Here are some interesting stats about content marketing: 86% of B2B marketers and 77% of B2C marketers say their organization now produce content as part of their digital marketing strategy.
It’s no wonder a majority of companies now employ content marketing. When done right, relevant and timely content helps with the sales process by attracting in-target leads, giving your sales force more opportunities to connect with potential customers. But most companies are actually inefficient with their content. For instance, according to SiriusDecisions, 60 to 70% of content produced by B2B companies goes unused—leaving billions of dollars on the table.
To make sure content helps accelerate sales, it’s critical that marketers communicate with sales teams and keep them armed with relevant information. Here are 7 tips on how content marketers can get sales to discover and use the content that they worked hard producing.
1. Involve sales from the beginning.
Collaboration is key to making sure that your content marketing efforts are helping your sales force. So get sales involved from the beginning. Ask them about their prospects’ pain points and the most common objections that they hear. From there, identify the gaps in your content library and brainstorm topics that your marketing content could cover.
When it comes to your prospects, your salespeople are the experts. Get their insight frequently and early in the process.
2. Create a repository of all content available.
If you want sales to use your content, you have to be organized. Having an inventory of all your content is a crucial first step. But don’t just list your content in a spreadsheet and call it a day. Make it easy for salespeople to find everything.
You have several options when categorizing your content:
- By content type. If you’re producing different types of marketing content, you could classify them by type (ebooks versus infographics, for instance). It could even be gated pieces versus ungated content.
- By vertical. This is useful if you’re serving a target audience from a wide variety of industries.
- By buying stage. Separate content for top of the funnel (or awareness) from content that’s more applicable to the negotiation or consideration stages.
Tagging your content can also ensure that sales reps can easily find the most relevant content.
3. Communicate new content pieces.
Don’t assume that your sales teams watch everything marketing is doing. Yes, salespeople can look at your website or your blog to see your most recent content, but don’t count on them to do it. Sales reps are incredibly busy and may not necessarily care what marketing is doing. (Sorry, marketers.)
The solution is to communicate new content pieces to your sales team. This could be a simple weekly newsletter listing your latest ebooks, webinars, white papers, blog posts and infographics. Add a short description of each content and how they can help salespeople move the process along. For big, special pieces, you could also include a cheat sheet that outlines how your content ties back to your company’s value proposition.
4. Meet them in person regularly.
So here’s another painful truth: salespeople don’t always read emails from marketing. While it’s important to regularly let your sales team become aware of new content, don’t assume that’s enough.
One of the best things you could do is to meet with your sales team face-to face on a regular basis. A casual weekly meeting with them updating them on what marketing is up to can help align the two departments together.
5. Make finding and sharing easy for them.
If the process of discovering and sharing content is not easy, it’s highly unlikely that your sales team will do it. Having a good infrastructure in place is key. Explore sales enablement or content intelligence tools that will surface content that’s relevant to your prospects.
6. Show hard data on which content is resonating.
Once you’ve released an awesome piece of content, how do you know it’s performing well? Analytics can give you the intelligence you need to improve your content. For blog posts and other assets on your websites, Google Analytics has a wide range of features that are often sufficient for most marketers. For PDF-based content like sales info sheets, ebooks and whitepapers, tools like Orangedox can give you valuable metrics on exactly which parts of your document are resonating. For social media content, most networks now provide robust analytics capabilities to show you which content people are liking, clicking and sharing.
7. Get their feedback on a regular basis.
Besides quantitative data on what content is working, it’s critical to get qualitative, anecdotal insight from your sales team. Ask them frequently to see what they think of your content and determine what’s working and what’s not. A quarterly survey is a common approach, but you could also consider a more regular cadence to make sure you’re getting frequent feedback about your content marketing efforts.
How are you making sure that your sales reps use your marketing content? Share your tip by leaving a comment below!
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