June 7, 2016
Written by Dana Youngren
If marketing creates tons of content and sales doesn’t use it, does it make an impact? Unlike the debate over the tree falling in the forest, there’s no doubt about the answer to this one. If sales isn’t using the content marketing creates, that content is certainly not making an impact on leads and conversions.
In fact, sales isn’t using most of the content marketing creates. Up to 70% of that content goes unused, according to research by SiriusDecisions. Of course, sales may argue that the content that marketing creates isn’t relevant or useful. So it wouldn’t have an impact even if they did use it. And they could be right. Or maybe the content is perfectly good, but they’re having a hard time putting their hands on it when they need it.
Whatever the problem, there are several steps you can take to get sales to use the content that’s available to them. Considering 28% of marketing budgets go to content creation on average, it’s well worth the effort.
Get sales and marketing on the same page.
When you have marketing on one side complaining that sales is ignoring messaging that’s taken months to develop, and sales on the other side complaining that the messaging isn’t effective, that doesn’t serve either group.
It’s time to end the stalemate, beginning with communication. If you’re not already scheduling regular meetings between marketing and sales, start now. The marketing analytics company Kissmetrics recommends meeting at least monthly, if not more often, to share thinking about content development.
A regularly scheduled meeting provides a great opportunity for marketing to explain to sales the strategy behind the content they’re developing– and for sales to report to marketing on the types of materials and messages customers are responding to.
Put the content into the sales team’s hands.
Let’s say you start creating the best marketing content in the world, and you even get sales completely on board. That doesn’t matter, unless it’s easy for sales to get their hands on the material they need when they need it.
If you want sales to use your marketing content, make it as accessible as possible. Your knowledge sharing platform should have a mechanism for enabling sales to access content through whatever CRM system they use every day. You should also make sure they can access your content anywhere, on any device, by using a cloud-based platform with a mobile app. You also want to be able to organize content in a way that makes searching for a particular item or topic quick and simple.
Measure the impact, over and over.
Once sales teams start using content regularly, find out how it’s performing. You want a sales enablement platform that lets you measure how much of the content sales is actually using (and which pieces of content in particular).
The Content Marketing Institute recommends tracking a variety of metrics with which to assess the impact of content on sales. For example, you might want to measure how much of a lift in sales you get among customers who receive a particular piece of content. Some platforms can even help you measure the ROI of your content when sales shares it throughout the funnel.
Once you know which pieces of content are performing well and which aren’t, you can adjust accordingly – eliminating content that’s not paying off, adding new content based on what’s working and so forth. Marketing and sales teams will both be happier and more successful in achieving their respective goals, and the business will benefit as a result.
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