Buyers don’t have time for sales people who just ask for orders. They want reps that will help them build business cases and lead change in their companies. They need a partner that can help them look great and drive success in their business.

That’s why there’s so much frustration among buyers. Just 20% of sales people are considered value-add by buyers. Ouch. Sales people have seen this challenge and confronted it by becoming experts on their space and products — bringing the value-add heat.

A key way to bring that value is through the use of content. Interesting, relevant, and impactful content that helps support buyers as they make their case for change. We surveyed hundreds of sales people and confirmed that fact. We found that 95% of sales people demand great content from marketing and sales enablement.

But Is It the Right Content?

Like most marketing teams, yours is likely producing a wealth of great content: eBooks, infographics, presentations, videos, and more. But part of the challenge is that content is often designed for top-of-funnel. It often aims to generate interest and awareness, but it isn’t as compelling for the bottom-of-the-funnel where the need is greatest.

That discrepancy shows up in the numbers. Sales uses just 20% of marketing content, according to industry analyst IDC.

So, how can you help marketing to build the content your sales teams are craving? Let’s take a look at four steps that can get you results.

  1. Give Qualitative Feedback

    It’s time to come together. Pull your marketing team — particularly product marketing — together to talk this out. They need to hear constructive feedback about what content is working and what isn’t.
    What are prospects and customers saying about your materials? Why aren’t you comfortable using certain pieces? Why do you reuse the same pieces in different sales situations? Or why are you creating new pieces? The truth hurts, but it helps.

  2. Understand the Buying Process and Map To It

    As Sharon Little from Sirius Decisions pointed out, one of the best ways to help sales with content is to understand the buyer journey. If marketing only thinks about the journey in terms of generating leads then of course that’s the content they’ll make.

    Jointly walk through the various steps in a typical buyer journey. Consider the pains, challenges, and needs buyers have from lead to sale (and post-sale), and together you can identify the kinds of information your buyer is hungry for.

    Then, armed with this information, marketing can set a plan for building content that matches these needs.

  3. Make the Content Findable and Easy to Share

    Marketing is often responsible for storing and distributing content to sales people. Simply putting it on a portal that’s hard to use is not a solution. And sending occasional emails to sales about new content being available is not going to help sales to use the material.

    Instead, insist that the marketing content be proactively pushed to your team. Tell marketing where sales people work —email, mobile, the CRM, etc. They need to know where it is most convenient for you to find and share your content from.

  4. Get Qualitative Feedback on Content Quality

    Sure your opinion on content’s effectiveness matters. But what can really affect change is when the data points the way. Encourage marketing to track the performance of content in the sales process.

    If content is constantly correlated with won deals, maybe they need to double-down on that type of collateral. And if a piece is constantly associated with lost deals, then why? Are there gaps in the content marketing portfolio that can be identified based on volumes of content being shared? Attribution tools can help to answer these questions.

Marketing content is a key part of your sales process. And when marketing is onside and producing content that your sales team needs, it can be a major lift and help drive revenue. So, follow these steps to get marketing’s support for your sales efforts.



Today’s post is by Peter Mollins, VP of Marketing, KnowledgeTree.