Why You Should Create a Content Library For Sales — & How to Do It

Here’s an interesting paradox: according to a January 2015 study by Regalix, generating leads and creating awareness were cited as the top objectives of content marketing by 83% and 76% of marketers, respectively — but a study by IDC states that as much as 80% of the content created by marketers isn’t even used by sales.

As much as 80% of content created by marketers isn?t even used by sales. Tweet This.

Can content really reach its full lead generation and awareness potential when sales doesn’t even know it exists? In an ideal situation, your sales team should be a primary proponent of your content efforts — not to mention an important vehicle for content delivery and promotion to prospects.

The Content Marketing Institute attributes this disparity to three possible issues:

  1. Sales isn’t aware that content exists
  2. They don’t have time to look for it
  3. There’s too much content to sift through

In each of these scenarios, what it really comes down to is the organization of your content. If sales doesn’t know that content exists — or is overwhelmed by the quantity of content or the time it would take to locate what they need — your company likely needs a content hub for sales reps to use to sort through marketing assets.

At Pardot, we’ve found great success creating a content portal for sales reps to use to access our marketing content. All it took to get started was a simple conversation.

Step One. Find out what sales needs.

You can’t set up a system for sales without their input. Start by gathering together a few of your sales managers or top performers to hear more about what they’d like to see in a content library. How would they like content to be organized? What supplemental information do they need for each piece of content? Where should you host your content library to see the highest adoption — your company intranet or somewhere else?

During the course of this conversation, you’ll likely be able to identify gaps in your current content offerings as well. Keep these needs in mind as you begin building out your content library.

Step Two. Start categorizing.

Since two of the primary roadblocks for content adoption are “not enough time” and “too much content,” it’s important to pare your content down into more easily referenceable categories. Use the input gathered from your sales team to break your content into topics, content types, stage of the sales cycle — whatever works for your team. Ideally, your content library should be sortable by one or more of these criteria to make searching as easy as possible.

Step Three. Develop supplemental information.

Often, sales reps may skip over a piece of content entirely because they don’t understand when to use it. Consider including all or some of the following additional elements to help them understand what the piece of content is, when to use it, and how to share it.

  • Short Description: What is this piece of content, and what does it cover?
  • Keywords: What words or key phrases should sales reps listen for before sending out this particular piece of content?
  • Pain Points: What prospect pain points does this content help address?
  • Email Templates: Is there a pre-made email template that sales reps can use to send out this content to their prospects?
  • Tracked Links: Can sales reps use tracked links to send content on a one-off basis?
  • Stage of the Sales Cycle: Is this content best used for top, middle, or bottom of the funnel prospects?

Step Four. Evangelize.

With a content library of helpful resources, you may solve two of the three issues hampering content adoption at your organization. The other — “sales doesn’t know content exists” — requires your team to evangelize your content to get it in front of reps. Fortunately, with a single source of truth for marketing content, you only have one place to direct reps to. Team up with the sales reps that helped you develop the system to actively publicize the new resource to the entire sales organization. Then, keep them regularly updated as you add more resources.

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. Put everything they need at their fingertips — in one place — to fully enable them to sell to the best of their ability.

Looking for more ways that sales and marketing can work together? Check out our Little Black Book of Sales and Marketing Alignment microsite for a fun look at the issue of sales-marketing alignment.

sales and marketing alignment microsite

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8 thoughts on “Why You Should Create a Content Library For Sales — & How to Do It

  • I’d also add in the idea of collaboration between Marketing & Sales (and everyone else in the org). Understanding what the other teams are doing, and how you impact each other is important for so many reasons.

  • Jenna- my compliments on a very articulate, professional, research supported and relative piece for identifying the key challenges of field sales reps, especially in the B2B segment, for easily sourcing the RIGHT content in a timely manner. Simply placing thousands of content pieces on the web and pointing reps to the right section is NOT the answer with today’s demands for 7x24x365 access and usage. Great piece!

    • Thanks very much, Richard! We’ve definitely found that just creating the content and telling reps that it exists is not enough. It works best to have one destination where they can sort and find everything they need – fast. Thanks for reading!

  • Great Article. And we’re looking at doing this. However, my question is how did you build the content library? I.e. specific tools? Did you use Pardot for this? We’re currently evaluating UberFlip to help with this.

    • Hi John – glad you liked the article! We built an internal system for our content library (accessible via a single URL so our reps only have to remember one thing), but we have also hosted it on our intranet in the past just using simple, sortable spreadsheets. I’d recommend starting with the simplest solution – your system will evolve as your needs do!

  • Jenna I love the third bullet point. So many more companies need to do this. Particularly the pain points. Sales are made generally because of an emotional need, not logical. For example I know I need a new filet knife but I won’t actually go purchase one until i get annoyed next time I use the old one. Just a list of pain points for sales reps alone would result in a large increase for companies. Worth the cost of making a content library with that point alone.

    • Thanks for the comment, Ryan – and definitely agree! Sales reps don’t have the time to read through e-books and data sheets to figure out when they should use each piece of content. By listing the pain points, you’re telling them in a few bullet points when it would be appropriate to use each asset.

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