Buyers want insights that help them build a better business. If your content helps them to make better investment decisions, choose the right vendors, and move forward more intelligently, then they’ll gladly take it.
But too often, marketing and sales enablement teams equip sellers with information that is too high level. Generic information doesn’t help a buyer decide; it can reduce their confidence in making a change and in choosing your company’s solution.
So, you need content that supports later, deeper sales stage needs, as well as the needs of your technical buyers. Well, who’s producing that content? Not all marketing teams have the exposure to your products to produce materials that speak to these deeper requirements.
But that’s OK because across your company is a wealth of expertise. You have team members that understand your domain better than most. On your research team, your services organization, and your customer support team there are potential experts that can help you fill in the gaps. But are you leveraging that value?
Let’s look at a strategy to get them involved!
1. Start with a Plan
You’re not producing content for the sake of it. You’re producing content to fill a specific need. When you consider your sales process or buyer’s journey, there are likely sticking points. These frictions can often be solved with timely content. One approach that can be effective is to solicit the top or most common questions customers ask.
2. Build Your Roster
In a small company, it’s likely easy to identify who the experts in your organization are. In a larger organization, it can be more difficult to find who to call on. You can use survey tools to solicit interest. You can ask managers to recommend people. You can look at team meetings and see who speaks up. Or go to support and other forums and see who’s contributing. A good roster of talent is essential.
3. Don’t Worry About Writing
A major “suppressor” of content contributions is a general fear of writing. Looking at a blank page can be a challenge even for the most experienced writer. So, let your contributors know that they can feed you with ideas for content and summaries. Then your skilled marketers can write it up and submit back to your SME for approval. That’s much less burden on the expert and saves you from unpleasant editing.
4. Consider Your Options
At the same time, there’s no reason why you should do only written works. You’re not a research university where publishing the written word is imperative. You can produce video, podcasts, panels, etc. And the advantage there is that they require less effort on the part of the expert and yet produce great material.
5. Create a Content Turkey Dinner
One of the best culinary things about Thanksgiving is reusing your turkey in many meals. Turkey soup! Turkey pancakes! (jk!) Turkey sandwiches! Do the same with your content. When you have the nuggets of insights from your expert, repurpose it into infographics, checklists, blog content, and more. You’ll get lots of mileage for your sellers and the experts from just one item.
6. Make it Part of their Job
You can put a lot of carrots into place around incentives (financial and otherwise), but sometimes you need to set goals. Work with senior management to set goals for content production. It could be at either an individual or team level to give flexibility to the organization you’re working with.
7. Have a Forgiving Calendar
Work happens! There will be times when your contributors have deadlines come up on their ‘day job’. You need to be prepared for that since content creation isn’t their primary work. You can prepare by having a backlog of completed materials and by keeping your roster filled with additional experts that can be called in.
8. Don’t Worry About Experience
Too often when we think of an expert we think of someone with years of experience. But consider your buyers. Often a senior person will make a final decision, but a junior person may make a shortlist of vendors or heavily influence the decision. Sometimes bringing in a junior person to create content targeted at junior people can be more authentic and powerful.
9. Build a Community
There’s not only expertise in your company, but there are also experts out there in your customers and other stakeholders. A healthy strategy is to build a community — which could simply be a LinkedIn group or website — to solicit thoughts and publish content from the rest of the community. That’s authentic!
10. Don’t Dry Up the Well
Your experts might be happy to help your team, but that helpfulness can get frayed if you keep asking them for more and more. Make sure you spread out your requests so you’re not burning out your team.
11. Celebrate Success
Once you have content available, you want to make sure that you keep the momentum going. Reward your experts with thank you’s, framed copies of an article, announcements at company meetings, etc. You want the world to know so you keep the excitement up!
12. Measure What’s Working
That’s great that an expert built content, but if it’s not the right material for your prospects and sellers then you’re just wasting time. Measure the usage and revenue attribution for each content piece. That can help you to not only justify the initiative but also to focus on contributors, content types, and topics that are valuable and contribute to sales.
Your internal experts can have a major impact on sales success. Follow these steps to get your program up and running!