Full disclosure: This post is brought to you by a marketing team.
As marketers, we only have so many hours in a day to create content. When we put hours into a piece of content and sales uses it all the time to delight prospects it’s a good use of resources all around, right? But, going the other way, when we put hours into a piece of content and it never gets used…not so great.
The Content Marketing Institute found that Between 60% and 70% of B2B marketing content never gets used. And yet reps spend about a third of their time searching for content, or creating content themselves when they can’t find what they’re looking for.
Instead of throwing shade at one another, break down the two sides of this story. Clearly, marketing is producing content, but it’s not solving the right sales problems. Just as clearly, sales reps want content, but they’re not getting what they need.
How can everyone get what they need and still be friends?
Variety is Key
Marketers think a lot about their audiences when developing content. They tend to think less about the person delivering content to their audiences. As marketers, if we want sales reps to use the content we produce, we need to think about how it fits into their day. What pieces of content will help sales reps in the situations they find themselves?
First impression piece
The first touchpoint is a doozy. It’s a rep’s only shot at a first impression. Failure to capture attention can be near impossible to overcome. Providing Sales teams with content designed for that first touchpoint is crucial in helping reps to break through. When content speaks to what your prospects care about, and is designed for the sales reps to use, everyone wins.
For many SDRs, the handoff can be a challenging step. Whether it’s a detailed demo or a personalized AE hand-off, that second impression is just as important as the first when it comes to keeping the ball rolling. Provide sales teams with fresh resources that can articulate deeper value, but aren’t cookie-cutter replicas of the first piece.
Getting past “No” pieces
Reps don’t throw in the towel when the first conversations ends with a “No.” Often, those prospects aren’t yet ready to buy or need more information before continuing. Providing sales reps with content that continually provides value to their prospects leveraging different messaging and channels will help sales reps to break through the noise.
Break the silence piece
Reps need to stay on their prospect’s radar. A well-timed message can be the nudge a prospect needs to revisit an old conversation and eventually do a deal. The “Checking In” message has seen its fair share of criticism on Linkedin lately. When creating this piece of content ask yourself, would I engage with this? Hint – this can be a place to show your sense of humor.
Common objections complementary pieces
Prospects have questions. Reps need to provide answers. Having the right responses on hand, with content to back it up, can help sway a conversation in the rep’s favour. Creating one-pagers that can be used to complement your reps objection handling will help them move those deals forward.
Relationship nurturing pieces
It can take months or even years from the first call to close. During that time reps need to be building a relationship with prospects. Provide sales teams with a different and compelling reason to reach out to their prospects. As marketers, we can help sales to build the image of a company that people want to do business with.
Personal brand pieces
Speaking of trust, reps also need to think about how the content they share reflects their own brand. (You better believe prospects will research who their SDR or AE is on social media.) As marketers, are we helping our sales team grow their brand on the channels where we want them prospecting?
It’s a no-brainer than good content drives sales. According to a survey from Docurated, 57% of reps cite high-quality content as a top driver of sales performance.
Knowing how sales uses content is one part of the battle. Creating content that fits into those needs is another.
Here’s what good, sales-ready content might look like:
- It’s personalized. The content reps send should include everything from the prospect’s name and industry to the key value props relevant to their business. Content should be flexible and customizable to support that need.
- It’s short. Time is of the essence for both reps and prospects. Micro-content is a great way to whittle down content to its key points and share them with prospects. Your goal is to keep both groups engaged without wasting their time.
- It’s mapped. Content needs to align both to your sales cycle and the buyer journey. For example, while a contest or game might work well in the early stages of discovery and awareness, calculators and whitepapers perform best mid-stage.
- It’s mixed format. Produce content in a variety of formats to suit different situations and different stages. Think infographics, articles, videos, interactive games, whitepapers, customer stories, and more.
- It’s findable. Not being able to find content (or not knowing it exists in the first place) is a key reason reps don’t use what they’ve got. By making your content available through a central point of access like a playbook, reps can pull what they need, when they need it.
Alignment makes a difference. When sales and marketing work together, companies see 36% higher customer retention. They also see 38% higher win rates.
That means breaking down silos and agreeing on things like buyer personas, buyer journeys, and stages in your sales funnel. It also means communicating openly with each other. Marketing needs to know what real-life prospects are saying, and sales needs to know what’s out there for them (and what’s coming soon).