interactive content graphicIf you’re not already talking about interactive sales content, you will be soon.

Why is interactive content so much more effective? For sales and marketing, interactivity changes the conversation from a monologue – talking at prospects and customers – to a dialogue going both ways. The results speak for themselves: According to Demand Metric’s Content & the Buyer’s Journey Benchmark Study, apps, assessments, calculators, configurators and quizzes, generate conversions moderately or very well 70% of the time, compared to just 36% for passive content. That same report found that interactive content was 93% effective at educating buyers and 88% effective at distinguishing a brand from its competitors.

From a learning and development or customer education perspective, we learn best by doing (Psychologist John Dewey developed the theory that we learn by constructing meanings from direct experiences) and retain that knowledge better. In fact, the more sensory-rich and unique a piece of content is, the more likely you are to remember it later on.

As we move from the traditional one-and-done sales training – the sales training “event” – to ongoing sales learning, we must acknowledge the new ways reps are absorbing knowledge and provide them with even more engaging, useful content that they can access anytime, anywhere. But most sales teams have yet to make the jump to interactive content. In today’s post we’ll discuss the six things that might be holding you back – and why you shouldn’t be afraid to take the dive anyway.

#1 You don’t have enough budget.
Being able to secure ample resources – translation: designers, engineers, writers, video producers, software, equipment, money – is the number one roadblock to creating content of any kind, not just interactive. Budgets are stretched thin as it is and we all know how expensive it can be to outsource every content project (outsourcing with a strategy, however, is a whole other ball game). But smart content managers know that you don’t have to overspend to see results – you just need the right people, processes, and technology in place to keep your sales enablement as streamlined and efficient as possible.

#2 You’re afraid it’ll replace you.
It’s only natural to worry that entire L&D departments may one day be replaced by a completely automated or online experience. Customer service reps have been fearing the exact same thing for years. Just because it’s interactive, however, doesn’t mean it’s designed to be a substitute for real human interaction. Facilitators and content curators aren’t going anywhere, and the best content creation technologies will know when, where, and how to bring interactive options into the mix.

#3 You don’t know how or where to host it.
Right now, most training is held in person or via webinars and is supplemented with static content that is relatively easy to deliver to the user by email. Interactive content seems a little trickier to get to sales reps and prospects – Where will you host it? Can it be accessed on a mobile device? Is the file size too large to deliver via email? These are all excellent questions, but the good news is there are more and more options becoming available. Our forthcoming Content Creator platform, for example, will package your interactive content and deliver it up wherever you need it.

#4 You’re worried about content fatigue.
Salespeople – all people, really – are being bombarded with content all the time. It’s true, there is a lot of noise out there. So whether you are training sales reps or creating customer-facing content, it’s your job to stand apart from the noise. And precisely because they are so busy is the reason why users might rather watch (or listen to) a quick video or take a short quiz on their phone as opposed to sit on a call or in-person meeting. Interactive content is available anytime, anywhere, which makes it incredibly appealing. And by using a format that involves multiple senses, like video, you’re going to see dramatically improved engagement. Win-win.

#5 You don’t even have time to create sales content the old-fashioned way.
No, we aren’t going to suggest some magical way of adding more hours to the day. We are going to propose that the old-fashioned way is actually using up more of your valuable time than you can afford to lose. Most sales organizations today are using a system that we like to call “random act of sales support,” creating one-off pieces as they are requested, with no strategy or plan in place for how to update, organize, or reuse existing content. Taking this approach, of course you don’t have enough time for sales content. With a content publishing strategy, however, your output will increase but time spent won’t. Which is kind of like magic that you can replicate – time and time again.

#6 Not sure what the ROI is. What’s in it for you?
We’ve told you how to make interactive sales content for less money than you previously thought and in the same amount of time it takes to write a white paper or design a training slide deck – but is it worth it? Without question, yes, it is. Sales productivity is still one of the most serious issues facing organizations today. Sales productivity, as measured by the number of salespeople achieving quota, has been dropping the last four years despite considerable amounts of time and money being thrown at the problem. In 2015, only 54.6% of salespeople achieved quota, barely half. It’s time to try something different. When you utilize dynamic, on-demand content as part of sales learning you will begin to see improvements in sales productivity almost immediately. Make your sales team more productive by giving them the knowledge they need to be able to attract and then keep prospects’ attention, all the way to the end of the sale.

At The Value Shift, we’ve seen the need for fast, easy, and effective interactive content within sales teams and the larger organization firsthand. That’s why we developed The Content Creator, an online platform that allows anyone to build, publish, and manage their own mobile-ready interactive videos, infographics, learning courses, quizzes, checklists, and more. Once you’ve produced a piece of content it’s easy to distribute it to your sales force (through integrations with Showpad and other popular sales enablement platforms) and then track views and usage in detailed, access-anytime reports.