Many companies have finally come around to understanding that content is what makes the sales engine run. But once this realization is made, a vast majority of companies jump to the conclusion that simply creating more sales content is the solution. The issue here is that as more content is created, companies’ content repositories become overcrowded, oversaturated and too complicated for sales reps to use. More content isn’t the solution, it just makes content repositories a graveyard of unused content.
Just how bad is the unused content conundrum? SiriusDecisions estimates that anywhere between 60-70% of a B2B company’s content goes untouched. But for some companies it can be an even more dismal situation: CDW, a customer of SiriusDecisions, found that a whopping 93% of its content wasn’t being accessed by sales reps.
While this is essentially every marketer’s nightmare—nearly all of your hard work is sent to the repository to rot—this is an organizational problem that plagues all corners of the company. You’re wasting money employing more marketers whose work isn’t being optimized or quantified; your sales reps aren’t sharing valuable content with clients and prospects; your new employees aren’t adequately trained because the content repository containing training materials is disjointed and disorganized. No one knows where to find the right content for specific situations, and chances are they don’t even know that it exists. When companies are typically spending a quarter of their marketing budget on content marketing, not having the ability to prove the ROI of this spend is detrimental to company success.
Companies that realize this problem often don’t know where to start when it comes to cleaning up their content, making it accessible and finding out how relevant and successful it really is in client-facing situations. The issue of unused content is typically blamed on marketing not creating enough relevant content, which makes creating more the easy fix. But what if that content does exist, and sales simply can’t find it efficiently? Here are three questions to ask when assessing your content problem:
- Where does all of your content exist? Is it in multiple repositories, folders and drives across your company? This must be consolidated, or at least made accessible from a single source, because otherwise sales reps won’t be able to find what they need fast enough. It also helps to organize it contextually, based on industry, buyer persona, role, and stage in sales cycle.
- How do you track the usage and/or success of your content? There’s a good chance your company doesn’t even know if your content is being used or not. There are two major ways that content analytics will affect how successful and how frequently your content is used:
- Marketing needs to know how sales is using content. Internally, seeing how your sales team as a whole as well as how individual reps are accessing and sharing content will show what content is working and what isn’t. This fosters the creation of more valuable and usable sales materials. Being able to break down content usage at the individual level can help companies understand and duplicate successful sales behavior.
- Sales needs to know how their prospects and clients are consuming content. This is another way to ensure feedback, whether positive or negative, when it comes to resonance with prospects. If the content shared isn’t relevant, revisions can be made so sales conversations are more effective.
- Is it up to sales reps to search for and find the content they need? If so, you’re failing them, plain and simple. There is a huge difference between content that isn’t successful in sales conversations and content that isn’t findable. Gaining insights into what content is being used, how, and how often is the first step to understanding your content accessibility problem. If your sales reps can’t find what they want, it’s not an issue of the quality of marketing content. Your sales content should be finding sales reps, based on the context of the conversations they are having, without them having to spend any time searching.
Unused sales content can be the silent killer for many sales organizations. But understanding the root of this problem, whether it’s because the content created by marketing isn’t relevant or useful, or simply because it isn’t served up automatically in sales opportunities, is the first step to improving sales effectiveness and bridging the gap between sales and marketing.