With the elimination of most physical face-to-face meetings, the new purchasing environment requires the sales department to be better and more relevant than ever.
The extraordinary growth in digital engagement makes the effective use of content a requirement for sales enablement and better engagement. However, many companies have a problem with sales not using the marketing content that's available. If this is the case in your company, you need to change how you do things.
In many marketing budgets, around 20% or more of the whole amount is assigned to content development — but is the right content being produced? The primary purpose of content is to be relevant and drive revenue by supporting sales. But if sales reps aren't using your marketing content, it could mean that they start spending too much time finding or creating their own content, which may not be brand-compliant or follow the brand and positioning guidelines.
Each company is different, but generally, these are the main reasons why sales reps fail to use the available marketing content:
They can't find the content
Struggling to find relevant content and material is a common issue for sales reps. Most sales reps I speak to say that they can't find content adapted to their prospects, and when this is the case, their sales organisations have a real challenge. I also hear regularly that they cannot easily find and send the content which is available, which is an even more frustrating problem.
Misalignment between marketing and sales is a widespread problem among B2B companies, and that's the source of this issue. To prove their content's value, marketers must make it easier for the sales reps to find relevant content.
A sales enablement platform is critical in solving this problem, since it gives you a way to store and manage all your content and marketing material. If sales reps have a solid, well-tagged library of content that serves as the single source of truth, they can easily find that specific and up-to-date asset, success story, price sheet, or other vital content.
To improve this process, marketers must organise and tag content in a way that make it easier for reps, based on categories like target persona, use case, buying stage, and when to use it, with best practice examples. Proper tagging within your sales enablement platform helps sales reps immediately use filters to find content for specific conversations, and when conversations with the buyer swivel to focus on a new need.
Sales don't know how to use the content effectively.
Using content effectively is a great way to engage buyers, but research shows that most sales reps aren't great at it. Marketing material, when used effectively, must highlight the sales reps as industry experts, engage and inform potential and existing customers, and help reps move the buying process forward. The sellers need to know what content is most relevant to which buyer, wherever they are in the buying process. Guide sales reps in how to use content, and help them see the value of using it. If sales reps understand that the content makes it easier for them to build buyer engagement and motivate conversations, they will use it.
Most content is created for the top of the funnel
It's an important type of content to have in your mix, but most of it is too basic to help your sales reps gain trust and confidence from their clients - it's likely they know the information already.
Your marketing department should be aware of this problem, and strive to create content that provides supports for sales reps, instead of just driving pageviews. To help progress potential deals forward, content needs to drill into the problems and challenges that potential and existing customers need to solve, and provide a path to a solution that your company offers. Content that is focused on use cases from similar customers and potential business outcomes is especially valuable. This type of content is the tool reps require to advance their conversations with buyers.
They're unsure if it's current content
Given the problems I've already mentioned, it's no wonder that sales reps often use outdated content. If they're frustrated at their inability to find the tools they need during sales or customer meetings, it's not surprising that they end up downloading other content and reusing it. Finding out which pieces of content are the most up-to-date takes time, and it frequently doesn't get done. Using an effective sales enablement platform, with a content library filled with the most up-to-date versions of your content, allows sales reps to be confident that the material they're using is not outdated. The sales reps shall feel ensured that online and offline capabilities for instant access also promote content usage. If you're managing this platform, it's good to make sure that it can be available offline if needed. That way, the content can be accessed even if the sales rep has connection issues during an important meeting.
Marketing content is too high-level
There is usually no shortage of content created to serve potential and existing customers in their purchasing decisions. But it is very seldom the right content, for the right persona, at the right time in the buyer's journey. Content is often misaligned with what's needed in reality, and this does neither marketing nor sales any good.
Relevant and valuable material specific to the buyer's use case is essential if you want to solve their business challenge or need. As the buying process advances, potential and existing customers require guiding content to convince them that your products, solutions or services are the best options for them, for example through your customer case studies. You need to produce more content that can be relevant for different types of buyers — but this investment is worth it.
It's difficult to share the content
With limitations on the sizes of attachments, access to internal document libraries and other headaches, sales reps find it challenging to get content through to potential and existing customers. Larger files like videos and presentations get rejected. and this problem gets worse when sales reps want to share multiple pieces of content to tell a story.
With a modern sales enablement platform, sales reps can use appointed landing pages for outreach and follow-up. They can upload the desired combination of content to answer the buyer's questions, and extend their conversations. Landing pages that are automatically generated when the sales rep sends an email from the platform make sharing possible with minimal administration and provide just what sales reps need to make progress with their deals.
Build trust in marketing content with sales
There is no shortage of content in most companies, but there generally needs to be better alignment between sales and marketing. Sales reps don't use much of the marketing content because they can't find it, they don't trust it, and they don't know how and when to use it. There's also usually an immediate need for content that can support conversations and interactions in mid- and late-stage deals.
Marketers and sales reps need to work efficiently, and a sales enablement platform makes this possible. Sales reps benefit by being able to help customers move forward, and marketers benefit by getting a better idea of what marketing content gets used the most, allowing them to improve their efforts, increase relevance, and prove their department's ROI.
If you want to learn more about creating content that will benefit your sales department, take a look at our content creation guide - there's plenty of good resources there.
If you want more tips on the actual content creation process, you can take a look at our downloadable guide to repurposing content — this is a really efficient way to take the material your company already has and turn it into content that can attract customers. Click the button below to get it.
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about what and how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B. Asks a lot of questions, and knows what to do with the answers.