Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wake Them Up with the Paradoxical Approach

Feeling misunderstood? Do your clients or prospects have a popular misconception about what you deliver…or about what you should deliver? You can jar them out of their confusion—and relieve your frustration—with a snappy article or white paper that brings the misconception into focus. While your competition is doing what’s safe (and sometimes just plain boring), like playing up the company’s strengths, focusing on testimonials, or simply listing obvious benefits—you can be turning a misconception into thought leadership.

Dan McDade, founder and CEO of PointClear, was frustrated with his prospects. PointClear is a lead generation and sales development company. Prospects expected PointClear to deliver leads, leads, and more leads, at the lowest cost possible. But after 20 years in the lead generation business, McDade knows that it’s quality, not quantity, that makes a good lead gen program. Only the right kind of leads can be converted into customers. The misconception was costing PointClear valuable business opportunities.

So PointClear turned the problem on its head. Working with The Content Factor, the company created a position paper entitled: Why Your Sales Force Needs Fewer Leads. This paradoxical play on words was a bit risky for a firm whose business is lead generation, but denigrating the value of leads worked. Because McDade knew what he was talking about, the piece rang true and came off as good, sound advice—not just marketing. The position paper has been effective in building business for McDade and his 100-person firm. It’s been repurposed as a webinar and in contributed articles. In fact, one of PointClear’s prospects at Xerox said that Why Your Sales Force Needs Fewer Leads was the “best piece of marketing content he has ever seen.”

Why was this paper so effective? Because the title immediately grabs the attention of lead-hungry sales execs. And the content inside provides valuable insight and competitive advantage; sales organizations can outsmart their competition by pursuing fewer high-quality leads. Readers win, and PointClear scores big.

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I just received the blogletter and can report that the white paper The Content Factor did for PointClear has been a home run for us. As a happy, if unintended, consequence, the white paper identified a new service for PointClear that has really taken off!
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