In a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) it stated that “sales team members don’t use as much as 80% of the content that marketing generates even though most of it is created for sales and channel enablement.” This means that 1 in 5 pieces of marketing content created gets used. The rest remains untouched and unnoticed.
For an industry that is spending money in droves on Content Marketing, that is an alarming statistic.
Statistics show that companies that invest in sales and marketing alignment experience 20% growth in average revenues. So that begs the question, what can you do to drive a better relationship between Sales and Marketing? Based on our research, here are concrete steps you can take to not only create better marketing content but also ensure sales uses it.
Step #1: Sales and Marketing Need to Talk, With an Agenda
Talking about Sales and Marketing alignment isn’t enough. Salespeople and Marketers are different, but it’s important to remember that they all share a common goal: revenue.
In order to drive alignment, you must first learn how to talk to each other. Here’s a baseline agenda on how to fix difficulties in discussion, collaboration and implementation:
- Have a dedicated time weekly where you’ll sit and compare notes on what’s going on with your team, in the market and with prospects
- Pinpoint the stages and areas of the sales process where salespeople are encountering friction, confusion or competitive pressures
- Talk through the challenges that are top of mind for your prospects that salespeople are coming across
Based on the above discussion points, marketers and salespeople should be able to discuss and brainstorm the following items:
- The type of content that can be created to aid in the sales discussions mentioned above
- The type of content marketing can generate to help drive more leads to sales
Step #2: Get to Work, Create and Distribute Content That Won’t Become Part of the 80% Statistic
Based on the discussions that took place on Step 1, here’s where Marketing should get to work on creating content that’ll get used by Sales.
While creating content, it is the marketer’s job to not only create content that sales will use, it’s equally important they don’t forget to empathize with the prospect. According to Forrester Research “buyers do want to work with salespeople who deeply understand their roles, their companies and their challenges.” This means you should create and share content that reflects your prospect’s values.
While Marketing is creating the content, Sales should constantly stay in touch with Marketing and ensure that the content created represents the voice, tonality and style that will resonate with prospects.
- Curate content that targets a specific role, industry or problem
- Create content such as a case study, white paper or customer testimonial that addresses each step in the buyer’s journey
Step #3: Organize and Test Content
As content is created, Marketing and Sales need to come together once again and walk through the pieces of content that were created and ensure both sides understand how each of the items can be used as a secret weapon in the sales process to drive their common goal of revenue.
Specifically, Marketing needs to organize the content being created into actionable packages which Sales can quickly reference and share with prospects. As Sales uses content, both teams need to have a proper system in place to test not only which content is being used, but also whether the content is positively impacting the metrics that matter: revenue, win rates and sales cycles.
Here’s how you can organize and test every piece of content in your library:
- Get granular with organization and break apart the buyer’s journey into specific folders
- Give constructive feedback on the organization method
- Get training on the relevant skills and know where to find content
- Role play: Much like sales role play, add the step of finding a piece of content during a call and send it to your prospect in real time
- Test what content works and where it needs tweaking
- Blast it: when a new piece of content goes live – bust out your social chops and blast the word to the sales team
The Key Takeaway
At the end of the day, if a piece of content isn’t being used, then it doesn’t stand a chance of increasing revenue or connecting with prospects. Sales and Marketing need to join forces and work together if they’re going to be successful in having authentic, consultative and valuable information with prospects.