I have an unpleasant truth to share with B2B marketers and communicators: Sales doesn’t care about your content.
They don’t. Really. I promise, as does Forrester Research and the American Marketing Association. According to those organizations, sales actually doesn’t care about 90% of your content.
But your content is awesome and you’re driving leads like crazy on the Snapface and Twitbook! Why wouldn’t they care?
It’s simple: Sales is its own distinct marketing channel that reaches your prospective and current buyers, just like the paid, owned, social, and earned sources you’re currently leveraging to drive awareness, demand, and revenue.
So if you’re expecting them to use content that you developed for a different channel without customization, you’ll end up with a metric ton of content sitting in that ghost town you call your intranet.
While content may be heralded by many as “king,” B2B sales is not dead. It’s more influential than ever for closing your largest sales opportunities.
According to data released by SiriusDecisions at their 2015 Sales Enablement Summit, sales representatives are interacting more than 50% of the time during the buyer education stages, with percentages directly correlating to the size of the deal. In addition, your top business developers and account managers are a top of funnel channel for you. They generate leads and are usually very good at it.
So why aren’t you training them to generate leads in a way that helps your demand generation efforts and achieves the goal everyone cares about: Revenue?
Now that I’ve sold you on your sales team being your new best friends, what’s next? Here are 5 ways to help customize and promote the content you’ve already created and drive increased ROI with a smart sales enablement strategy.
1. Create a focus group of champions.
It’s always easiest to find your sales rockstars. Just look at your revenue dashboards. Then beg, cajole, and bribe these representatives to give you some of their valuable time to figure out what they’re doing that’s working with clients.
Ask them which materials (videos, whitepapers, infographics, proposals, etc.) are the most helpful at proving the value of your solutions, and more importantly why they believe these assets work. This will give you a valuable new lens to use when sifting through your current content library.
2. Go back to the well.
Armed with these new insights from your reps, you will likely realize that a large percentage of the content you have will never be effective for sales. But there’s probably a lot of things your reps can use across the entirety of their sales cycle.
If your sales team uses any kind of sales methodology, make sure you understand it and how they work a deal from opportunity to close. That will help you understand their process and ultimately where your content can supplement and lend credibility to their efforts.
Map out a plan of a few pieces of content as potential value-adds, and then go back and leverage your group of champions to validate your efforts.
3. Develop clear “reasons to care.”
You’ve identified the content that you and your sales reps find interesting and engaging, but why would a potential or current client read it? Why would they open an attachment to an email or go to your website’s knowledge center and spend valuable time consuming it?
Based on our experience at PR Newswire, not helping reps get clients hooked is where we have the biggest drop-off in a content piece being used. Most reps simply don’t have the bandwidth to really learn the content and then create client-facing messaging that fits the client and the situation.
If you can help develop these simple messaging points – usually in email form and leveraging CRM, marketing automation, or some other workflow or software where reps live, you can greatly increase the usage rate.
4. Create a cadence of internal promotion.
How many pieces of content do you have on your website? 50? 100? Videos, infographics, blog posts – oh my! How is a rep going to know what’s fresh and new?
Create an internal mechanism to promote and serve up the content and those “reasons to care” on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Put it in a place the reps look, such as a CRM “Chatter” platform or in a short, concise email. And cover a few topics each week across your offerings and buyer types (I recommend 3).
By taking this approach, you might just serve up the right piece of content at the right time, or show a rep a perfect reason to reach out to a client who has gone dormant or is facing a renewal.
5. Promote successes.
The easiest step of all. Every time you’re driving a meeting or an opportunity – not even a sale – you’ve already helped make the life of your reps easier and put money in their pockets.
As soon as other reps see your success, you’ll see everyone trying to leverage content to make their outreach and selling easier.
The best part about all of this is that just by leveraging assets you’ve already created, you might start making an impact on revenue directly without spending any additional budget or time creating new content. And that’s a success you can promote to your boss.
Learn more about using an intelligent mix of communications channels with our latest white paper Maximize the Reach of Your Message with a Strategic, Multichannel Plan.