Content is the lifeblood of sales success. 60% of business decision makers say that content makes them feel closer to the company that sends it. But so much of that content is rendered useless, inadequate or irrelevant by buyers, according to Forrester:
“Of the white papers, presentations, videos, brochures and more that end up in front of buyers, most isn’t helpful or wanted. Three quarters of executive and technical buyers said they get too much information from vendors, and 62% called much of that information useless. What’s available is not what buyers need at the time.”
Marketing is in a constant frenzy of content creation, trying to meet every sales rep’s content requests, most of which will be used in a single prospect interaction or irrelevantly recycled because marketing’s response rate was too slow. There is no shortage of content, but it’s still letting sales down in a big way. Below are five major ways that content created by marketing is hurting sales performance.
What’s wrong with my content?
- It’s irrelevant and/or outdated: 85% of marketers say that content they produce isn’t effective at delivering business value. That’s right—a vast majority of marketers are admitting that their own content isn’t useful! This is largely due to a lack of visibility into content usage: what content is being served to sales reps, where they access it from, and how often it is being used. This means there is no way of controlling version variety or consistency or streamlining updates when content goes stale. Marketers need to increase visibility into content usage to find out what content is useful and what needs to be updated or removed altogether.
- The right content can’t be located: Salespeople spend 30 hours each month searching for the right content. That’s because content is dispersed among a number of disconnected files, repositories and (sadly) remote desktops. This results in the sharing of irrelevant and outdated content, because reps can’t afford to waste more time finding the perfect content. Marketers need to find a way to consolidate all content into a single repository and make it easily searchable so reps can find exactly what they need quickly and effectively.
- It’s not accessible where reps work: Are your company’s sales reps required to leave the programs where they spend the majority of time—email and CRM—to find the right content? If so, this is contributing to the 30 hours of search time cited above. Making marketing collateral available in your company’s CRM will greatly reduce the amount of time reps spend searching for the right content, especially if it can be served up contextually based on an opportunity’s CRM details (such as role, stage in sales cycle, industry and more). Bonus points if you can connect your email provider with this CRM information and content as well, which will reduce a sales interaction to a single email view.
- It’s not customer-centric: Only 29% of marketers use customer insights to inform their marketing programs. In today’s customer-led buying landscape, prospects will not care what you have to say if it is not relevant to them. Work with your sales team to learn what prospects are saying in sales interactions: what are their pain points, what do they look for in terms of features and benefits from your product or service, and how do they view your product? This will help your marketing team refine your messaging to make it more customer-centric and valuable to prospects.
- It’s static and not customizable: By 2018, personalizing content will result in 30% higher close rates, according to Gartner. The value of content personalization is evident, but marketing can only do so much when it comes to personalization; completing one-off customization requests from sales is not a scalable strategy. By employing dynamic content creation—compiling marketing-approved content and integrating with live data sources—sales reps become marketers while marketing can focus on more strategic initiatives. This means that content is always relevant to the buyer, is up-to-date with the most relevant data, and includes all information that the sales rep requires without bogging down marketing.
The marketing and sales relationship has always been a shaky yet symbiotic one. Content has both exacerbated and reduced the tension between the two teams, and there are a number of ways that marketing content lets sales down. Take a look at your own content to see if any of the five points above apply to your organization, and work with sales to find ways to resolve the issues. The outcome will involve more engaged prospects, a happier sales force, and more powerful content. What do you have to lose?