Content marketing is a critical part of the B2B promotional mix, 81% of businesses report that their blog is important or critical in generating leads. However, while a lot of content is created for the top of the funnel, content that helps sales teams get the deal over the line is often overlooked. To improve sales enablement the creation and implementation of a content marketing strategy is a critical success factor.

Why a Content Marketing Strategy Helps

Creating great content takes time and for many businesses adding planning into the mix can be a step too far. Only 46% of enterprise-level organisations report they actually have a documented content marketing strategy.

And here-in lies the problem. Without a strategy or plan, content is created without direction or purpose. Marketing is too focused on top of the funnel content that helps them hit their lead gen targets while sales are left struggling to convert leads because they don’t have content to help them overcome objections and maintain the relationship until the customer is ready to buy.

Creating a content marketing strategy will ensure that content is generated proportionately for every stage of the funnel. Using a combination of customer, competitor and keyword research, content can be mapped to each funnel stage based on customer pain points. This stops customers from falling through the gaps and ensures sales teams have the resources they need to succeed.

Aligning Sales and Marketing To Improve Sales Enablement

Although many organisations are focused on delivering a seamless customer experience only 21% of marketers say content marketing and sales are extremely/very aligned in their organisation.

Putting a content marketing strategy in place will help to overcome this as it gives both functions a stake in the content that’s created. What’s more, reports from sales are vital for creating fresh top and mid-funnel content based on the direct feedback they’re getting from the market.

Another solution to this problem is to implement cross-functional metrics. Rather than stand-alone metrics like ‘leads generated’ metrics like ‘lead to close rate’ will help both teams to identify where customers are dropping off and therefore where more/better content is needed.

Using Data To Improve Sales Enablement

Improving sales enablement isn’t just about having the right content at the bottom of the funnel. Content at the top of the funnel is just as important too. With the right technology, sales teams can gather large amounts of useful information about a prospect before they make contact and use this to quickly identify pain points and potential barriers to sale.

Analytics tools and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software are heavily relied on by sales and marketing teams to gather and review this information. In fact, a CMI report found that 89% of marketers rely on analytics tools and 69% on CRM to assist with content marketing activities.

Sales teams should not only have access to, but should actively be using these solutions to review their top leads and identify which blog posts they viewed, which content they downloaded and which videos they watched. Doing so gives sales teams a head start and enables them to make contact with the right message and the right time based on where the lead is in their journey.

Conclusion

Content can play a big role in improving sales enablement but the chances of success are much greater with a content marketing strategy in place. Having visibility on where the gaps on in your content will help to stop customers dropping off mid-way through the journey and technology like CRM and analytics tools enable sales to build better relationships based on real data and customer actions.