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The Sales Review

Tactics and strategies to align with the modern buyer

Here’s Why You’re Wasting $18 Million On Content

Posted by Amar Sheth on Jun 15, 2016 1:52:37 PM

sales-content-creation-1.jpgSiriusDecisions research reveals that 65% of all content B2B organizations create has magic powers: the ability to disappear into thin air! That’s to say that after all of the work put into creating said content, the biggest group of distributors – employees and mainly sales – don’t share it. Doesn’t this concern you? It’s estimated that in enterprise orgs up to $18 million is wasted each year because of this.

If a song were to made about this, the lyrics would rightly be:

All we are saying…is give content a chance!

But my magical marketing friends, it doesn’t have to be this way.

How you ask? We need to get sales more involved in the content brainstorming and creation process. While this will scare some, it should propel us to understand that our job is to produce content that buyers will find helpful.

That’s the only qualification that matters. If a buyer isn’t going to read the content, why produce it? You’ll never achieve 100% satisfaction, but can we strive for 50%+?

Sales Professionals Have Disdain for Marketing Content

I don’t use the word disdain lightly. Ask a series of sales professionals in your organization about why they don’t share content. Some can’t find it or don’t know where it is. Some haven’t been given proper training on how to source it and share it effectively.

And while the others won’t share it because it’s too much about your products and screams “me, me, me,” it’s not because they’re turning up their noses like the bourgeois. The content is genuinely too much about you, the company.

If you believe that buyers are online trying to find answers and solve problems, then that should be the focus of your content creation efforts. And if you believe the data from CEB and Forrester saying that 57%-74% of the buying journey is done online, then very blunt math would indicate approximately that very percentage of your content should be about helping buyers solve problems.

How Do You Find These Problems?

Your sales team.

With their ears to the phone and feet on the street, they have immense insights and visibility into what buyers want, are asking, rejecting, objecting and everything in between.

Capturing these insights from sales would be wise.

Example: a sales pro I know at a Fleet Management company asks his buyers what’s on their mind and then answers these questions via blogs. He then shares these blogs with other prospects to share knowhow and expertise.

Some of you may not like this but the reality is that marketing orgs should be producing this. This sales pro has resorted to doing the job of marketing because they are unable/unwilling (you decide) to produce the content he needs to educate his buyers.

Smart, if you ask me. But it doesn’t need to be like this.

Here’s How to Get Sales Involved in the Content Creation Process

First things first, you need an insights committee which includes sales & marketing professionals. The goal is to get sales to provide insights about what buyers are asking and saying on a routine basis.

I’d recommend formalizing this process.

To use our example, at Sales for Life, we conduct monthly meetings where all of us come together.

sales-content-brainstorm.png

Because many of us are active in the market and customer facing, we are fortunate to get a pulse on what matters to buyers. Quite simply, we form questions around these. An example is this very blog!

Marketing professionals ask us why & how to get sales more involved in the content creation process. This has become a blog which will now be shared across all of our channels and amongst our customer community.

It’s not hard. It’s different.

And, it’s different because it requires a mindset which puts the customer at the front and center of everything. They’re the reason for our existence and well-being, so to me this seems quite natural.

Buyers love it, too. The proof is in the data.

A recent Demand Gen Report that surveyed buyers revealed that 95% of buyers chose a vendor that "provided me with content to navigate each stage of the buying process."

Right now, the majority of the content we’re producing in the B2B marketing world is mostly on one or two stages of the funnel (and that too in snippets).

Again, it makes the case for involving sales so we can focus on the early stages of buying journey education.

Next, data from Forrester revealed that 82% of buyers viewed at least 5 pieces of content from the winning vendor.

The empirical evidence is abundant; the need to evolve and make buyers more central to our content creation standards and practices is needed. It’s critical.

The Bottom Line

Are you involving sales in your content creation process? If so, send me a blog or any asset you’ve produced where you can proudly proclaim that you’re on the right path!

It’s time to have your own post-it notes session. Please, take a picture and send it to me!

Tweet it at @AmarSheth or connect with me on LinkedIn to collaborate.

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Amar Sheth

About the Author

Amar Sheth has trained thousands of people worldwide on the topic of Social Selling, through a style that’s part storytelling and part motivational.

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