Episode #259 – Steve Benson

Successful Digital Marketing Relies on Relevant + Valuable Content

Steve Benson

MEET

Steve Benson

Steve Benson is the Founder and CEO of Badger Maps, the #1 App in the App Store for field salespeople. After receiving his MBA from Stanford, Steve joined Google, where he became Google Enterprise’s Top Sales Executive Globally in 2009.

Steve Bensen believes that digital selling is important because it’s how buyers are buying. And your best leads—the people most likely to purchase from you—look for answers about your company online. They’re doing searches in Google, researching you, reading reviews, and looking at competitors. You need ads in the right places and content that will satisfy what they’re looking for. You need to provide the answers to their questions while also providing information about your company and what you can do for them. How did Steve achieve that with his business with a focus on digital marketing? Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to find out!

According to @SteveBenson, successful digital marketing and selling relies on relevant and valuable content. Learn more in this episode of @SalesReinvented! #SalesReinvented #Sales #DigitalMarketing #Content #ContentMarketing #SEOClick To Tweet

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:05] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [2:03] How to improve digital selling capabilities
  • [4:15] Steve’s digital selling strategy
  • [6:14] Attributes + characteristics of a great digital seller
  • [8:08] Tools, techniques, or strategies to improve
  • [9:41] Steve’s digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [13:29] Leveraging LinkedIn learning with relevant content

Steve’s digital marketing strategy

You have to go where your customers are looking for you. Some companies may have a heavy presence on social media. Others may need to focus on writing articles or creating video content. You have to think about, “Where are my customers trying to find out more about this space?”

Steve used to write an article or blog every night before he went to bed. He had a list of ideas that he added to when he thought of something. Your blog, writing for other blogs, and even just being quoted in other publications is huge. Long-form rich content that answers people’s questions is key. Those are assets that continue to yield leads.

Badger Maps makes a mapping tool for field salespeople. Who’s looking for that? Maybe a VP of sales or sales operations. Where are those personas looking online? What questions are they asking? What articles are they interested in reading? Make that content so they’ll find you.

Steve notes that it isn’t the same blueprint for everyone. Steve looks at the top 10 places to create content and general awareness and then builds a strategy for each. What characteristics make for a great salesperson? Listen to hear Steve’s thoughts.

Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve

For digital selling specifically, Steve recommends outsourcing Google ads because it’s so difficult to do well. But Steve emphasizes that content creation and content marketing should be done in-house (whether by someone full-time or part-time). The creation of content—that is valuable and relevant—to feed the SEO machine is best done by someone who specializes in that. But some things are so expertise-driven that they must be outsourced.

What tools, techniques, and strategies can you implement to improve your digital sales? @SteveBenson shares some tips in this episode of @SalesReinvented! #SalesReinvented #Sales #DigitalMarketing #Content #ContentMarketing #SEOClick To Tweet

Steves’ digital marketing dos and don’ts

What does Steve believe is key to digital marketing success?

  • Be consistent. Keep creating great content regularly (email marketing, blog posts, social media, video, podcasting, etc.). Don’t dabble—commit to doing something and do it. The things that work in marketing compound over time when you’re consistent and in it for the long haul.
  • Specialize. Develop specialized in-house roles. If video content is your strategy, you need someone excellent at creating videos. The same goes for social media marketing and writing blogs.
  • Don’t be boring. Steve believes a lot of digital marketing material can be lame. You need to find a way to create unique value and don’t just regurgitate what’s already out there.
  • Don’t get lost in the noise. Create a niche market that attracts your unique customer profile. Feed them the content they need and want to read/hear/watch. Steve’s podcast is called “Outside Sales Talk” because it’s specifically for outside salespeople and it creates value just for them.

Leveraging LinkedIn learning

Steve loves creating LinkedIn videos. LinkedIn has a learning platform that allows you to create videos that are made available for anyone to watch. It’s one of Steve’s favorite digital marketing strategies. Steve created a video for them geared toward field salespeople. It allowed Steve to create a lot of reach—180,000 people have watched the video and done the training. It was something a lot of people have gotten value from.

People reach out to Steve and engage all the time because of that one piece of content. He created something of value for the niche that purchases his product. Plus, it’s on a platform with extensive reach. Steve emphasizes the importance of creating valuable content and getting it in places your user can find it. If you do that, the word will get out about what you do. To hear more of his thoughts on digital marketing, listen to the whole episode!

How did @SteveBenson leverage the LinkedIn Learning platform to get immense reach with potential customers? Listen to this episode of @SalesReinvented to find out! #SalesReinvented #Sales #DigitalMarketing #Content #SEO #StrategyClick To Tweet

Resources & People Mentioned

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More About Steve Benson

Are there any great Digital or Social Selling books that you highly recommend? I’d recommend that every sales person take a look at Joanne Black’s work. She has written 3 books on all the strategies salespeople can employ to get referrals. I believe that there are few salespeople that wouldn’t make at least 10% more by honing this element of the sales craft. It’s so obvious but often overlooked, and she has some really ninja moves. I had her on my podcast a couple years ago to get her to summarize some of her ideas, and she has a truly brilliant mind. That video is still on Youtube or its on my podcast too, just Google “Steve Benson Joanne Black Outside Sales Talk” you’ll find it. And buy all her books – worth it.

Who do you most admire in the sphere of Digital or Social Selling and why? I think that the person I most admire for how they have executed a Digital Marketing strategy is Jason Lemkin. When you look at what he’s done with his blog and on quora over the years it’s really a blueprint for how to create great content and build a following online. Jason has created so much really high quality content on his blog, Saastr, over the years, and this book, Impossible to Inevitable, is a fantastic summary of the learnings that you can get there. It’s specifically for software companies, but a lot of the lessons are universally applicable.

Are there any aspects of your own Digital or Social Selling skills that you are working on improving at the moment? My team has been going back over all the content that we’ve made over the years and combining some of the less relevant or less in depth content into longer and more meaningful pieces. It’s good for SEO, and also good because its better to have fewer pieces that are higher value, than lots of short and lower value pieces. 

Hobbies, Interests? I try to generally avoid hobbies as an entrepreneur. I’d advise other entrepreneurs to give up hobbies, cut out time with acquaintances, and focus on the few relationships that are the people you will know in 20 years – because when you are an entrepreneur, your time is your most precious resource. That being said, I enjoy Snowboarding and backpacking. I also ride my stationary bike while watching movies, although I do that less because it’s fun and more because it’s important to get your heart pumping a few times a week. 

How can our listeners contact with you? The best place to find out about Badger Maps is www.badgermapping.com. The best place to get in touch with me is LinkedIn. Check out my podcast ‘Outside Sales Talk’. The episodes focus on outside sales skills and strategies. It has the top people in Sales on the show and gets their tips and tricks specifically for outside salespeople.