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Sales Leadership
Does Thought Leadership Influence Sales Results?
Dec 6, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

Thought leadership is all the rage. Everyone is talking about how to use content to build everything from the stages of the funnel to a brand to a business. Some businesses have been producing thought leadership content for years, and attribute their growth and success to it completely. However, seasoned pros have seen success using other tactics, and are left to wonder, is it all just hype? Should we all jump on the thought leadership bandwagon? How effective is it, really? How does one produce thought leadership anyway?

Thought Leadership Impacts Sales Results

Recent data from Edelman and Linkedin shows that thought leadership does impact B2B sales results. In fact, it is a major factor in the outcome of the sale. It can influence attracting RFP opportunities, buyer preferences, and it can directly contribute to winning the sale. Content creators often underestimate the influence that thought leadership has on the sales process, which may be a result of the lack of quantifiable evidence to show its impact. Now that there is data to prove thought leadership’s critical role in engaging buyers and executives, you have every reason to begin creating it.

High-Quality Thought Leadership Impacts Results Positively…

Thought leadership refers to a broad spectrum of content. It could be videos, podcasts, e-books or whitepapers, blogs… the list goes on. It also encompasses both high-quality and low-quality content, and this is an important distinction. Edelman and Linkedin found that only high-quality content serves to have a positive impact on the sales cycle. When it is high-quality, it has a huge impact on securing the sale and premium pricing. In fact, 49% of decision-makers and 47% of C-suite executives claimed that high-quality content helped a company command a premium for their services.

…And Low-Quality Content Impacts Results Negatively

Unfortunately, decision-makers indicated that they do not gain valuable insights from thought leadership content most of the time (56%).  The amount of content available to buyers has exploded in the last few years, but the amount of quality content has not. The study found that poor-quality content led executives and decision-makers to lose respect for the organization and the amount of business it is awarded, so it is critical to produce high-quality content if you want to have a thought leadership program that delivers results.

What is High-Quality Thought Leadership?

By this point, you’re probably convinced that thought leadership will help to influence sales results, but now you need to know what high-quality thought leadership looks like. Your content needs to be relevant to your audience, address current industry topics, and be specific to the project your client is currently working on. It needs to provide insights on specific trends and challenges, and address causes and drivers for these trends. Finally, it needs to be written or produced in a consumable format, whether this is through data points, images, charts, or figures.

With thought-leadership content, your team has the power to influence the outcome of a sale. Invest in quality to reap the rewards and drive your team’s numbers.

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