A topic near and dear to my heart is on creating good White Papers. If your company creates a white paper on a problem that they have learned to solve, and truly have value in this area, assuming it is well-written – it can gain you a tremendous amount of attention, open the door to a meeting, and ultimately new business.
Why? Because you are not selling, you’re telling. By wearing your consultative “solver” hat, you can share ROI information and create a business case for your offerings.
The ultimate source for writing great white papers is the new book, aptly titled, Writing White Papers by Michael Stelzner. Michael is someone who should know – he’s written over 100 white papers himself, and has been focused on white papers for a number of years.
What I like about the book is that it is not theory…. it is very actionable. You can read it and put the ideas into the creation of your first white paper, or the creation of your BEST white paper yet. If you have been around as many sales organizations as I have, you undoubtedly have seen many poorly written white papers and few great ones. Invest in taking the first step toward creating a great tool that has so many benefits, it doesn’t make sense to me as to why every organization wouldn’t create them.
The first thing it will do is help position you as a consultative solver rather than an order fulfiller. That in itself is worth the time and effort to create white papers. The second thing writing good white papers will do is help you further clarify your value in the market – not only to others, but you everyone within your organization as well. The third thing it will do is give you a tool that your internal coach within the prospect company can send around their organization to give them more leverage in helping you win. Promotional marketing brochures can’t do this, but an informational, helpful paper on the values of solving (whatever it is you help solve) creates a business discussion and therefore rises up the corporate food chain.
Don’t take my word for it – take it from a true white paper expert, and get a copy of Writing White Papers. At the site, you can download a chapter and see the outline as well.