5 Ways Thought Leadership Enables Your Sales Team

When it comes to winning business, thought leadership and demonstrating high-quality thinking reign supreme - and now it's official!

FT Longitude's (A content strategy firm owned by the Financial Times) Gareth Lofthouse authored a survey of over 2,600 senior executives, and at the top of their priority list was the "quality of a firm's ideas and their thought leadership." This places high-value content at the forefront of sales enablement, outshining conventional tactics like pricing and product strength.

The true game-changer, your competitive edge, lies in the ideas, insights and understanding that your organisation has. It puts you in pole position to win and keep business.

Here we summarise the 5 ways thought leadership can enable your sales team:

1. Understanding and Defining Customer Needs

Good thought leadership can engage your customers even before they realise and can articulate their needs. Before defining a need, comes understanding a business problem.  By identifying emerging pain points and challenges at a broad level, for example for an industry segment, you'll engage your target audience, and get them thinking about their own situation and more broadly how they can create a competitive advantage, perhaps from embracing innovation and encourage them to ponder the solutions they may require in order to do that.

2. Creating Urgency to Act on Those Needs

In an era of rampant, meaningless social posts and clickbait content, a compelling thought leadership campaign that is backed by research provides solid evidence to underpin the need for change and innovation. But it doesn't stop there - done well, it weaves captivating stories around the data, offering real-world examples that resonate with customers and drive them to act on your recommendations. Showing a prospect "what good looks like" makes something that might seem abstract, just a bunch of data points, concrete and human.

3. Priming a Preference for Your Organisation 

When organisations in your target market realise they have a problem and that problem is sufficiently painful, they enter the "learn" phase of their buying pathway and start researching the different ways the problem has been solved by others. By demonstrating a deep understanding of their challenges and providing suggestions on the best way to solve them, your organisation becomes seen as someone who can help. Done well your sales team become seen as trusted advisors and will be top-of-mind when they are looking for solutions. Your sales team have built trust before you speak with them. 

4. Providing Ideas that Resonate Across the Buyer Group

Buying is hard these days. B2B buying often involves a high degree of complexity and consensus. This creates friction in the buyer's decision path and slows down deals. (We've already written extensively about navigating complex B2B buying centres.) Winning B2B sales demands impressing and informing an increasingly diverse array of buyers and influencers.  Thought leadership, designed well, delivers targeted insights for each group, ensuring a broader impact, giving the buying group the answers they need to move forward with their buying decision. Thought leadership removes buying friction.

5. Transcending the Transactional Sale for Long-Term Value

Thought leadership empowers your sales team with data and evidence, facilitating customer decision-making and sealing deals. But the real magic lies in nurturing long-term relationships that extend beyond a transactional sale. Engaging your customers fosters ongoing consultation and idea-sharing, transforming thought leadership into a powerful sales enablement tool that fuels lasting value and ROI.

Thought leadership is an important driving force for accelerating your business growth. A Go-To-Market strategy with thought leadership at its heart is a winner. If you'd like to discuss using thought leadership in your go-to-market strategy, book a time to speak with us.

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Topics: b2b sales thought leadership Go-To-Market Strategy