That moment you realize all the time, stress, and late nights were wasted because one little itty bitty factor was missed in your latest content marketing campaign launch and now your ROI is blown, BHOD (banging head on desk)…or maybe you bottle up your frustration better than I do.

I suddenly have to go bang my head against a wall |
I suddenly have to go bang my head against a wall |

As a B2B marketer, content marketing ROI starts with YOUR content, but typically includes a handoff to another department all together (Sales) to run the second leg of the race, with rock star follow through. Relevant, insightful, and timely lead generation follow through. Let’s examine the makings of rock star follow through:

Relevance, that’s an easy one. The next touchpoint with a new lead must reference the first action they performed. If it’s a content download, Sales must be referencing the content by name. Which leads me to the next item, insightful. When reaching out to a prospect that has submitted a form to request your content, the rock star Sales Rep better have read the content too! Whether it’s several major stats and takeaways from the content or in depth knowledge of the content in detail, Sales must be armed to have an insightful conversation. Both factors above, relevant and insightful, can be considered Sales Enablement, marketing plays a role in the handoff.

And finally, timely…oh this is a big one. The Marketing to Sales handoff is often an unspoken one. Marketing launches the campaign, leads begin to pour through your funnel (if you’re lucky) and then Sales is to pick it up from there and close, close, close. Maybe you have an SLA in place, maybe you have an agreed upon number of required lead touches? But let me ask you this, have you considered what the appropriate timeline should be for this process – and if you have, is the timeline based upon data and actual behavior? Or just an executive decision to contact leads ASAP?

Sadly, my guess is it may be the latter and while I too may have once thought that immediate contact made the most sense, get ‘em while they’re hot mentality…it’s false. And I say that because I’ve done the research, analyzing 8.5 million leads generated via content consumption to determine what the appropriate process should be.

content-consumption-gap_NetLine-CorporationIt’s called the Content Consumption Gap (at least that’s what I’m calling it). The timespan between when a person submits a form to download your content and the time they open the content to read it is the Consumption Gap – measured in hours. Would you believe that the global average among all professionals last year was 28 hours? And if you want to get real specific, C-suite professionals in tech averaged more than 30 hours. Holy smokes that’s a long time.

So, getting back to that rock star follow through, contacting a brand new lead after they’ve downloaded your content within less than 24 hours of the request means that a majority of those people have not even opened the report yet – nor are they ready to have any type of discussion with you about it. Slow your roll!

As a marketer this poor approach has massive implications on your campaigns. You’re putting in the time to produce amazing content and you’re banking on delivering a great ROI for your organization – then Sales knocks the legs out from under you by smothering these leads. Now, you can bang your head on the desk or you can get educated and then advise your entire organization on how to do it right next time, start to finish.

In the new B2B Research Report: 2017 State of IT Content Consumption and Demand Report for IT Marketers the Content Consumption Gap is further explained along with 10+ important insights for marketers to optimize content marketing and lead generation strategies this year.

Read more: How To Calculate Content Marketing ROI