2 Ways to Get Sales to Actually Use Your Content

By Kelsey Loughman Seventy percent of product marketers measure the success of product launches by tracking revenue impact. However, in a complex B2B sales cycle, there are 10 to 20 steps between launching a new product and closing new business, and product marketers support every one of these crucial touch points. But when it comes to driving revenue dollars, the success of a product launch hinges on a key variable: the sales team. This isn't news, yet many companies don't prioritize close alignment between these two critical teams—and it's an expensive problem. A company's inability to align sales and marketing around the right process and technology can cost upwards of 10 percent, or more, of revenue. You have a lot to lose and even more to gain if you take the time to assess how you work with your sales team. Whether you're launching a new product or marketing a current product, brand or service, sales plays an indispensable role in product marketing's success. Implementing a few measures in your marketing strategy can help minimize the disconnect between marketing and sales to maximize your revenue potential.
  1. Make Your Content Easily Visible 
When sales teams are busy filtering through hundreds of emails, jumping in and out of demo calls and sending event follow-ups, they have little time, or desire, to dig for the newest sales sheet or white paper to send to a prospect. If you're managing content through a large volume of spreadsheets, share docs and emails, there's a good chance sales isn't using your content. Instead, they turn to the website to surface content quickly. Or worse, they simply continue to use assets they leveraged in the past. They run the risk of pulling old content that's out of date with current messaging or using content which, while current, may not be pertinent to specific buyer needs. First, the issue of out-of-date content. There's the obvious concern that the content is, well, old and inaccurate. But there's also the deeper concern that disjointed messaging can cause a confusing customer experience for your buyer. If your messaging is all over the place, there's a good chance your buyer won't trust you. And for B2B selling, you need your core buyer, that champion your sales team is talking to, to feel incredible confidence in what you do. Next, pulling irrelevant content. There's no question that personalized and segmented content yields higher results; marketing automation exists for this very reason. But personalized content should continue throughout the sales funnel because it is the content that will speak directly to pain points your buyer faces, while also directly pointing out why you have the solution. Chances are sales wants to provide your buyer with relevant content, but they don't always know where to find it. How to Get the Right Content in Front of Sales As a product marketer, you are the master of the product content. You know which content is:
  • Accurate
  • Effective
  • Targeted
There are a number of different ways you can socialize your content, but meetings are not included in that list. Meetings can be effective at explaining upcoming campaigns or events, but do little to provide adequate and immediate access to messaging for your sales team day-to-day. A better solution would be curated content spaces. There are marketing content management platforms designed to help you do this very task, like Kapost, which allows you to organize and curate content based on your needs. This includes searching by pre-established custom fields or topics. But, if you're strapped for budget, consider a single spreadsheet. You can use multiple tabs to organize content by persona, vertical or funnel stage. Be sure to update the document on a regular basis, keeping the total number of available assets to a minimum. And, include some sort of summary, so there's no need to open the asset. They key: Don't expect the sales team to be subject matter experts. Enable them to be experts at selling—you get to be the product messaging expert.
  1. Data Makes the Best Argument
Marketers seem to fall into two very distinct camps: they love data, or they loathe it. I usually find myself in the former camp and here's why: Data gives sales—and anyone else for that matter—a reason to not only listen to you, but trust you. For example, consider walking up to your sales team and saying, "Hey there. I think we should launch an ABM strategy. Word on the street is that ABM is the hottest new marketing trend. Plus, our CMO thinks it sounds like a good idea. I'll just need a few hours of your day." Then prance away. They will almost instantly start grumbling. "Marketing is annoying."  "Don't make me another deck, I know how to sell.” And so on. Well, now that is a fail. But consider this: You set up a meeting with the sales team and say, "Hey there, sales aficionados! We really need to find strategic ways for marketing to increase the sales pipeline with more qualified leads, instead of empty traffic. ABM is an up-and-coming demand generation tactic, 52 percent of businesses say they currently have an ABM pilot program, which will increase our team’s alignment for target campaigns. In fact, a recent report from ITSMA demonstrated how 80 percent of marketers stated that ABM outperformed other marketing initiatives." Your sales team will cheer as you walk out of the room. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but you get the point. When you provide people—whether it's sales, prospects or your boss—with hard data, you're persuading them that you've done the research and they can trust your strategies. Why? Data provides answers to the following questions:
  • What's the potential impact?
  • What's the potential risk?
  • Why should I care?
To return to our fictitious ABM example, we know the potential impact is an increase in revenue and quality pipeline. If 52 percent of other businesses are doing it, we now understand that we risk losing not only the potential revenue but also losing out to our competition that uses ABM before we do. And now we, the sale team, care enough to invest our time because we understand exactly how the content you want us to use will impact us. When it comes to sales and marketing alignment, it's literally dollars sitting on the table. Companies who create sales and marketing alignment are not only 67 percent better at closing deals, but also likely to generate 208 percent more in revenue from their efforts. By surfacing the best content for your sales team and earning their trust and buy-in with strong data-backed decisions, you open the door to increase your success as a product marketer. And that's an improvement you'll be able to take to the bank. Kelsey Loughman is a writer and content marketing manager at Kapost. With a background in copywriting, online editing and SEO, she loves creating prescriptive content that enables B2B marketers to work smarter, not harder. She also has a penchant for analyzing marketing metrics because the best B2B marketing strategy begins and ends with revenue.

(0) Comments

Looking for the latest in product and data science? Get our articles, webinars and podcasts.