Neon Brain

Marketers have generally relegated static HTML pages to the past (though Berkshire Hathaway’s website is still going strong). Marketing content needs to be smart: it needs to know who you are, respond to your device, and even tell you where you should go next. Sales content, on the other hand, still has a way to go. Sales content intelligence often stems from how long the salesperson has to individualize sales content through creation or searching through a massive content library.

That time available can be summed up as “very little”; plus, do marketers want salespeople creating collateral in the first place? There are better methods of getting smarter about sales content, and they’re easier to implement than you might think.

1. Start with relevance

If you think that swapping out company names in the same slide deck that passes through hundreds of conference rooms every year constitutes “personalization,” think again. You can’t deny the power of using someone’s name, but spotting a generic document isn’t difficult, and looking at one isn’t useful for savvy buyers.

The shotgun approach might have worked for the old-school salesperson, but it won’t work for the consultative Content Concierges that many buyers now demand. With the amount of content that buyers consume, chances are they’ve seen some variation of that generic company material on your website.

Thus, it’s a matter of pulling together the most relevant content in a sales meeting. If salespeople are going to use PowerPoint slides, they won’t use the whole deck; they should pull the slides that are going to be relevant to your customer, and intersperse relevant customer testimonials with those, along with any videos or whatever other type of content that customer needs.

For marketers, that simply means making sure that salespeople have quick access to that content, and can find what they need (or put together collections) for individual customers just as quickly, without having to create their own content.

2. Fueling sales content intelligence with data

Finding what’s “relevant”

“All of this is nice,” you’re saying to yourself, “but how does a marketer know what’s relevant to salespeople?” The same way that Google Analytics or Crazy Egg tell you what’s relevant to your website visitors: data. Before, it was a matter of asking the salesperson what content they used and hoping they took notes or remembered. Or, more likely, waiting until the salesperson complained about not having the right content.

Good news, marketers: the insight for how content performs on your website and social media is now available in the form of sales meeting metrics. That is, the right sales meeting software provides data into content accessed, user behavior and flow, in addition to unaccessed content. That’s in addition to user segmentation–meaning that if you decide that something is relevant for some salespeople, you don’t have to force that content onto sales reps selling different products in a different region.

Discovering direct relevance

Once marketers get in email communication with a prospect, they can hone in on if content is working for a particular persona through email marketing tools like MailChimp, HubSpot or Marketo. With software that uses trackable links for content shared with customers, marketers have access to not only what salespeople perceive as relevant, but what late-stage prospects actually engage with on an individual basis. Sales reps then know if prospects are responding to content, and marketers can use that data to craft content prospects will engage with in the future.

3. Make sales content interactive

Interactive content is one way to achieve relevance that not only removes time spent by a salesperson preparing for meetings, but also helps add a connection between salesperson and customer. It’s also the closest way in a sales meeting you can replicate the experience of going through an intuitive website and finding exactly what you need without fluff or irrelevant material.

Marketing can frame that relevant content in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” way, so that rather than searching for content, sales can choose from the options that can take them down the right road for any customer. The personal connection happens when interactive content enables “story-selling”; marketers have created a blueprint, but salespeople, unburdened with additional admin time, can fully invest in providing personal examples and engaging in the moment. Rather than being told what their perceived problems are, buyers have the opportunity to discover problems (and more importantly, solutions) alongside their salesperson.

And data isn’t just useful for marketers on the back-end; it’s useful for customers, too. Here are a few ways that you can use data to power interactive content. Some ways of using hard data include using average industry figures to create an interactive insurance calculator or creating interactive charts based on potential ROI for a prospect’s inputs.

Digital marketers have a wealth of insight into who their prospects are, what interests those prospects and the types of customized experiences they’re looking for. Now marketers can meet those needs at every stage even after the lead gets passed off.

To learn more about how smarter sales content adds to sales productivity, click below to download the free eBook by John Burns, Maximizing Sales Productivity Throughout the Buying Cycle.

Brain by gnaphron | CC By 2.0