For years now we’ve been witnessing the battle between sales and marketing. As animosity brews over differing goals and strategies, it begins to effective business and productivity (B2B Marketing, 2017). One area that has been suffering for too long is content.
The reality is that a lack of sales and marketing alignment is creating barriers to successful content marketing. For example, it is estimated that between 60 – 70% of marketing content goes completely unused by sales (SiriusDecisions), and up to 75% of sales professionals state that they ‘occasionally’ or ‘never’ get what they need from marketing (Demand Metric, 2015). Which means that valuable content that could be used to help close deals and drive revenues, is just sitting there.
So, how can sales and marketing turn this around and drive stronger content utilization?
Before we can answer that we need to address the underlying issue of why sales professionals aren’t using the content provided to them by marketing.
The Problem with Sales Content
A big problem that often goes unaddressed is the fact that great marketing content doesn’t necessarily mean great sales content.
Marketing and sales have different goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). While marketers, especially B2B marketers, are focused on generating leads and building brand awareness, sellers are focused on converting leads into customers (Marketing Profs, 2015).
These activities require different content! In order to convert leads to customers, sales professionals need to demonstrate the unique value of their product or service offering in the context of their specific buyer, matching value to needs.
So, although from a marketing perspective content is working well, the same cannot always be said for sales. In fact, when asked, 67% of sales professionals stated that they don’t use the content created for them by marketing because it’s too generic (Sandhill).
This is why we need strong sales and marketing alignment. Open communication between these two departments about content strategy, goals, and needs, can help to improve quota attainment for everyone (CMI, 2016).
Three Steps for Creating Content that Sales will Love
Here are three simple steps that we can take to improve content creation and drive utilization, preventing wasted resources and declining revenues.
1. Understand your customer's needs
While marketers are often focused on creating content geared towards the beginning stages of the buyer’s journey, awareness and interest, they need to understand that sales professionals require content that will help in the later stages, such as consideration.
This is especially relevant considering that the majority of organizations are 57% of the way through the purchase decision process before they engage a sales professional (Triblio, 2015).
By studying the buyer decision journey marketers can get a better sense for the kinds of materials that will support their sellers and advance their customers through the cycle.
In a survey completed by Firebrick Consulting, 40% of sellers stated that they don’t use the content created for them because it isn’t relevant to their buyers (Sandhill). Sellers want and need buyer-centric content! Content that communicates the value of their products or services, and is tailored to the needs of their buyer personas (SiriusDecisions, 2014).
Marketers can develop their understanding of customer needs by surveying their sales professionals about the unique needs of each buyer persona, common buyer objections or obstacles, and what they believe the distinguishing features of their product or service are.
When marketers improve their understanding of the sales process, they can create content that will address these buyer challenges with customized solutions that are relevant and will resonate with buyers.
After all, leads that are nurtured with relevant content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities (Demand Gen)!
2. Use your analytics – that’s what they’re there for!
Analytics are the perfect solution for driving content utilization and finding out the type of content that sales professionals love.
Content analytics tools, such as those available in a sales enablement platform, provide marketers with insights into how sellers are using their content, which assets they use frequently, and whom they’re presenting to. This intelligence allows content creation teams to invest their resources in producing more effective assets for their sales teams.
Sales enablement also allows marketers to push content recommendations to sales professionals. They can create custom playlists, and tag content based upon the sales stage and buyer persona, increasing content awareness among sales users.
This level of coordination improves the sales process, increasing win rates and revenues for your organization.
3. Step into the future of digital content with personalization
Creating personalized sales content is proven to close more deals, as customers who perceive a seller’s content to be tailored to their specific needs are 40% more willing to buy from that seller than customers who were provided generic content (Triblio, 2015).
Content personalization is a growing trend in content marketing with 94% of executives believing that delivering personalization is critical or important to reaching customers (PWC), and 78% of CMOs thinking that personalized content is the future of marketing (Demand Metric).
However, personalizing content can be extremely time consuming and difficult as sales professionals can make hundreds of calls per day (Exceed Sales, 2016). Therefore…
“To address the growing need for personalized content advanced marketers are creating modular content that can be assembled to meet the personalization needs of digital marketing assets upstream – solving the problem at its source. They are planning and structuring content to be modular so it can be easily assembled into the content presentation templates, ‘drag and drop’ content blocks, or intelligent content frameworks within their marketing software...”
Stephen Diorio (Forbes, 2016)
Modular content is extremely useful as it allows marketers to maintain consistent messaging and branding across content, while also allowing sales users to tailor these assets to to the needs of their buyers.
Personalized content can help to drive sales content utilization and quota attainment. According to Kiss Metrics, organizations that use a sales enablement platform for their content personalization have up to 21% stronger lead acceptance and 36% higher conversion rates (Kiss Metrics, 2016).
Improve Your Sales Content Utilization Today!
In today’s rushed and crowded sales environment, where buyers are more than half way through the decision journey before they reach out to a sales professional, producing valuable sales content is more important than ever.
Marketers must move on from producing large quantities of content and instead focus on producing quality content. They need to be creating the content that their sellers want. They must be creating assets that add value to the buyer journey, that are customizable for sellers, and are relevant to thier buyer's needs. Otherwise they’re wasting valuable time and marketing dollars.
Ready to start creating content that your sales teams will love? Then book a demo with one of our sales specialists today and they’ll be happy to share remarkable statistics about the benefits that a complete sales enablement platform can have on your content strategy and utilization!