Over time, you may have created dozens or even hundreds of pieces of content, which is a lot of information to sift through — particularly for your sales reps who aren’t spending their days planning, creating and publishing it. It’s no wonder sales reps aren’t always aware of exactly where to go to get their hands on your latest content.
It’s also not surprising to see that sales reps want access to content that is easy to find, consume and share with their potential customers. We even experience it here at PostBeyond with our marketing and sales teams. Our marketing team creates the content, then from across the room we hear our sales reps ask “Daniel, where can I find the latest case study?” It’s a question that gets only one answer, “It’s in the content library and you have access to it already.”
Does that sound familiar?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 79 percent of highly aligned teams reported having a central location where sales reps can access content created by the content marketing team. Your library can be as simple or as comprehensive as your team needs it to be. Provided it includes a variety of high-quality assets that are organized to address the particular questions, objections, or other sales barriers from particular buyers.
As marketers, we recognize how important content is for influencing a customer’s buying decision. On average customers engage with 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase according to Forrester. With all the content you and your team have planned and created, the most important step (which often goes overlooked) is getting it in the hands of your sales team.
This blog covers how you can better align marketing and sales with content and tips on how you can make it easy for your sales rep to consume and share content with prospects.
Content That Starts Sales Conversations
By providing relevant content with unbiased information, your sales reps can position themselves as a trustworthy resource. Think about the last time you spoke with a sales rep. Was it a delightful experience? Often times, it’s not. Now think about a time you had a helpful sales rep who provided a delightful customer experience. The sales rep was most likely more interested in helping your business than their own agenda.
I imagine they provided you with insightful information and genuinely demonstrated a desire to help you along your journey as well. Did they provide you with content? Chances are yes. As you may know, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally according to SiriusDecisions. When your sales reps provide your target audience with content, they can also break down the trust barrier between buyer and seller, as well as buyer and brand.
Your sales reps are at the forefront of your organization. They’re having conversations with potential customers on a daily basis. They’re gathering extremely useful insights about your target audience. They’re getting constant objections, concerns, and questions about your product and services. By planning, creating and empowering your sales reps with thought leadership content to address these common concerns, your sales team can build trust, establish their expertise and develop a reputation for being customer-first consultants rather than coin-operated sales reps. This ultimately helps both marketing and sales effectively engage the people that matter most to your business.
Sales Enablement Fuelled by Content
I’ve seen the benefits that the right content has in sales enablement at PostBeyond, but in case you aren’t quite convinced, here are a few of my favourite stats around sales enabled content:
- Nearly 64% of advocates in a formal program credited employee advocacy with attracting and developing new business, and nearly 45% attribute new revenue streams to employee advocacy. – Hinge Marketing
- 66% of firms with a formal employee advocacy program credited the program as helping to attract and develop new business, while 44% credited the program with generating new revenue streams.
- 27% of high growth firms (over 20% revenue growth) reported that an employee advocacy program shortened their sales cycle.
- 6% of salespeople using social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often. – Aberdeen Group
- 73% of Best-in-Class organizations have a centralized content library to help their team sell in different situations. – Aberdeen Group
- Users of sales enablement content average 69% more revenue growth year-over-year compared to their peers who do not use sales enabled content.
It’s easy to see the opportunity here. If you’ve got a sales team who is already active on social media, who want to maintain a strong personal brand, and who are interested in modern selling techniques, it’s a no-brainer.
How To Enable Your Sales Team with Content
Create a Marketing and Sales Feedback Loop
The countless conversations that sales reps are having in the market with potential customers are important tidbits of content. These conversations are gold for the marketing team when creating content to ensure sales can handle the hard questions that come up. From research reports to product guides, content can fuel conversations without sales reps having to speak.
To do this, sales and marketing teams have to set consistent meetings to relay feedback. In a sense, you’re trading insights for content – the currency is the conversations with potential customers.
Consider organizing your sales content based on:
- Common sales situations (including the stage in the buyer journey, product or service, or any other elements that matter for segmenting your message)
- Asset type (eBooks, case studies, product guides, blog articles, whitepapers, videos, testimonials, etc.)
- Persona (by seniority, job title, and function)
Schedule a recurring meeting to outline a content marketing strategy and what content to engage and nurture prospects. Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams have 38% higher sales win rates and 36% higher customer retention rates.
Optimize For Social Sharing
Social media is a strong distribution channel which can help extend the reach of your content. When it’s distributed through the social networks of your own sales reps, the reach of your content often amplifies further by 8x while generating 6x more engagement with your target audience.
Your sales reps are often connected with vast networks with relevant connections. Sharing content with those connections is a great way to start new conversations about your content and connect with the people who matter most to your company.
As an example, some of our customers have turned their sales reps into micro-influencers. They often connect and follow our potential customers on LinkedIn and Twitter because we recognize how social-savvy our target audience is. Our reps also share branded content across their social networks, often times it’s third-party, objective content that speaks about general industry insights instead of our brand. We find that this starts more conversations with our target audience and it helps us stay top-of-mind with our audience.
Some marketers compile the content they want their sales reps to share with complimentary text. This makes it easy for sales reps to know which content they’re allowed to share and what they can say. As an example, you can create a social media cheat sheet to ensure your sales reps understand the do’s and don’ts for social media postings.
Enabling your sales reps to share content on social media can help your company:
- Stay top-of-mind with potential customers
- Increase brand awareness and share-of-voice
- Attract qualified leads through your employees’ most trusted networks
Many companies often limit thought leadership to a select few, whether it’s top influencers or C-level executives. However, this is a missed opportunity as there are teams of thought leaders and untapped micro-influencers within your organization. Your sales reps that share content on social media can reward you in dividends through their collective reach, engagement and influence.
Create Content That Matters
A single, centralized content hub that simplifies the sharing process can be a sales team’s greatest asset.
Sales reps are busy constantly prospecting and speaking with clients, so having a platform that shortens the steps to sharing content to their own social networks is important when choosing a content hub. Taking it one step further, the ability to schedule content to a personal queue creates even more efficiencies in an employee’s day, no longer needing to live in the platform to ensure they are socially selling throughout the course of a day.
I think this is what will separate world-class sales teams from outdated ones. If you have reps who want to close deals faster and have a strong online presence, a centralized content library is the way to go.