It’s no good just leading the horse to water
Sales enablement and content
I remember when we used to run campaigns where the main call to action was a telephone number. We would always advise that it’s really important to make sure whoever answered the phone knew about the campaign, to avoid any “I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about” responses.
It was a great thing to say, because it made you look like you were covering all the angles, but the reality is it was often treated as an afterthought. The result was quite a lot of “I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about.”
The connection point between the content and tools that marketing create for sales, and what sales then do with it needs looking at.
There’s a (now old) statistic from SiriusDecisions (now Forrester) that says “only 35 percent of the content created by a B2B organisation is actively used. The reason that the other 65 percent goes unused generally boils down to two things: it’s unfindable (hard to find, unknown to users) and unusable (irrelevant, low quality).”
Yet, other research shows us that customers want to consume content – with more than half of all B2B buyers view at least eight pieces of content during their purchase process.
The role of marketing in creating content for sales is important for effective sales enablement, but we need to unpick some of the issues that create the stats above:
If it is, it was created in completely the wrong way. Sales content shouldn’t be created with only subject matter experts’ contributing. It needs to tell a ‘compelling’ story in order to ‘urge’ the audience to act (some will say it shouldn’t try to do both…I disagree) and it’s the sales community who have the important insight on what works, and what doesn’t, in this sense.
It‘s low quality…
If you create content without the right inputs, it will almost certainly be low quality. If this refers to the quality of writing and design, that’s a different matter. Avoiding low quality content from an aesthetic viewpoint is the express reason why marketing should be in control of it and not sales – but everybody can be susceptible to thinking “that’ll do.” It won’t, and never should. The creativity involved in how the content is written and designed will impact your sales…see here.
Then someone needs to be fired? Maybe. Personally, I think a lot of perspectives like this boil down to the way you deliver the content to sales and how you support it.
If you create content and simply chuck it at sales, without taking the time to educate them on its purpose, where it fits and how to use it, their perception of it (if they do actually consume it) will be created out of context.
You may find that some of the better looking material with the bigger, most obvious headlines will be chucked forward to the customer on the off chance it might create a response. But ‘spray and pray’ won’t get the engagement you want.
We see more detailed enablement approaches consistently work. Just recently the core customer facing content we produced for our client ended up with an engagement level four times larger than other comparable pieces. Why? Because we informed the sales community on how best to use it and connected it to the formal sales education they received on the same subject.
So, give your sales content the best chance by creating it with appropriate contribution; writing and designing it with care and creativity; and by helping the sales community to know how to use it and get the best results from it.
And finding it? Well, I’ve already written about that here.