I was reading a study the other day from Forbes Insights that listed content as the “secret to sales productivity,” which, as I’m a marketer, was really cool to hear. And it got me thinking: If content really is the secret sauce that helps build relationships and close deals, why do so many companies struggle with creating the right content for sales, so much so that 60%-70% of all content goes unused?
Because even if our goals are slightly different, at the end of the day, marketing and sales play for the same team.
So here are some sales enablement strategies we, as marketers, can implore to ensure we help our sales team find and use our content.
Problem: Too Much of Marketing Content is Early Stage
One of the many problems organizations face is creating too much content for the top of the funnel. Having a robust blog of early-stage content for the purposes of driving traffic to your site is great if your goal is strictly to attract visitors. But if you don’t have enough mid- and bottom-of-the-funnel content to convert those visitors into qualified leads for sales then it’s no wonder no one is leveraging your content.
Start by talking to sales to find out what types of questions they get asked on a regular basis. That alone could make for strong, useful, valuable pieces of content sure to help your sales team save time and provide real value to customers.
Problem: The Content that Exists is Boring/Not Digestible/Irrelevant
Have too much content for the wrong persona? Is your content library full of long blogs, multi-page PDFs, and fully text-based content?
If what you’re putting out there is simply so long that your sales team doesn’t even want to read it, make it into more palatable segments. Try breaking larger PDF content into smaller digestible blogs. If you have an hour-long webinar with good content, chunk it out into shorter videos or repurpose the webinar content into a short, to-the-point blog post.
This is good practice anyway so you can leverage these pieces in nurtures or in sales outreach and follow-up.
Problem: Content is Hard to Find
You don’t want your sales team playing hide-and-seek with your content. Marketing content, no matter the stage, should be easily accessible to any member of your team.
One way to solve this is by creating a central content repository that all teammates can access. By doing so, marketers ensure that content is accessible, discoverable, and quality controlled. This can be accomplished via a spreadsheet catalog or a digital resource hub.
Spreadsheet System: Marketers can host digital assets on a server and provide links to the content. This is done to ensure those accessing the content know the most accurate and up-to-date version of an ebook, presentation, or product sheet is being shared. Spreadsheets with links to hosted content eliminate the fear that outdated PDFs are being stored on a salesperson’s desktop and shared.
Digital Resource Hub: All content lives in a digital hub and can be linked to and searched for from within this system. A digital resource hub not only provides a visually appealing and easily searchable content library for your inbound traffic, it also provides that same kind of user experience to your marketing and sales team.
If you use a tool like Uberflip, you can leverage the sales extension that allows sales reps to search for content to share directly from their email client.
Whether you organize content in a spreadsheet or via a tool like Uberflip, you want your teammates to have access to a catalog of the most up-to-date assets and collateral.
Content should also be searchable. Using tags or labels to categorize content and sort it based on topic, funnel stage, format, persona, industry and any other factor that’s important to your business will ensure those searching for your content can find what they’re looking for.
Problem: Sales Doesn’t Know Content Exists
The last and easiest problem to fix is that sales simply doesn’t know what content exists. Creating a central repository for all marketing content will help to solve this.
But you can and should go one step further and communicate when new content has been created. For instance, you could share updates via a Slack channel, weekly meetings, or an internal communication system. Including what persona the content was created for and how it’d be best used will up the chances of sales both finding and leveraging that marketing content library.
If you include sales in the content ideation process and create content sales has specifically requested, you’ll increase the likelihood they’ll not only absorb what content has been created, but actually leverage it in their outreach.
No More Content Problems
Mo’ content, mo’ problems doesn’t have to be your reality. Fixing the problems that exist within many of today’s organizations may take time but it’ll be well worth the effort. Enlisting the help of other team members and leveraging technology to produce better results can make the process smoother and increase your time to value. And when it comes to building a bridge between marketing and sales, the quicker you can get this piece figured out, the stronger your foundation will be.
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