6 pieces of advice on reconciling content and salespeople

What you will read in this article

After training and digital equipment of salespeople, we continue our series on Sales Enablement with marketing content.

As a reminder, Sales Enablement is a continuous strategy that provides salespeople with all the resources they require to engage their customers at every stage in the buying journey: digital tools, content, training, procedures and information.

Although salespeople need content, 90%* of content produced by marketing departments isn’t used. And sales teams waste 30 hours* a month looking for and creating their own content. Yet, if you’re a marketing professional, you know that your content is of strategic importance. You make use of a great many resources in production, storage and promotion of content.

*source: The New Rules of sales Enablement, Jeff Ernst

Gather all your content together in a single source

According to a study by Hubspot on the State of Inbound Marketing, 68% of companies questioned have 5 different storage spaces for their content. Drive, PIM, DAM, marketing automation, inboxes, personal files – having so many storage spaces hampers use of content. They no longer know where to look for and above all where to find what they need.

Depending on your organisation, you may not be able to gather all your content together in a single source. Nonetheless, do your utmost to create a single library, with simple nomenclature in order to facilitate research. Also make sure that content is accessible. Salespeople must be able to get their hands on the content they need, whenever they need it and whatever the context.

Standardise your content

According to a Quark study, 80% of companies questioned consider that the marketing department is responsible for content production. Yet according to the same study, sales teams produce 40% of a company’s content while marketing teams produce 30%. Consequently, duplication can all too easily occur and you lose in productivity and efficacy. You also increase risks of impairing your messages and brand image.

In order to standardise it and ensure a unified brand image, ask your salespeople to provide you with the content they use. You can then update it and provide them with the right information. By doing so, you’ll gain in collaboration and trust.

Make the utmost of this opportunity and conduct a comprehensive audit of existing content. Once completed, you’ll know which content is useful, used or obsolete.

Collaborate with your salespeople

If you want to make sure that your content is used, collaborate with your salespeople. As has been pointed out, content is an invaluable aid for sales teams in their efforts to engage their customers. Yet, as a marketing professional, it often happens that you haven’t actually had an appointment with a customer for quite some time. You may therefore produce content you believe to be relevant but which finally turns out to be unusable when trying to make a sale.

Before getting down to content creation, ask your salespeople what they need in terms of relevant content and how they use their content. You can also make updates once it’s made available, by collecting your salespeople’s feedback from the field.

This will also be an opportunity to update your buyer personas in accordance with their feedback. Hence, you’ll have the ongoing knowledge of your prospects required in order to target your content.

Stop separating “marketing” content from “salespeople” content

It’s often wrongly believed that marketing departments only produce content for advertising or promotional purposes, or for the initial phases of the buying journey. This dissonance is often the result of an a priori assumption that an inbound marketing strategy only serves to generate leads. Yet blog articles, white papers and posts on social networks may very well be reused by salespeople. They’re sources of informative content that may also give them a better idea of their market, provide sector news and hone their expertise. Used with a prospect, they’re a means of proving their expertise when required.

In addition, in the context of a social selling or employee advocacy strategy, salespeople can reappropriate marketing content in order to publish on social media, strike up conversations with their customers and reinforce their posture as experts and “consultant” salespersons.

Inform salespeople of content production

As a result of poor alignment of marketing and sales teams, it often happens that salespeople are simply not informed that new content is available.

Yet whether it’s a matter of blog articles, updates of sales presentations or new product sheets, your salespeople must be able to know what content is available to them. Whether via newsletter, emails or internal messaging, you need to communicate to salespeople on content production. Content is an excellent reason for closer alignment of marketing and sales teams.

Analyse your content’s performance

Once you’ve got all your content together in the same place and collaborated with and informed your salespeople on the subject, it’s time to analyse its performance in order to know which content is the most effective. For example, you can track:

  • documents opened by your salespeople
  • documents sent to prospects
  • documents consulted by prospects
  • and establish connections between opening rates and conversion rates

Such quantified monitoring will improve the effectiveness of sales and marketing actions. You can focus your efforts on content that’s relevant for your prospects.

In conclusion, your content strategy is directly connected with your Sales Enablement strategy. By getting marketing and sales teams to collaborate, you not only align objectives, you also improve your business efficiency.

To implement an effective Sales Enablement strategy, download our white paper.