The Role of Whitepapers in the Sales Process
Marketing campaigns often revolved around some type of lead magnet like a downloadable whitepaper.
A marketing department will create a whitepaper with the goal of showcasing a solution and use it to generate leads. But a solution does not necessarily create a market or lead to sales.
The end result is the marketing department feels they have a successful campaign when they can deliver a slew of new leads to the sales department.
How does sales react? By saying, “these leads stink.”
More often than not the people downloading whitepapers are low level information gatherers. These are not the people salespeople want to talk to.
Yet the charade continues because the sales team does have leads, which produces sales activity to meet their quotas. And many times, they are more comfortable talking to the people downloading the whitepapers, than the executives that make decisions.
How to Cross the Bridge
In an ideal scenario, the marketing department would include the sales department in their campaign planning. Together the two departments would agree upon a target audience and goals for the campaign.
Even if this does not happen, there is still value to be gained from the downloaders; it just takes a little reframing.
Sales people need to look at leads from a whitepaper as a starting point, but realize they still have to do their due diligence.
While the information gatherers are not the main target, chances are someone higher up instructed them to start gathering this information, so if nothing else, they can lead you to the right person to talk to. Go outbound on the inbound.
You might also find the people downloading the whitepapers are more aware of day-to-day problems than their bosses, which makes them an excellent source of information to identify a need, and ultimately have a more fruitful discussion once you reach the executive.
The Software Sales Bootcamp offers even more insights on an optimized approach to selling.