For B2B organizations, generating revenue relies heavily on SMarketing — the alignment of Sales and Marketing. In a perfect world, the marketing team sets the sales team up for success with content, and Sales gives Marketing the insight they need to remain relevant to buyers.
So, according to the rules of SMarketing, it only makes sense that sales would leverage all the awesome, relevant, and engaging content that their marketing team creates, right? Well, 60-70% of B2B content goes unused, so perhaps it’s time to look at some tactical ways to ensure your sales team is making the most of your content.
Whether you’re using content to educate a lead, or to re-engage an ice-cold prospect, here’s how marketers can help Sales put their content to work.
1. Regularly update your Sales team about new content
This might seem obvious, but I’ve talked to so many marketers who admit that their sales team has no idea what content assets are available to them. Part of this is an accountability issue — it’s up to Marketing to put in the effort to keep Sales informed about what treasures are hiding in the content bank, and it’s up to Sales to use them when necessary.
Here at Uberflip, we’re lucky because we have a very content-forward culture. There are a few defined places where we can always find our latest and greatest content assets:
- Our content calendar is accessible to everyone in the company via Trello.
- We have a Slack channel dedicated to any new content that the marketing team has published. Pro tip: They make it so easy for us to share this content by providing click-to-tweet and click-to-LinkedIn links.
- We’ll discuss any big upcoming content assets at our monthly SMarketing meetings or at our weekly company-wide touch base.
Which brings me to my next point...
2. Hold an internal meeting to explain new content releases
Treat content (especially the big assets and campaigns) as you would a product update or a pricing change. Make sure everyone knows exactly what’s coming, and what they need to do about it. Cover the five W’s by explaining:
- Who the content is being created for — which buyer persona(s) should it appeal to?
- What type of asset it will be — is it a blog post, an infographic, etc.?
- Where they can find it — where will it live (e.g. in your resource center)?
- When it’s being released — are there any specific launch goals?
- Why it’s being created — what’s the end-goal, and how will it contribute to your ongoing content strategy?
You don’t have to cover this for every. single. blog. — ain’t nobody got time for that. If you’re consistently creating bigger content assets, like eBooks and webinars, you can save time by documenting the process, or sharing an internal brief or synopsis (see below) that provides more detail.
Of course, odds are that no one wants to look at more paperwork. A biweekly or monthly meeting to discuss upcoming content can potentially be more effective — it will give the sales team the opportunity to request content topics that may resonate with the prospects they’re working with, or ask questions about upcoming content assets.
Or, if you’re not into the idea of adding another meeting to your schedule, tack it onto the agenda of your regular SMarketing meeting. Our monthly must-attend SMarketing meeting is very effective for exchanging ideas between Sales and Marketing and getting everyone on board with what’s coming down the content pipeline.
3. Build a content library that’s optimized for sales enablement
I’ve provided a couple of ideas for keeping up with new and upcoming content, but they don’t really solve the problem of getting more use out of existing content assets.
Salespeople and marketers are different breeds. Marketers might spend hours writing and optimizing a blog post, but if the end result is not easy to sift through and pick out the relevant pieces, salespeople will become easily frustrated and spend time elsewhere. (Sorry!)
Make content easily discoverable for Sales. One great way to do this is to organize your content into very specific, targeted categories and topics. That breakdown can be by buyer persona, industry, vertical, or customer pain point. Once your Sales team can easily discover your content, they can put it into action to reach prospects.
[Warning: Shameless plug ahead!] At Uberflip, we use our own platform to create tailored streams of content that speak specifically to a particular prospect's objections and paint points. Our platform also allows us to implement customized calls-to-action to allows prospects to easily email our sales reps. When content is this easy to control, you better believe we're going to use it.
4. Include content links within email templates
Want to give your sales team absolutely no excuse to not use the awesome content you’re creating? Write their sales emails for them!
Our amazing marketing team here at Uberflip creates email templates for our sales team to use, complete with links to relevant content. It makes my life so easy, and it allows the marketing team to use the messaging they want (they’re kind of good at that).
We have several Google Docs and pages readily available on our internal Sales Wiki that include email templates with relevant and regularly updated links. A salesperson’s dream!
5. Save time with synopses
For your longer-form content like webinars and eBooks, save your sales team some time by providing a written synopsis.
Given that I work for a company that creates a ton of great content, I often find it difficult to keep up with some of the longer-form pieces — hour-long webinars and 20-page eBooks just don't always fit into my schedule, as much as I’d like them to.
The reality is you want your sales team to spend as much time selling your product as they can, but you don't want them to ignore your marketing content. Beat this catch-22 by providing a short synopsis in a handful of bullet points that cover the “so what?” takeaways: how can this help me better sell our product? Why would a prospect care about this topic?
Having an online repository of these synopses (e.g., a Dropbox or Google folder) allows for easy access and helps me get up to speed very quickly.
6. Run an internal content assessment
If your sales team still isn’t putting your content to good use, it’s time to ask them why.
Once you’ve set up a content library for sales, provide a short survey or questionnaire to gauge how much they’re actually using your content, which pieces they're using most, and which topics they’d like to see covered in future posts.
Quizzing or gamifying this could also make it fun and more enticing for your sales team — after all, quizzes often see double to triple the conversion rates of regular content, so it will help encourage maximum participation from them.
Add content to the SMarketing equation
SMarketing is like any symbiotic relationship — both teams must benefit the other in order for it to work. It doesn’t matter how “in the know” Sales is about new marketing content if the content isn’t relevant to the buyer. Similarly, even if Marketing is creating great content, it’s no good if Sales is serving it up at the wrong time or with the wrong ask.
Empowering your sales team starts with creating content that is relevant and contextual to your buyers, but also requires buy-in from your sales team.
Content is a key part of the SMarketing. Add it to the equation, and make your content assets work to benefit both Sales and Marketing.
Forget coffee — content is for closers. Learn how to build a content library optimized for sales enablement.
About the Author
Michael works in Business Development at Uberflip, helping modern marketers crush their content ROI targets by day. By night, you can find him cheering on Toronto's sports teams, or trying a new restaurant and plotting his next world adventure with friends.Follow on Twitter More Content by Michael Simone