Richardson recently published a report, “Content Marketing and Sales Effectiveness,” which contained some depressing, albeit not entirely shocking, survey results. The main takeaway: sales teams don’t find the content marketing efforts of their marketing teams useful to them.
Here are a few of the big takeaways from the survey of over 400 sales managers and reps:
Almost 50% of sales reps and 1/3 of sales managers do not understand your content marketing strategy.
Nearly 1/4 sales reps don’t even read the content you publish.
1 out of 3 sales reps doesn’t find the content you create valuable to customers.
Sales reps and managers believe the company publishes content primarily to create market awareness.
Only a 1/3 believe that publishing content helps to generate qualified leads.
Half of sales teams don’t believe that content efforts help to retain or grow key accounts.
The main reason I cringe when I read these numbers is because, as a marketer myself, all I can think is: my entire job is based on creating collateral to support sales! How can they not be finding it helpful?
I think there are a few reasons that explain why sales views marketing’s content creation efforts in such a negative light:
- Marketing and sales focus on different parts of the customer funnel. Marketing tends to focus on the top of the funnel with their efforts—creating awareness of their products and brand. Sales lives farther down the funnel, where a qualified lead is in the consideration and purchase decision phases.
- Marketing and sales don’t communicate well. Sales teams, especially outside sales teams, don’t interact with the marketing team very frequently. The mechanisms to capture ideas from the field that marketing can act on are limited.
- Marketers are afraid of being “salesy.” Sales people don’t mind talking about the company’s product and solution, but in the New World Order of content marketing, marketing teams are shying away from talking about themselves for fear of appearing disingenuous.
- Sales teams have a single incentive: make quota. It can be hard to appreciate, as marketers, how salespeople rely on their pitch, savvy and grit to earn their paycheck.
Is this intractable disconnect between sales and marketing one that can be solved, or at least alleviated? Here are 3 things that can help sales and marketing be more on the same page about marketing’s content creation efforts:
How is your team improving the communication channels between sales and marketing? Leave your comment below and we will highlight your success story in a future blog post.
- Create a two-way street of communication between sales and marketing. Sales teams need a feedback mechanism to relate what they are seeing in the field to the marketing team. Even the simple act of notifying marketing when a piece of collateral is being used in front of customers can go a long way. Likewise, marketing needs to notify salespeople of when new content has been created. Depending on your ECM system, this process might be a challenge given your existing setup.
- Don’t deprive salespeople of their “money content.” Marketing can’t shy away from creating highly targeted content geared toward closing: a tear sheet, an ROI analysis or a matrix comparing your solution to your top competitors. Marketing teams tend to shy away from some of this key collateral by focusing on the top of the customer funnel, but salespeople especially want content that helps them do one thing: close deals.
- Make it easy for salespeople to access the right content. How easily can salespeople access the most up-to-date content that your marketing team creates? The crushing defeat for a marketing team comes when they create a fantastic piece of content, like a case study presentation, for the sales team and it can’t be accessed more easily than the sales person can open an outdated version of that presentation on the hard drive of their laptop.