We’re overloaded with the message that “Content Is King,” but teams are still struggling with where to even start.
Some latch onto sales trends that only guide a short-term strategy, while others rely on new technologies to do the work for them. We’re constantly inundated with endless choices as to the way we create, pitch, and share content with today’s changing sales landscape. At the same time, many sales and marketing teams are quickly learning that more content options often mean more content problems.
The latest data says that marketing leaders recognize a huge need for content control. A 2017 study by Heinz and Highspot revealed a 15% gap between what marketing teams rated as the importance of content accessibility and their own team’s performance. Even more, an 11% gap was present between marketer’s expectations and delivery of producing content for sales.
That means that while execs acknowledge the impact of making sure their sales reps can find the content they need, they’re falling short. The bottom line is:
No matter how technology changes the type of content we’re producing, and how our customers engage with it, the value of that content shouldn’t be compromised.
To address these problems, I’m going to walk you through 5 steps to transform your content from adequate to awesome.
1) Align Sales and Marketing
Sales and marketing teams don’t always play nice – especially when it comes to content. Sales reps demand marketing content as it relates to customer needs, but marketing is often one step away from the insights they need to truly deliver what works. Whether or not their involvement and interest truly evaporate once they hand off content to sales, or whether sales doesn’t offer sufficient feedback from customers, marketing teams oftentimes lose the visibility they need to produce customized, compelling content.
Here are three ways you can begin to bridge the gap between sales and marketing and set your business up for success:
- Define accountabilities and set goals. Decide what optimum outcome both teams are expecting from this alignment, as well as ownership in regards to roles and responsibilities. For example, sales could commit to quantifying customer engagement and using a modern content analytics tool to drive the strategy forward. Marketing can then focus on using those measurements to develop customer-centric content.
- Establish cross-collaboration and communication. The very notion of aligning sales and marketing teams means that they’ll need to learn to work together continually. Communication should always be open, and teams should always be sharing metrics into which sales pitches are working, how customers receive different types of content, and which content challenges each team faces every day.
- Fix content gaps. Once you have your plan set in place, take a step back and find out what’s currently working (and what’s not). Find out where your content is meeting its original expectations, and measure any shortcomings. Draft a new plan to strategize how you can fix these imbalances.
2) Value Effectiveness Over Efficiency
Cranking out content at the fastest rate won’t award you with the results that you’re looking for. Efficiency lends itself well to projects that require minimum effort for maximum output – but does that sound like the way you want to foster deeper customer relationships, with minimum effort?
When it comes down to it, effectiveness is at the heart of a successful sales campaign. Focus on what really matters: Landing higher sales with ease, accuracy, and yes, speed. Don’t let your team’s performance be sacrificed for the sake of time.
3) Personalize Each Pitch
It’s an obvious rule, but an important one: Customization creates compelling content. Your pitch is far more likely to resonate with a prospect if you’re using content that’s been proven to make an impact before. Utilizing a tool that allows reps to find, share, and report on their individual successes can really go the extra mile for the whole team.
Again, customers want to see content that relates directly to them. So find a modern sales enablement technology that allows you to make modifications and edits to documents within the platform, so reps don’t waste time on fragmented file systems and folders. More time for them means more time for deals.
4) Implement a Closed-Loop Improvement Process
Utilizing a closed-loop improvement process is proven to be one of the best ways to increase visibility and propel your business forward. See what we mean:
By closing the feedback loop to funnel customer insights back to where your content is produced, your work immediately becomes less manual and more automated. Letting the data collected from smarter sales content analytics to drive your most important business decisions will not only reap huge benefits, but it will make the life of both your sales and marketing teams that much easier.
5) Make Your Content Accessible
Of course, none of the above steps make any difference if you’re not utilizing a smart content feed that will deliver you the content you need, as soon as you need it.
As much as 19% of a salesperson’s time is spent “searching for and gathering information,” according to a report by McKinsey. This statistic should be absolutely unacceptable in your business because it undoes all of the hard work implemented by each team and instead creates rework where your content really matters: When pitching it to customers. Finding a solution that makes your content more accessible to the people closing deals for your business means saving time, money, and overall resources.
Lucky for us, the best sales enablement tools and technologies will ensure that all of your sales content is organized, prioritized, and categorized to free your reps up to do what they do best: sell.
At the end of the day, these 5 steps will bring you much closer to your team’s ultimate goal of achieving faster conversions and higher sales in less time. Put these practices into place so you can stop working so hard for your content, and instead have your content hard work for you.
For more information on deploying sales enablement in your organization, check out the Definitive Guide to Sales Enablement, which includes a host of best practices as well as a complete list Sales Enablement Tools and Software.
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I enjoyed reading your tips Rachel. I especially liked # 3. Pitches should not be generic, because people are not. Thanks for the post.
Thank you for sharing your tips, Rachel. I like how you emphasized the alignment between sales and marketing. Some companies think that these two work exclusively when they should be working hand-in-hand (including customer service). These two should have constant coordination and collaboration so they can both cater to each other’s needs.
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