Content Versus Context

February 1, 2018 John Barrows

I’ve been following Gary V for a couple of years now, and we even spoke at Rainmaker 2016 a couple of years ago. One thing he said that has really resonated with me is if content is King, then context is God.

I couldn’t agree more with this statement and I think it’s a perfect analogy to explain the relationship and/or difference between Marketing and Sales.  Marketing is content, Sales is (or should be) context. For instance, it drives me crazy when sales reps just repost a 39 page ebook and either don’t say anything or say something simple like “good read.”  Gee, thanks.  Do you know how many 39-page ebooks I have in my “Things to Read” folder?  More than a few.  Do you know how many I’ve actually read? Less than a few.  Another pet peeve is when a sales rep gives a demo, specifically over the web/phone. I’d say 9/10 demos go something like this:

Rep to client: “Thanks for your time today. I’d like to walk you through our demo which will take about 20-30 minutes. Let me know if you have any questions as I go through everything ok? Here we go….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

And then they drone on for 20-30 minutes, covering every little aspect of the solution and barely stopping to take a breath and when they do they ask something stupid like “does that make sense?”  By the way, has anyone ever said “no” to that question? Even if they say yes, does that tell you whether or not it made sense?  Instead, here’s a tip, integrate logical pauses throughout the presentation and ask them to explain how they see that component of your solution fitting into their existing process or how it compares to what they’re doing now. The way they explain it to you will tell you whether or not it made sense.  

Back to my point about content versus context, if we as sales reps are just blasting out template e-mails, retweeting content or droning through demos without adding any context or insights then we’re no different than Marketing. And if we’re no different than Marketing then why the hell are we getting paid commissions to do what we do? Marketing can actually do all those things way better than us by the way.  They can send out template e-mails much more efficiently and way more targeted than we ever could and run the analytics to make adjustments faster than us, too.  They can auto-tweet tons of content way better and faster than we can and see who’s engaging with it. They can develop web demos that are more professional looking and engaging than we can.

I wrote a while ago about the Death of The Average Sales Rep.  The average sales rep is the one who simply shares content and will eventually be replaced.  The sales reps who will survive are the ones who will put insightful context around the content to help build their brand and thrive. Make it Happen!

2018 Executive Priorities JBarrows

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