You might be asking yourself why would marketing be focused on sales efficiency? Isn’t this something that sales management and sales should be worrying about – analyzing and developing improvement plans? Yes, of course. But, it doesn’t stop with sales. Marketing plays a huge role in enabling sales to be highly efficient, effective, and productive sellers.
As a past CMO, product marketer, and sales enablement lead, I find it interesting that more content marketing leaders aren’t regularly meeting with sales – sales management, AE’s, and partner sellers. These groups have invaluable insights that will improve the business value of your content market program. Sales can help by:
- Providing insights on what they use to effectively engage a client – messaging, tactics, and content. They have expert customer insights that most marketing teams lack.
- Provide content value ratings – sharing thoughts on the most, least, and never used content, along with content gaps.
- Provide feedback on content availability and accessibility needs. Sales need content to be easily ‘findable’ and available ‘on-demand’.
For marketers, please recognize that content marketing doesn’t stop with your marketing department. Your content marketing program, and the content created can make a huge impact on sales. To get started on your improvements, try some of the best practices I have used:
- Develop better content. Reach out, and develop procedures to align your team with sales. Working together will have short- and long-term value. Take advantage of this time and think about:
- What topics is sales seeing on a regular basis that are difficult to answer?
- How is the current content library being used? Or not used?
- What’s a piece of content sales wishes they could send but don’t have? What’s the No. 1 piece of content they always send?
- What’s the most common reason they lose deals?
- What are some ways they’ve described our offers that have gone over really well?
- Develop the content sales is asking for. Just do it. Integrate and use sales feedback, especially from successful AE’s who are consistently achieving or exceeding their sales targets. But, don’t become a sales shadow, following blindly. Use data and analysis to verify the decisions, continuing only where you are seeing positive ROI. In addition, don’t replicate a content type across your business divisions, unless the data supports it. Not all solutions need the same type of content.
- Keep your content up-to-date and available. Finding sales enablement and customer-facing material is one of the number one issues that sales suffer from. Make sure sales knows where content is, and if possible, integrate it into the sales CRM or sales enablement platform.
Great enablement programs empower reps by providing all the tools they need to sell, when they need them – from buyer guides to customer stories to ROI studies to presentations. These programs enable sales to have more time to sell. And to reinforce the urgency, check out the following stats:
- 95% of buyers buy from someone who gave them content at each stage of the buying process.
- 90% of salespeople avoid using content because it’s outdated and not customizable
- 65% of sales reps can’t find content to send to prospects. Communication between sales and marketing is so important…it’s the main component of sales enablement.
Let me know how you are adding value and driving efficiency with sales.
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We’re a digital marketing firm that supports B2B sales organizations. We use content marketing to generate land nurture leads. Our “moment of truth” is when we hand off MQLs (marketing qualified leads) to sales. We were seeing too many MQLs simply get dropped, so we set about learning why and what we could do about it. Most frequently, salespeople assumed that MQLs are low quality and assign them low priority. To address this, we began a weekly dialogue with sales to review MQLs and discuss how to improve our scoring. By taking the time to talk about MQLs with sales, we not only learned how to boost the close rate of inbound generated leads, we also created internal champions out of salespeople for whom pursuing MQLs produced big successes.
Excellent feedback. Gaining trust with sales is so critical, and benefits both groups in so many ways.