How B2B Marketers Can Turn the Tables on a #SalesContentFail
It sounds outrageous, but it resonates at gut level: Only nine percent of marketing-produced content is viewed more than five times by sales. If you’re lucky, the content-browsing habits of your own company’s sales teams are better. But still, content views – and usage rates – would have to get substantially better to reach respectable levels. Let’s say sales actually uses 50 percent of your sales enablement material. As far as numbers go, this is a hefty uptick. But from a content marketer’s perspective, this is still pretty lame – especially considering all of the time, thought, and sweat that goes into producing the stuff.
What’s a content marketer to do? You need to sell the sellers on the content they actually need.
You’ll have to disrupt the status quo. Cease all random acts of content creation and delivery. You can get sales reps onboard with sales enablement content by following six key steps:
- Snap out of order-taker mode. For every content request, ask questions about its intended use, audience, and the ideal behavior you’d like it to inspire. This information will make it easier to match the sales teams’ expectations.
- Organize your content chaos. Pair a smart tagging taxonomy with new sales enablement technology to boost your material’s findability factor. Sales reps will appreciate the ease of use and time saved.
- Power up your content pitch with data. Highlight the “hot” pieces that have performed well for other reps and other marketing channels.
- Create for context. As you develop sales content, think about where selling situations and customer’s realities intersect. Familiarize yourself with the sales decks that are heavily used. How might your content mesh better with these decks? How deep is your organization’s insight into a specific buyer’s situation? If your marketing technologies and CRM systems aren’t interconnected, the sales team’s view of a buyer may look very different from yours. You’ll want to correct this mismatch if you want to accelerate sales.
- Package it right. Do sales teams know how to use your content? Do they know which pieces map to specific selling stages? A CliffsNotes one-pager might be just the thing to cut through ambiguity and confusion.
- Adapt or decelerate. Gauge sales teams’ interest in customizing your content. Adaptability will become an even more critical skill for B2B sellers in the future. Supporting sales efforts with content that can be customized on the fly for a specific selling context can shorten the buying cycle and accelerate sales considerably. How can you make your content more flexible and modular?
Executed properly, the steps above work to convince your sales team that marketing content is:
- Easy to find
- Relevant to prospects and customers right now
- Truly engaging (it really works for a specific persona and buyer stage)
- Easily incorporated into their sales process
Get more detail on these steps by downloading my whitepaper “Epic Sales Enablement in a Content Marketing World.” In the meantime, don’t just busy yourself making sales content you can toss over to sales. Make sure it’s something you can sell.
Image credit: "Dusty Glasses" by AndreasS, Flickr http://ow.ly/LSnIp.