We know that 57% of the buying process is out of our control, and 74% of today’s buyers are conducting more than half of their research online before making that purchase. So when your buyers turn to social media for answers, you want them to find your content! It positions you and your sales team as a trusted advisor & thought leader.

How do you create content that your sales team will actually want to share?

If your salespeople want to hit quota, your marketing department needs to be equipping them with the right content to share with the market – the type of content that drives sales conversations. The success of this is crucially dependant on how well the two teams collaborate.

Hold on for a second though, according to SiriusDecisions, about 60-70% of content in B2B organizations goes unused> which leads us to our second question: What types of content should you avoid altogether?

1. Generic Content Lacking Buyer Centricity

“67% of B2B organizations report their biggest barrier to creating relevant content is a lack of insight into the buyer.” – SiriusDecisions

Generic Content Lacking Buyer Centricity

Salespeople want to be sharing content that speaks to the pain points of their Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP). How defined are your organization’s ICPs? Without an in-depth understanding of your customers, it’s difficult to create content that will translate into new sales conversations. Anybody can make a pretty picture or curate a top-10 list, but how do either of those address your buyer’s specific needs? Define your ICPs, figure out the things that matter to them, and then create content that they are likely to engage with.

At Sales for Life, we have defined our ICPS: Marketing, Sales, and Enablement Leaders. Everything we publish speaks to their needs, wants, and pain points.

2. Content Lacking Detail & Valuable Insight:

“47% of buyers value content with breadth and depth of information.” – HubSpot, State Of Inbound

Content Lacking Detail & Valuable Insight

When you are looking for a solution to a problem, you will likely go online and do a bit of research prior to making a purchase. Your B2B buyers are the same way! They are in search of detailed answers to their questions. When a company’s content provides a buyer with the best answers to their problems, the sales rep sharing it will be perceived as a trusted advisor. If your sales team is sharing content that lacks detail, it won’t answer all of the prospects questions.

Before I wrote this blog post, I identified two of our ICPs (Marketing Leader and Sales Leader), made note of the questions my post should answer, and then wrote it accordingly to give comprehensive advice on approaching the topic of knowing what type of content marketing should be creating for the sales team.

The above blog post is my first ever published on LinkedIn. Although it emphasizes the importance of active listening when on the phone with a prospect, it doesn’t answer the ‘how’ in the questions about listening a salesperson would ask, such as: “How do I become a better listener?” Your posts need to identify a problem and offer actionable advice & detailed solutions.

3. Unoriginal and Boring Content

“39% of buyers value content that has originality of thinking and ideas.” – HubSpot, State Of Inbound

Unoriginal and Boring Content

There’s no denying it, inspirational Bob Ross quotes and kitten videos alike get a tonne of engagement on social media. Enter the query ‘Cats’ into the search bar in YouTube, and you’ll notice the first few videos all get millions of views. If your goal is to get lots of attention on LinkedIn, sharing Bob Ross quotes will do the trick.

The question is: what kind of attention do you want? And from who?

Bob Ross won’t capture the attention of your buyer, nor will he start sales conversations on your behalf.

Your buyers value content that has originality of thinking and ideas. Think outside the box and share engaging, relevant content that will cut through the noise of social media. Try creating content that includes visualizations, references credible data, and is organized into subheadings with a logical flow.

More often than not readers will skim through your posts, so it’s integral that you highlight subheadings, bold the text of key information/terms, and summarize with bullet points.

4. Content That Doesn’t Exist

“11% of content is hard to find, and 17% of content is unknown to users.” – SiriusDecisions

Your sales team wants to focus their time on revenue-generating activities, not scouring your website for content to share. It is the role of the marketing department to ensure that all content is organized and easily accessible to your salespeople. If not, the content sharing adoption will be low.

The simplest way to organize everything is by creating a Content Library. Ensuring that your content is sorted by format, ICP and buying stage will drive adoption among your sales team. Bottom line, if they can find it when they need it, they will share it.

If you want to take it a step further, considering utilizing an Employee Advocacy tool for content aggregation & sharing. These tools make it simple for your salespeople to share the right content with the right buyer. Employee Advocacy will make cross-collaboration between your sales & marketing teams seamless.

Here are a few types of content formats your salespeople will be eager to share:

Third-party data & insights:

Third Party data & Insights

This is a fantastic example of content a sales professional should be sharing with their networks. It is third-party research that is industry specific, includes an image with data visualization, and a link to a more detailed article. Buyers will find this type of content informative & helpful, and it’s also a great jumping off point for starting a sales conversation.

“How-To” Content:

How to Content Gives Buyers Practical Solutions

How-To content gives buyers practical solutions that they can implement to solve their problems. Giving step-by-step instructions on how to solve a particular problem will give your salespeople the opportunity to position themselves as the trusted advisors they want to be.

The Bottom Line

Equipping your sales team with the right content will empower to them to have more conversations in the market, and as a result create many new sales opportunities. This is just one example of how sales & marketing must be well-aligned to ensure Social Selling success.

What other types of content do your salespeople love to share? Tweet me examples @TheNealeDeal.

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Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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