The following is a guest post by Randy Frisch, CMO and Co-Founder at Uberflip.
The culprit is the disconnect between the content team and the sales reps.
- In many organizations, the sales team often has no idea what the content team is working on or what assets are available for them to share with prospects. As a result, you’re left with one of two outcomes, neither of which is ideal:
- The sales reps go rogue and create their own content.
- They scrounge up old content from Google.
In this article, we’ll look at why these outcomes aren’t ideal and how you, as the content marketer, can empower your sales reps with content that helps them close deals.
Sales Reps Aren’t Content Creators
We’ve all seen sales teams go off and create their own content rather than using the assets marketing has provided. We all love sales reps, but they tend to be more casual with the content they create and don’t obsess over consistency the way marketers do.
To reiterate: this problem is not the fault of either party. It’s like the game of telephone we used to play as kids—something is getting lost in translation along the way.
But instead of a funny, incoherent message we all laugh at, it’s not quite as humorous when sales reps spin off carefully thought-out messaging in the wrong direction.
Mixed messaging isn’t the only downside, mind you.
Every minute a sales rep spends creating content is a minute they’re not selling. If they’re manipulating all these assets because they don’t understand what marketing has already created for them, they’re just wasting valuable minutes. This time should be spent positioning the marketing-approved content they’ve been provided.
The Google Trap
The other outcome that results when the content and sales teams aren’t on the same page is what I call the “Google Trap.” Over the years, I’ve watched sales reps at different companies – including those that I’ve overseen – go to a logical but very scary place when they’re looking for company-related content: Google.
Again, this seems logical. Google indexes content well. But they do it over time, not necessarily by what is most relevant in the moment and to a specific audience.
This approach might uncover an old PDF that used to be helpful, but it’s unlikely that PDF is aligned to your marketing campaign for this month, let alone this day.
It’s hard to personalize content when you’re working with dated materials. Many sales reps also have a tried-and-true template email that they send to every prospect they come across. Forget personas. Forget the six curated pieces of content. Forget anything that might earn trust with our prospects. Everyone gets the same assets, like it or not.
Again, the sales team doesn’t deserve the blame here. When you’re not sure where else to find your own branded content, why wouldn’t you turn to Google?
It’s our job as marketers to arm our sales reps with content that they can personalize on the fly to create content experiences. Let’s look at some ways we can do that.
Be the Solution
The first piece of this puzzle is communication. Make sure your sales reps understand all the content available to them, its purpose, and how they can access it. This sets sales reps up for success, allowing them to build personalized content experiences for their clients and manage the sales cycle better in the process.
To make it easy for sales reps to access the most recent and relevant content, not the old stuff that Google will show them. Look to create a content hub where all your best articles, videos, infographics, and other resources live. This can be a comprehensive solution, like a content experience platform (CEP), or something simple like a Google Sheet with links to content organized by persona or use case.
The next step is to help your sales team understand how content can be used to create experiences for prospects. For example, instead of sending out a templated email that is loaded with links to content most prospects won’t click through, embed content in the email that links back to a curated content experience. Consistent include relevant content in your follow up cadence to provide value at each touch.
A curated content experience impacts your prospect in two ways:
- The resources you share demonstrate your understanding of their needs
- The resources you provide will solidify their confidence in your company
To make sure sales reps are pulling the right content to create personalized experiences, you can utilize a content hub or create experiences for different personas using templates or snippets. This could mean creating templated web experiences to clone, or creating a collection of resources, calls-to-action, and messaging that are appropriate for each role.
If you go this route, a great way to empower your sales team is by giving them the flexibility to add resources that are relevant to a particular prospect. They’re the ones having the conversations with prospects, so they know better than anyone what kind of content will help them move the prospect through the funnel.
When customers perceive your content to be tailored to their needs, they’re 40 percent more likely to buy from you than a competitor who doesn’t personalize. That’s one reason to enable your sales team with the content they need to succeed.
Here’s another: 60 to 70 percent of all marketing content goes unused. That’s heartbreaking! When you let your sales team know what content is available to them, how much do you think that percentage decreases?
Each situation is unique, but I’m thinking it’s lower than 60 to 70 percent!
This piece was adapted from Randy’s book, F#ck Content Marketing: Focus on Content Experience to Drive Demand, Revenue & Relationships. For more advice on delivering personalized content experiences to help close deals, you can find the book on Amazon.
Randy Frisch has defined and led the content experience movement, prompting marketers to think beyond content creation and focus on the experience. This movement has fuelled an annual conference, Conex: The Content Experience, that brings together 750+ passionate marketers, and a North American-wide tour. Randy is the CMO and Co-Founder at Uberflip, a content experience platform that empowers marketers to create content experiences at every stage of the buyer journey. He is also a host of the Conex: The Content Experience Show podcast, a keynote speaker, and was named one of the Top 50 Fearless Marketers in the world by Marketo. As you can tell by the title of this book, he’s been known to swear sometimes.
To learn more about sales email personalization, download our eBook, Everything You Need to Know About Sales Email Personalization.