Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Win More Deals with White Papers

New research by KnowledgeStorm supports what many already knew: vendors are more likely to close new business when they do a good job of educating potential buyers in the earliest stages of the sales cycle.

While sales reps often avoid prospects who are “just kicking the tires,” these prospects are usually doing important research. In most cases, they have not yet established standard metrics such as budget and timetable—and are looking to vendors to help them set realistic expectations. So vendors that help educate and influence these early stage prospects have a greater chance of being on the short list when it comes time to buy—and buy they do. KnowledgeStorm shows that the majority of these “tire kickers” do end up signing on the dotted line.

White papers that educate without blatantly selling are great sales tools at the early stage. They help develop insight and interest in prospects that frequently have little knowledge about your product or service. More importantly, they can help prospects develop a preference for your solution over the competition’s, and they start a relationship with your company that might be the first one that the prospect makes with a vendor in your space.

Yes, focusing on early stage buyers takes a bit longer, but isn’t educating a prospect from the start better than getting a picked-over (and highly competitive) RFP at the end of the sales cycle? And white papers are relatively easy and affordable ways to get those early relationships started, answer the common questions that “tire kickers” have, and establish your company as a knowledgeable resource.

If you’d like to know more about how to create a white paper, check out our Eight Rules for Creating Great White Papers, or visit the white paper Gallery on our website for some samples.

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