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The Sales Review

Learn about emerging best practices, strategies and insights on B2B sales today dedicated for the modern sales organization.

Only 20% Of Salespeople Engage Buyers With Content [New Data]

Posted by Amar Sheth on Apr 14, 2016 1:53:26 PM

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How often does your sales team share content?

We wanted to find out the answer to this so we decided to conduct research that tests the assumption many content marketers have, which is that sales teams will naturally share content.

However, what we found out was that our findings proved otherwise.

Since the technology industry claims to be the most cutting-edge, we set out out to conduct audits on sales professionals sharing content within some of the top global companies.

And what we found isn’t pretty. Let’s get right to it, here are the findings.

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On average, approximately 20% of sales professionals in technology companies are sharing content. We checked this over a 4-week period across the top 250 technology companies of the world.

If you’re asking if we’ve only audited the tech sector, the answer is no – we’ve begun audits of other industries as well and the results are even less. We will launch these to the market soon enough.

This data resonates with us because it reveals why 60% to 70% of all content in B2B organizations isn’t shared. Quite frankly, there just aren’t enough sales people sharing content.

From our perspective, here are the common reasons we hear from sales professionals on why content isn’t being shared.

1. Training on The Digital Nature of the Modern Buyer

Perhaps training isn’t the right word here, but does your sales team understand and buy into the notion that 74% of B2B buyers today conduct half of their research online? This doesn’t mean we can’t engage with them, it just means they must be approached differently. Mainly through education, sales can impact and influence these buyers before a phone call is ever conducted.

If this core understanding isn’t in place, is the expectation that sales shares content fair?

2. Content Bias

Sales professionals don’t have any desire in sharing overly-salesy or product-based information all the time. This is an issue that needs addressing.

Typically, sales is demanding the marketing team to produce content that answers questions they hear in everyday interactions with prospects and buyers. The question now is why marketing isn’t producing this? Perhaps this is a part of the reason we keep saying that there is a fundamental misalignment between sales and marketing.

The desire to produce content is there, but the desire to share it is minimal. Marketing, therefore, must make content that sales can passionately support and share. In short, it must spark real sales conversations in the market.

3. How Content Correlates to a Lift in Sales Activity

It’s evident that most marketing departments haven’t correlated how the sharing of content can help with a lift in tangible sales activity and pipeline growth. Is there one? Absolutely. Most marketers know about it but they choose to highlight other positive factors of content sharing, such as visibility, brand exposure, etc.

At the end of the day, as much as sales people should care about brand, I believe we are a far ways out from this being woven into the sales fabric. Right now the emphasis must be on guiding sales to realize the quantitative sales benefits of sharing content.

In order to realize this benefit, however, sales leadership must fully internalize and understand the benefits as well. Without their buy-in, the entire exercise will be for naught. You’ll have only a handful of sales professionals sharing content, just as the data indicates.

The Bottom Line

From all angles the numbers don’t add up nor do they flatter most B2B organizations. Are we really this unprepared for the dawn of the modern buyer?

I’m an optimist. I’m certain that with the right pieces in place, organizations can motivate, inspire and educate buyers so that they become genuinely interested in your products/services.

Do you agree this is a problem? Let me know your thoughts if you’re in either sales or marketing. Tweet me @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.