According to SiriusDecisions, 70% of content created by B2B marketing teams is never used by sales.
This is a staggering statistic, and a disheartening one for those involved in the content marketing industry. Over the past year, there’s been a ton of emphasis on the benefits of adopting a content marketing strategy, but what about the flip side of the coin? How is sales expected to use content, and how can marketing optimize this process for their reps?
Content is a huge aspect of lead generation, but it also has a lot of potential for lead nurturing on the sales side. The most successful sales reps are the ones who are educating their buyers with new insights and tailoring their conversations to the needs of their individual prospects — and this is only possible with the content provided by the marketing team.
For sales to really be able to take advantage of marketing content, both teams need to work together to create a system that works. To get started, take a look at a few ideas that we’ve implemented at Pardot:
Your sales and marketing teams can’t work together without communicating. This is just as true for content marketing as it is for lead qualification and revenue attribution. When it comes to content, your sales team is on the front lines, and has the best understanding of what your prospects are looking for. Pick a cadence that works for both of your teams, and have marketing and sales meet to discuss the following:
What questions come up regularly on sales calls?
What kinds of content would your sales team find useful? What gaps do they see in your current offerings?
What pain points are your prospects experiencing? What kind of content would be useful to help prospects understand and alleviate these pain points?
Discussing these questions will help your marketing team understand what content is needed from them, while helping sales to realize that content can really be useful for them.
Create a Content Library
One of our recent endeavors at Pardot was to create a content library for our sales team — a need that arose from a meeting between our marketing and sales teams. To begin with, we catalogued all of our existing content and met with a few of our sales managers to discuss what gaps they would like to see us fill. As we worked through these gaps, we simultaneously began sorting all of our content into helpful categories:
Stage of the sales cycle: is this content best used for top, middle, or bottom-of-funnel prospects?
Type of content: white paper, case study, webinar?
Keywords and pain points addressed: what keywords should sales reps listen for before sending out this content?
Once content was sorted into these categories, each item was given a short description and a direct download link, and placed on the intranet for easy access. If there’s one thing we’ve learned at Pardot about creating content for sales, it’s that content won’t get used if it’s not readily available. Sales reps’ time is valuable, and they don’t want to waste it seeking out a piece of content that may or may not be helpful.
How has your marketing team been working with sales to align your content strategy? What tips would you pass along? Let us know in the comments, and check out a new piece released by salesforce.com and Kapost, “Connecting with Content: A Salesperson’s Guide to Content Marketing.”