the phone. So yeah, it’s an element of several things Will. And yeah, I think that’s a big part of it, really.

 

“I think passion and genuineness are a big part of the selling profession.” – Sam Dunning · [25:50] 

 

Sam Dunning:

I think having that passion in some element of what you do, is quite important. Because personally for me, I’ve sold things in the past in my younger years. I sold ink cartridges over the phone and whilst that was a very profitable thing, I was stuck at selling a heck of a lot of ink to old people answering me at mid-day. It kind of felt bad because over time I was thinking these people are only buying from me because there’s someone to talk to and probably all their kids have left home and all this and that, and there was no longevity in it really. So I think that’s a big part, I think passions and genuineness is a big part of the selling profession in my opinion.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah, I love that. And I’ll just share my thoughts on this, in that I, until the past 12 months ago, didn’t care about sales trading at all. The only thing I cared about was getting myself, my audience and even our internal team over at salesman.org better results. And it wasn’t until I’d put in… we’ve been doing this show about five years and we’ve had our own training product for say two or three years now, it wasn’t until I started to learn, I wanted to have the outcome of better outcomes for all our members over at salesman.org and people who listen to the podcast. It wasn’t until that was my main focus that I realised that, oh, most sales trading sucks. That’s why I don’t like it. Because it’s boring as shit. So then I started reading books on education and teaching and how to explain things.

 

Will Barron:

There’s a cracking book. I think it’s called… I think it’s just called Explainers. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes for this episode. And it’s all about just how to explain, either complicated science or complicated business terminology or how a product works. And just using that simple framework has allowed me to improve my, I guess, student outcomes dramatically. And so I’m now really passionate about education and sales training when I wasn’t before.

 

Why You Need to Focus on Finding That One Content, Industry, or Platform Mix That Will Get Your Content Flywheel Spinning · [27:37]

 

Will Barron:

So the point of that run was, that as long as you can find one thing in the mix, whether it’s your product, whether it’s your industry or whether it’s your customers, whether it’s your customer’s customers. If you were selling products to teachers, you might not really care about the teacher’s experience, but you might really care about how the kids benefit from the backend of it. As long as you can find one thing to focus on that will motivate you to get this content flywheel spinning, passion tends to come up on the back of all this. I don’t know if you’ve had any experiences that are similar to that Sam.

 

Sam Dunning:

Yeah, I was going to say, and there’s multiple elements to that really. Like you say, it comes at the start of the sale. You come across genuine, you come across actually interested when you’re talking to your potential clients and the conversations that you have, it gives you ideas to put out content. And then when you’re actually servicing the client, when you’re actually delivering the product or checking how the solution is going, if you’re invested in it, if you’re actually having conversations with them a few months after they’ve bought saying, “Look, how’s things going, how are you getting on?” Making sure that perhaps your technical team that’s actually delivering the product is doing the best they can, making sure your customer is getting the best use of the product that they can and you’re answering questions that they might have based on experience with other customers.

 

“We all know the stats that show how hard it is to get a new customer compared to keeping your existing ones. So if you show genuine curiosity in how things are going with existing clients, it means you’ve got to spend less time scrapping about creating content, less time making cold outreach because you’re maintaining your existing customer base through being genuine through being passionate about their outcomes, which in result, is going to help you hit your quotas or break your quotas and obviously make more commissions.” – Sam Dunning · [28:24] 

 

Sam Dunning:

It shows that you’re genuinely invested in them and they’re more likely to be a customer for the longterm. I mean, we all know the stats that show how hard it is to get a new customer compared to keeping your existing ones. So if you show genuine curiosity in how things are going with existing clients, it means you’ve got to spend less time scrapping about creating content, less time making cold outreach, because you’re maintaining your existing customer base through being genuine through being passionate about their outcomes, which in result, is going to help you hit your quotes or break your quotes and obviously make more commissions.

 

Sam Talks About His Process for Consistently Generating New Leads for His Organisation · [28:56] 

 

Will Barron:

For sure, for Sure. Okay. So we’ll wrap up the Sam. So clearly you’re co-founder of an organisation. You’re the sales director over there, right. What are you doing right now in the kind of time we’re living in, in the middle of COVID where LinkedIn has just seemingly turned down the reach on their algorithm. So people that have been throwing content on LinkedIn have been complaining about this for the past couple of weeks or so. What are you doing personally, content wise with all this in mind, right this second to generate new leads?

 

Sam Dunning:

Sure. So, I’ll go through it from head to toe, really. As you know, I’m doing a podcast, so that’s a big part of what I do. And like we talked about repurposing, we do a lot. So we actually put the podcast out live on LinkedIn. So as a live video call, and in my case, I interview all kinds of business leaders, business experts, and sales experts. One, because they’re smarter than me, two because they give value to my network and three, because they’re linked to… We offer digital marketing solutions. So we can talk about digital marketing. We can talk about sales. We can talk about business growth, give value to the audience. But my point is, it goes as a live podcast on LinkedIn, it gets then chopped up to YouTube, gets chopped up through the audio channels, gets chopped up into smaller clips, blog posts, all these beautiful re-purposing channels that I can then put in as content daily for my LinkedIn feed.

 

Sam Dunning:

So that’s one way that I build trust with, for my network. And that helps me get leads and build credibility over time. Otherwise, yes, I’m putting out content daily on LinkedIn. Text only posts has got the best reach. Like you say, the LinkedIn algorithm has been absolutely hammered. So you’ve still got to create. It’s just annoying. It’s harder than before.

 

Sam Dunning:

Other ways, if we keep on LinkedIn for a sec. On connecting, even if you’re on a basic account you can connect with up to 50 new connections per day. So if you sell, for example, to marketing directors, to sales directors, whatever your ideal customer profile is, it still makes sense to connect with those and over time they’ll create your content, you build trust with them.

 

Sam Dunning:

And other ways, is yeah, I mean, a big part of what we do, is YouTube, is the podcast, we’re pushing that out. We’re doing the blog, we’re-

 

Sam Reveals The Platform and Type of Content That Generates Most Leads for His Organisation · [30:53]

 

Will Barron:

What do you see the most traction on? What one thing do you do Sam from a leads perspective? Forget about the marketing, eyeballs and brand and all that bullshit. What do you do? Or what do you say? Or where’d you put it that people go, “Hey Sam, can you tell me more about this? I think we have this problem.”

 

“The biggest way I get content is actually thinking about problems or issues that my ideal customer faces in their day to day and working that out without shoving my product or service down people’s necks, working out questions that I get on my day to day around that, I can purpose into content.” – Sam Dunning · [31:25] 

 

Sam Dunning:

Yeah. So I think the most important thing is to work out that social media… So in my case, a lot of my leads aren’t from our website are through LinkedIn. So, the biggest way I get content is actually thinking about problems or issues that my ideal customer face in their day to day and working that out without shoving my product or service down people’s necks, working out questions that I get on my day to day around that I can purpose into content. So whether that’s when I’m out and about walking the kid, and I just think of a video, I’ll shoot that up, put it on LinkedIn. Whether that’s I had a conversation, I’ve told a story, a case study of how our product helps someone get 10% more sales or get 10% more time throughout the year, putting that out.

 

“Even if your post or your content is only getting 10 likes, as long as it’s actually useful for your ideal customer, that’s what matters. Because over time, that’s what’s going to get you the inbound inquiries, which is just what you want as a sales professional.” – Sam Dunning · [32:21] 

 

Sam Dunning:

So thinking about things in your day to day. So people make content more difficult than it is. You’ve just got to think about the conversations you’ve had. Like my earlier point, note that down on your phone app and then bang it out. And those are the ways, because people relate to it, because you’re actually telling things that are real and not making up some BS story like we see on these influencer pods or things on LinkedIn that get 10,000 comments but all the comments are saying, “Yes, I agree. I agree. You’re so cool.” We want people to actually care about what we’re putting out. Even if your posts or your content is only getting 10 likes, as long as it’s actually useful for your ideal customer, that’s what matters. Because over time, that’s what’s going to get you the inbound inquiries, which is just what you want as a self professional.

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. That is the best way to sum all this up. Don’t go after those big numbers. Even me, we generate, I think it’s like, say 20% of our revenue for the organisation comes from the podcast advertising and the different projects we run with HubSpot, Salesforce, all these organisations, right. I don’t care about, most of the time, I don’t care about hitting thousands of likes or thousands of views on a post.

 

“As soon as you start trying to manipulate things, as soon as you try to start to create content that you think will do well, even though it’s not real, or it’s got nothing to do with the product or service or it’s got nothing to do with the end goal that you have, you lose that ability to be genuine. And I think that is what salespeople have that marketers don’t.” – Will Barron · [33:20] 

 

Will Barron:

And you alluded to it there. I get asked to join these LinkedIn pods all of the time, and I turn them down because as soon as you start engaging within a pod of individuals and you’re trying to game the algorithm, it might work for a little bit, and we’ve seen LinkedIn have just turned down their algorithm right now. You’re going to probably see a tonne more ads on there. because they’re going to start turning up the percentage of ads in the feed and that side of things. Basically just turning into Facebook, right. As soon as you start trying to manipulate things, as soon as you try to start to create content that you think will do well, even though it’s not real, or it’s nothing to do with the product or service or it’s nothing to do with the end goal that you have, you lose that… I’ll come back to that word, that ability to be genuine. And I think that is what salespeople have that marketers don’t.

 

Will Barron:

I really appreciate that kind of example there Sam, of how we can just be genuine, put out content and it will generate leads if we do it for long enough and consistent enough with the right people in the right environment.

 

Parting Thoughts: Sam’s Business Growth Show · [33:50] 

 

Will Barron:

And with that Sam, I want you to tell us more about the podcast because you’ve alluded to it. I want you to tell us the name of it, where we can find it and where we can find out more about you as well sir.

 

Sam Dunning:

Sure thing, thanks very much Will. So it’s Sam’s Business Growth Show, that’s the podcast. Please do check it out. We interview business leaders each and every week to help you generate more sales. If you are partners with business, it’s going to help your business grow as well.

 

Sam Dunning:

Otherwise please do connect with me on LinkedIn. Tell me you saw me on Will’s show. It’s Sam Dunning, D.U.N.N.I.N.G for Dunning. Please do hit me up on LinkedIn.

 

Sam Dunning:

Otherwise if your business needs more clients inbound, and you’re tired of making cold calls and you want more leads through digital marketing, it’s webchoiceuk.com. Really appreciate it Will.

 

Will Barron:

You’re most welcome sir. I will link all that in the show notes of this episode over at salesman.org.

 

Will Barron:

And just a final, put a period and full stop on this, Sam didn’t exist to me a year ago, and now he comments so much, adds so much value to our community as well and is stirring up conversations in our posts that Sam is a true case study of this in practise. So I appreciate you Sam and I appreciate all you’re doing on LinkedIn, within our community. And with that one, I thank you again for joining us on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Sam Dunning:

Cheers.

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