One of the most heartbreaking stats you can tell a marketer is this one: 60 to 70 percent of all marketing content goes unused. As a content marketer, it’s difficult to hear that the majority of the content you worked so hard to create is just sitting there, and as a demand gen or account-based marketer, it’s frustrating knowing that there’s so much content in your library that could help sway prospects that isn’t being leveraged by sales.
In order to make the best use of the content you already have (and get your sales team to actually share it), we need to shift our focus to the creation of experiences. Below, I’ve outlined some ways you can equip your sales team with content they need to help build trust and close more deals.
Personalizing content experiences for prospects
Ask any marketer you know, and chances are, a significant portion of them will report that sales has no idea what their content team is working on, or even what assets are available for them to share with prospects. As a marketer, it’s up to you to bridge this gap and empower sales with content that will help them close deals.
Linking to relevant content
If you’re wondering why a sales rep should be concerning themselves with sharing content, consider this: A prospect must touch at least five pieces of content before they’re ready to buy, but only 20 percent of sales reps actively share content during sales conversations. Content helps build relationships because it reinforces a prospect’s trust in your brand, and it provides the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that not only have you been listening to their pain points, but you understand how to tackle the challenges they’re facing. As an added bonus, sharing resources will help educate prospects in between their conversations with your team, sometimes moving themselves to the next stage of their purchase decision without any engagement with a sales rep.
While 20 percent of sales reps are sharing content, the reality is, a lot of it looks like this:
Not only is this email far from compelling, it’s actually kind of overwhelming. And the chances are pretty slim that anyone is actually going to click through all of those links. It’s important to remember that emails are also content experiences, and if your prospects are getting this kind of outreach from sales, it’s likely that they’re not associating a good experience with your brand.
The simplest way to spice up a black and blue hyperlink-filled email is by encouraging your sales team to embed content rather than linking to it. Whether you decide to embed a single asset or include a link to a curated web experience (which we’ll get into later), your team will probably start seeing an uptick in engagement right away. I mean, wouldn’t you rather click through something visual (like the example from Cority below) instead of a boring old link?
Now, you could either have a tile like this link to a single blog post or ebook, or you can do what Cority has done and link to a curated collection of content—or what we call a content experience. You’ll notice the experience the sales rep has created for their prospect is personalized to include the rep’s photo and calls out the prospect (Josh) by name in the description.
Using content experiences as a destination
As you saw in the example above, using a curated content experience can be an impactful way to engage prospects. For one, the resources you share demonstrate your understanding of their needs, and on top of that, you’re ideally providing them with additional resources that will solidify their confidence in your company.
Whether you use a platform to create content experiences at scale or you have a developer on-hand to help you customize landing pages, this type of experience that’s isolated from the rest of your website is great for feeding conversations at all stages of the buyer journey—but particularly outreach from sales.
As a marketer, I know what you’re thinking. But how is sales selecting this content? How can I control what’s being sent out? There are a couple of ways you can help.
Build a content library of assets for sales to use
If you’ve been in business for a while and you publish new content regularly, it’s likely that you have a ton of content. As much as we as marketers try to update our content frequently, you probably have some older assets in your library that reference outdated tech, product offering or services, or use old brand messaging. Not terrible, but not what you really want new prospects to be seeing as their first impression.
To make it easier for your sales team to know exactly what content is marketing-approved, create a collection of articles, videos, infographics, and other resources that either demonstrate the value of what you offer, or reinforce your messaging. I’d suggest organizing these by persona or use case to make it as easy as possible for your sales reps to find appropriate content.
If you’re not using a platform to manage this, a shared Google Sheet is a good way to keep this updated and organized for both sales and marketing. It allows you as a marketer to handpick the assets you want sales to use, while also allowing your sales reps to go into the doc and find what content works for each unique sales conversation.
Create templated experiences for personas
Rather than build out a content experience for each unique prospect, your team may find it more valuable to create templates of experiences for each of your buyer personas. Depending on what tool you’re using to manage this, this could mean creating templated web experiences to clone, or simply creating a collection of the resources, appropriate calls-to-action, and role-specific messaging.
You’ll want to give your sales team some flexibility to add in additional resources that may be particularly relevant to a prospect’s unique use case or conversations they may have had, but however you execute, you’ll want to make sure you’re making your sales team’s job as easy as possible when it comes to sharing content.
Why personalized content matters
We’re marketing in an age where customers who perceive a business’ content to be tailored to their needs are 40 percent more willing to buy from that business than those who don’t personalize. If that’s not a reason to start leveraging customized experiences for your prospects, I don’t know what is.
Because of the highly customized B2C experiences consumers are used to, they’re going to start expecting the same from you. This is an easy win for your personalization efforts—all you need to do is leverage the content you already have to create remarkable experiences for your prospects.