Content marketing is failing to fill sales pipelines. Just look at the stats that are out there, even the best of marketing teams can expect their sales brethren to turn to their ‘well-qualified leads’ only 20% of the time. Content is failing sales, and it isn’t the sales team’s problem.
Get over the frustration that you might have over your sales team not using your content nor turning to the leads you uncover. This is the marketing leaders problem, and company leadership’s problem overall not the individual sales rep. The sales rep has a singularly focused job, find and close new business. Leaders and marketing professionals of the world have the responsibility for getting more from content marketing and serving sales better so that sales reps can close more business more quickly.
Here are three things you can do to get more deals to close more quickly.
Commit to Creativity
Commit to injecting more creativity into your content. If you are doing video figure out what you need to do to improve your editing effort in a way that leads to more attention. For example, understand the nuances of sound and how sound should be used to reinforce the message you want the video to communicate. Where your written content is concerned, be committed to improving your ability to mix it up. If all you do is formal marketing pieces, sprinkle in some casual pieces. If all you have is standard slicked up ‘marketing brochureware,’ or canned e-books for download add in some more dramatic stories about customers. Establish your written voice, inject that voice everywhere the written word appears, and make that voice recognizable in both formal pieces as well as more casual pieces of content.
Creativity matters because it is the creative execution of your content that is going to grab attention, attract viewers and readers, and give your sales reps a shot at connecting with their targets.
Build Self Service Content Access
A Gigantic 80 to 100-page ‘playbook’ isn’t of any use to sales. It might be the best playbook in the world, and it very well may have the keys to unlocking every conceivable sales play within a prospect in your target market as possible. But sales reps have no time for it. They don’t. They’d much rather pick up the phone and prospect the next account. Instead of the bible-thick playbook commit to breaking down content into very small discrete pieces that can be used by sales to engage their prospects.
More importantly, map out exactly how each small piece should be used. This is not to suggest it is a playbook of actions, but the actions themselves. The moment you make sales think about which action they should take is the moment you have lost them. Remove the decision points and simply map things like email sequences out. “Here is email one, send this email next, and here’s the third, after that third email call and try to get answers to these questions, follow up after that first out reach with this video, then send this blog post.”
Allow the sales rep to customize the sequence, the email copy, even the specific pieces they are sending, but remove all guess work out of what to send when.
Constantly Reconcile To Early Stages of the Sales Process
Forget the marketing funnel when you are looking to improve things with sales. I know I know, blasphemy but stick with me for a moment. You see there isn’t’ a sales manager in the world that measures ‘sales qualified leads’ there isn’t. You know what they measure? Pipeline. Sales management knows their pipeline measurement ratios (how much they need in pipe to close one deal), and they know which stage of the sales cycle needs the most attention. Find this out, where sales management places most of their attention, and focus right there.
Build sales tools and content that immediately helps sales reps push more to that point of the sales process. Understand each of the stages as they are defined by sales and build to it. Once this sort of content is in hand, it is easy to reverse engineer it back to your demand generating activity. And big bonus here. If the content was built with the critical sales stage in mind, it is going to perform better in demand generation, leading to more sales qualified leads, leading to more opportunity for the individual sales rep.
Status quo is no longer an option for any marketing professional or business leader that is serious about growth.