Content. Not Just A Marketing Thing with Steli Efti (Close.io)

Posted on Jan 10, 2019

Episode: S01E12

Podcast Guest: Steli Efti
Role: CEO
Company: Close.io

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Content is typically the domain of radical marketers (like us, amiright?).

But Steli Efti, the CEO of Close.io, is building a sales-driven CRM machine by leveraging content across the funnel. This guy gets it; he’s written a baker’s dozen of sales books and is scaling a Y-Combinator backed powerhouse.

Plus, how often do you hear a sales guy say things like this:

I’d rather have like an ideal customer share a blog post that we have with 30 other ideal customers that’s much more valuable to me than getting some celebrity to tweet about our content that gets us 100,000 uniques from an audience that could never purchase our product

Tune in for the three core ingredients on how Steli built (and is scaling) a huge sales+marketing machine.

And for witty jokes by me.

What more could you want?

Episode Transcript

Eytan Buchman Today, we’re staring directly into the sun to see how sales-centric companies leverage marketing content.

But before we dive into this bridge building madness, my name is Eytan, instead of jamming to Avril Lavigne, you’re listening to Two Minute Marketing, I use words like jamming, and we’re going to talk about how sales teams can leverage content.

On December 31st, I opened every single damn New Years promotional email I got. And when I’m on Facebook, I click on ads all the time. I’m a curious marketer. And that’s where I came across a paid ad for a really good free sales book.

But I get ahead of myself.

We’re on with Steli Efti, the CEO of close.io, a Y Combinator-backed inside sales CRM. Steli has written 13 sales books – nearly 25% of the original Hardy Boys books – and he uses them heavily in marketing.

First things first – Close.io knows that content isn’t just about customer acquisition.

Steli Efti

Our content we think about it holistically. So our content strategy is not just to attract traffic or not just to attract people to sign up for trial, it really goes through the entire customer journey. A lot of times people will discover us, discover a piece of our content, then they will come back to our content for a year, sometimes even longer than a year before they ever decide to sign up for a trial of our product.

And then it might take them another month or two to truly become a customer. …They’re always consuming our content. They just consume different types of content at the beginning that helps them get the basics of sales then later on how to use our product and how to improve on their sales process, and then later how to scale sales, how to hire people.


But Close.io is an inside sales platform…with a sales staff. Crucially, they break down the marketing-sales silo.


it also empowers our sales team to not just use their skills and expertise, not just use the software and our product, but also use our content to create value and create connections and conversations and conversions with our prospects and our customers. So our sales team heavily relies on our content to help the prospect accomplish whatever their ultimate goals are.


That works because for Steli, close.io isn’tjust a product, it’s about a customer service orientation. Sofor them, stellar content isn’t an acquisition tool, it’s a way of life that dovetails with product. Good content and good product help create better sales teams.


They use our software, but the ultimate goals are to improve their sales process, to drive a certain amount of revenue, to accomplish certain muscles for their company. So our sales reps both use our product and our content to help their prospects accomplish these goals and ultimately to convince them to become a customer.


Getting sales on-board with using content is critical. I actually spoke to someone at VinciWorks, a local Jerusalem tech company, that puts their sales team through Hubspot’s inbound course to bring them on-board.

Which led me to the same question that countless narcotic police departments ask themselves – how do they distribute? And the answer is that Close.io forgets vanity metrics, going for smaller and smarter distribution instead of shotgun distribution:


we always write our content with humans in mind. There’s a lot of companies out there that write content with search engines in mind or write content with pure distribution in mind. What is going to be shared a shit ton of time because it has a provocative title or it has sort of the list format. There’s 10,000 experts and everybody has a quote. And if we ping all these experts and tell them to share this on social media, boom, we’ve kind of great distribution. But then, if you look at the piece of content, it’s nothing anyone will ever read.


So we always write with people in mind and then people do share our content a lot. Those numbers are not insane in terms of just pure traffic, but the quality is incredible. So I’d rather have like an ideal customer share a blog post that we have with 30 other ideal customers that’s much more valuable to me than getting some celebrity to tweet about our content that gets us 100,000 uniques from an audience that could never purchase our product and will never purchase our product.


And yes, to get subject domain authority, close.io also work on SEO, as well as social, but again, their approach is still a strong B2B less-is-more one:


We’ll advertise on social media, but usually we’ll do a lot of things to make sure that we are attracting a small but right audience versus attracting everybody that we could possibly have. But at the core of what we do is just write incredible content that’s much harder than you would think, but if you get that right, everything else gets easier.


So just to recap, there’s a couple of important ingredients that go into Steli’s Famous Content Cake:

  1. Outstanding, share-worthy and deep content
  2. An organizational mindset that sets both product and content second to the goal of helping customers sell
  3. The self-control to delineate a targeted audience and hone in on them.

If you’re still with me, go out and hug a sales guy. And maybe send them a link to a couple of Steli’s books, which you can find – for free – on close.io. My name is Eytan, you just got sold on the importance of content, and to make me happier than ninja in a brick factory, all you have to do is tell a marketing friend about this podcast.

Go forth and market.