Thought Leadership – Where Sales Leads Are Like Students

There’s no questioning the importance of thought leadership in content marketing. But if you’re still wondering if the amount you invest in blogs and research has been really attracting sales leads, the complete answer might not be in your CRM data.

Instead, try approaching thought leadership like a teacher would approach a classroom.

Look at the term carefully: ‘thought leadership.’ Isn’t it just a fancy way of saying teacher? Expert? The people who know their stuff and can tell you more about it?

So whenever you put out a piece of content or share your experience for marketing purposes, the results should be like that of a good teacher:

  • You’ve challenged others to learn more – You could say you’re even nicer than a teacher. You don’t hand out quizzes or long assignments to get your readers learning. Instead, they simply wish to learn more about your industry. They want to know how to use your products properly. Your expertise impresses them and motivates to consult you.
  • You used the carrot on the stick – Forget reward and punishment. Putting the carrot on the stick has been proven the way to go when you’re motivating people to learn. In the case of thought leadership, the stuff you teach must always be useful. Don’t expect results if you can’t even answer this question honestly.

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  • You understand the level you’re teaching in – This is often overlooked. You don’t necessarily need a two PhDs or five degrees just to to be a thought leader. You just need to know something that your prospects won’t easily figure out for themselves. That requires targeting. For example, a small and relatively young business is more likely to ask more questions than an experienced buyer. Guess which one is the lead in need of more nurturing?
  • They figure things out on their own – Finally, a good prospect isn’t someone who’s going to just ask questions. You enable them to figure out the best way to use your products on their own. That leaves you with more time for new appointments from new leads.

If you don’t meet any of the following conditions, any negatives in your sales results would no longer come as a surprise. So before you start checking the numbers, first honestly evaluate if you’re really being a good teacher to the classroom that is your target market.

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