Digital content marketing is growing exponentially; creating an avalanche of valuable digital content for sales teams to use throughout the sales process… the only problem is that they aren’t using this content.
While Sales and Marketing alignment may be at the root of this problem, there are many underlying issues leading to these disappointing content utilization statistics. A 4-step model may hold the answers to unlocking successful digital sales content enablement.
Growth of Digital Content Marketing
There’s been a shift in recent years away from traditional marketing practices, to a more streamlined and effective inbound content marketing approach. This is the practice of creating content/assets/collateral for the purpose of educating and delighting buyers.
- 88% of B2B marketers are using inbound marketing in their marketing strategies (CMI, 2016)
- On average B2B marketers allocate 28% of their total marketing budget to content marketing (Hubspot, 2016)
- Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, and it generates three times as many leads (CMI, 2016)
Content marketing has quickly become the preferred marketing method for a number of reasons: it provides exceptional ROI, it meets the needs of empowered B2B buyers, and it improves SEO while increasing the value of the company’s online portal. Organizations are paying attention to these results and they’re spending millions of dollars every year on producing enormous amounts of digital content.
Exceptional ROI is something that every marketer dreams about, but many struggle to achieve. Proving ROI from activities is the top marketing challenge that can be mitigated by implementing an effective content marketing strategy.
- Website conversion rates are nearly 6X higher for content marketing adopters
- 41% of marketers confirm that content marketing has positive ROI
- Plus, organizations using inbound marketing saved an average of $14 per new customer acquisition, compared to those using outbound strategies
- (Neil Patel, 2015)
However, the exponential increase in content marketing adoption over the last few years has led to some unfortunate outcomes for newcomers. Instead of serving as a sales enablement tool, some organizations are misusing content marketing and turning it into corporate selling under the guise of reporting and analysis, causing many experienced buyers to shy away from content. Buyers cite that content is often:
- Blatantly promotional
- Overly technical
- Lacking any real substance
- Encumbered with too many requirements for access
- (CMO Council, 2013)
The needs of buyers have changed. Modern, empowered buyers want to develop their own decision journey, on their own time. Instead of overly corporate content these buyers are interested in content that: identifies new approaches to problems, introduces fresh thought leadership on issues, validates the value of products or solutions, and highlights companies that understand their customer’s issues.
A Buyer’s Impact on Sales Professionals and Their Content
The explosive growth of content marketing has shifted the balance of power between the buyer and the seller. Buyers are entering the sales funnel at various points throughout their decision journey, with sources reporting anywhere from 30% to 70% of the buyer’s journey being complete before they make contact with a sales professional (Hubspot, 2016). While a 40% spread is quite large, it demonstrates that buyers want to develop their own decision journey, on their own time.
Sales professional have to be equipped to help them in any way that they can. This means that they must become effective at finding and utilizing the right digital sales content. Sales professionals can waste hours every week creating content or searching through numerous databases and online storage systems for the right assets.
The avalanche of content has revealed a lack of essential content management for sales professionals, resulting in the inability to locate content quickly, a common frustration shared by 71% of sales professionals (Close.IO, 2016).
Other content challenges faced by sales professionals include:
- 51% have to spend time modifying existing materials
- 41% say materials are out of date
- 41% say there aren't enough hours in a day to sufficiently prepare for a meeting
- 30% say it’s hard to know if they’re accessing the most current version of content
- 67% say that materials are too generic and not relevant to their buyers
- 19% say they don't have the materials that they need
- (BrainShark, 2013) & (FireBrick)
As a result, 43% of sales professionals spend half of their day in sales preparation activities, and 68% report that they are creating their own content.
All of that extra time and effort that sales professionals are spending on preparing for sales meetings would justified if the ROI was high, but this is often not the case.
- Only 62% of sales professionals are deemed “knowledgeable” about their own products
- Only 24% were deemed knowledgeable about a buyer’s specific business
- Only 22% of sellers understand the buyer’s issues, and are able to position themselves where they can help
- (The Sales Way)
Sales professionals may be spending more time preparing for meetings, but they’re not delivering results. This trend is wasting valuable time and resources, so can we turn it around?
4 Small Steps for Digital Sales Content Success
1. Organize content based upon buyer persona
Your marketing team should be creating content for specific buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers including demographics, behavioural patterns, company profile, and more.
Content that is created for these specific personas should then be grouped into playbooks. Providing sales professionals with guided access to the right content for their buyers, and allowing them to be ready for sales interactions regardless of the buyer's position in the decision journey.
With the help of an adaptive sales enablement solution playbooks can become more robust and accurate with time. Sales enablement allows for the tracking of content consumption and utilizes predictive analytics to prescribe the best content for a particular persona or contact based upon previous interactions and successes.
2. Analyze content consumption
Platforms such as adaptive sales enablement provide marketing teams with an unmatched level of content insights. Best-in-class sales enablement solutions extract consumption details down to individual slides in a PowerPoint, enabling incredible buyer behaviour awareness.
Marketing can therefore focus their time and resources on creating the content that they know their sales professionals want and are using to drive sales. Additionally, sales professionals can use these insights to gauge where a buyer is in their decision journey and accordingly share the right digital sales content.
3. Tailored content
While, we agree that sales professionals should be spending their time consuming content not creating it, they can improve their digital sales interactions by offering tailored content. An adaptive sales enablement system allows sales professionals (with the right user permissions) to disassemble content pieces and ‘design’ tailored content.
For example, they can combine essential pieces or slides from various files, into the perfect piece of content tailored specifically for their buyer. When this happens within a sales enablement system all of the content analytics are still tracked and monitored, so marketing never loses sight of their content consumption insights.
Sales professionals who utilize tailored content maximize the success of their sales interactions, they demonstrate to their buyer’s that they understand their needs and are prepared to create sales solutions rather than simply selling products.
Click the button below for more a closer look into the factors contributing to the digital content avalanche, as well as 3 easy to follow steps for effective content management.
4. Evaluate and Optimize
Once your sales professionals have presented and shared content that is specifically tailored to their buyer’s needs, they should take the time to discuss, confirm, and evaluate their content usage. Determining which slides or pieces their buyers connected with and enjoyed, but also investigating the ones that didn’t work. All sales call information is important to the digital sales process, and can used to improve and optimize future interactions.
Modern, empowered buyers want to work with companies that demonstrate a high level of care and are dedicated towards their customers. They want digital sales content that will help them to make their decisions regardless of where they are in their decision journey.
An adaptive sales enablement platform is a terrific way for organizations to demonstrate these attributes and to succeed in the modern sales environment. Book a demo with one of our sales specialists today to find out what WHUT can do for you!