An ideal relationship between sales and marketing should look something like this:
- Marketing creates perfectly targeted, engaging content for Sales
- Sales has extremely easy access to each asset, understands its value, and knows where it should be introduced to prospects within the sales cycle
- The content helps answer prospects’ questions, alleviates their concerns, and nurtures them along the path toward closing a deal
The reality is, this "ideal" relationship rarely happens.
SiriusDecisions research shows 70% of content created by marketers ends up going unused by their sales team. And of that 30% that does get used, marketers are often unsure of its effect.
To solve this content challenge that plagues B2Bs, the problems first need to be identified. Of course, every company is different, and there could be a giant list of reasons why content isn’t working. But here are three common reasons sales teams aren’t using marketing content to its fullest value:
The content isn’t targeted
A good salesperson isn’t going to share a piece of content that isn’t relevant to a prospective buyer. In order to utilize marketing assets properly, a rep needs to have an arsenal of content ready, geared toward various personas and industries, with different pieces created specifically for various stages of the buyer’s journey.
To create this content – and make it effective – marketers have to understand what makes prospects “tick.” Creating buyer personas has proven value, with research from Cintell’s 2016 Benchmark Study on Understanding Buyers showing that 75% of B2B companies that have personas in place exceeded their revenue goals in 2015.
Focused targeting requires more than just buyer personas. If it isn’t presented at the right moment in a sales conversation, it’s not going to make a mark.
Related Article: Best-in-Class Companies Put Content in Context
The content isn’t engaging
When content fails to grab a buyer’s attention, it’s basically useless. Marketers are aware of this: In the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 State of B2B Content Marketing report, 60% said their biggest challenge in creating new assets is producing engaging content.
When it comes to engagement, here are three quick tips for marketers to keep in mind:
- When in doubt, think visual. There are countless statistics that prove video and images result in longer website durations, lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates. (Here’s what we do to help companies transform static content into video presentations for sales, marketing and training.)
- Tell a story: Incorporating anecdotes, case studies or interviews can make a potentially boring topic more approachable.
- Don’t be too sales-y. Content must be presented as a conversation instead of a brochure – especially for top-of-funnel prospects. Think of it this way: Most people wouldn’t be willing to go on a second date with a person who only talked about themselves. Use the same mentality for content.
The content is hard to find
This one is easily preventable, but too often a point of contention. It’s critical that reps have a central location to quickly find and access content they need. This is particularly crucial at enterprise-size companies that have thousands of sales reps. If you’re relying on word-of-mouth to alert your sales teams, there’s a good chance not all of them know what’s up, and an excellent chance that your remote employees are being left in the dark.
This is where sales enablement technology can be a game-changer. As part of a sales enablement solution, a content portal will:
- Be accessible across devices, so reps at in-person meetings or in-transit can access content on their mobile phone or tablet.
- Have support for multiple content formats, so reps can access videos, whitepapers, presentations and more, all in one place.
Because access to content is critical to sales success, we suggest guiding reps toward where they can find content early on in their onboarding process. This can be as simple as a training session on how to find content within a CRM, and coaching assignments where reps have to choose the best content based on a role-play scenario.
Once salespeople can fully grasp the importance of sharing content – and see results from doing so – they’ll be more likely to make it part of their process. At that point, it becomes Marketing’s responsibility to always produce relevant, engaging content that sales will want to share.
For more actionable takeaways, check out Brainshark’s latest brief, 5 Ways Marketers Can Solve the Sales Content Problem.