According to a January 2015 study by Regalix, 83% of marketers cite “generating leads” as their number one content marketing objective—but a study by IDC states that as much as 80% of the content created by marketers is never even used by sales.
Can content really reach its full potential if sales isn’t leveraging it to better connect with their buyers? In an ideal world, your sales team would be your content’s number one fan, and an important channel for content distribution. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it works.
The Content Marketing Institute suggests three reasons sales isn’t using your marketing content:
- They aren’t aware that it exists.
- They don’t have time to look for it.
- There’s too much content to sift through.
Each of these problems can be solved by a single solution: better organization of your marketing content, specifically for your sales reps. If your sales team doesn’t know that your 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 that sales reps can use to quickly and easily 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 between our two teams.
Understand What Sales Needs
It’s incredibly difficult to set up a system for sales without their input. Start by meeting with a few of your sales managers or top performers to learn more about what they’d like to see in a content library. What is the best way to organize your marketing content for easy searching? What supplemental information do reps need for each piece of content? Where should you host your content library to see the highest adoption—your company intranet or somewhere else?
This conversation will likely help you identify gaps in your current content offerings as well. Keep these needs in mind as you begin building out your content library.
Let the Categorizing Begin
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 sortable categories. Use the input gathered from your sales team to categorize your content by topic, content type, or 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.
Provide Extra Information About Each Asset
Sales reps often skip over a piece of content because they don’t understand what it is or when to use it. Consider incorporating all or some of the following elements into your content library:
- Short Description: What is this piece of content, and what topics does it cover?
- Keywords: What words or key phrases should sales reps listen for during conversations with prospects 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 most appropriate for top, middle, or bottom of the funnel prospects?
At Pardot, we built an internal system for our content library (accessible via a single URL so that our sales reps could access it with a single click), but we have also used our intranet and simple, sortable spreadsheets. Start with the simplest solution—your system will evolve as your needs do!
Evangelize Your Content Library
With a content library of helpful resources, you may solve two of the three roadblocks hampering content adoption at your organization. The other—“sales doesn’t know content exists”—can be solved by evangelizing your content hub and getting it in front of your sales reps. Team up with the sales managers 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.
The biggest lesson we’ve learned about content and sales adoption is that content won’t get used if it’s not readily available. Your sales reps’ time is valuable, and they won’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 smarter, faster, and more effectively.
Looking for more ways that sales and marketing can work together? Check out the Little Black Book of Sales and Marketing Alignment for an animated look at the issue of sales-marketing alignment.
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