Good sales content can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful deal. So naturally, you want to create content that your salespeople get value from as they work to close deals.
Too often, however, salespeople simply don’t use the content that’s been created because they feel they can't get any value from it. Industry data from SiriusDecisions estimates that up to 70% of content goes unused, which is unsurprising but hugely disappointing.
Content is created with the purpose of helping your sales teams close more deals. If that content isn’t even being used, then it can’t achieve that objective.
The key then, is that when you’re creating content, not only should you be making sure your prospects love it, but that your salespeople do too. That way, they’ll use it and extract the most value from it.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Collaboration with sales
- Analyzing how your content is used, and adapting as a result
- Context and content creation
- Recognizing when content is, or isn’t relevant
With this information, you’ll be able to ensure your sales teams will love the content, and extract maximum value from it.
Partner with sales to create the content
Oftentimes, sales content works as follows: A salesperson or team requests content, the enablement, marketing, or product marketing team creates the content, hands it over to the sales team, and that’s that.
There’s no interaction between the team creating the content, and the team that will actually be using the content beyond that request and handover.
The first step to creating sales content that will be genuinely valuable and actually used by sales is to consult sales throughout the process. Your content lifecycle needs to incorporate collaboration.
Think about it. The salespeople are the ones who interact with prospects daily. They know what content prospects want to share around their organization. Even more importantly, they know what content sales wishes they had to hand!
Salespeople are in the best position to provide feedback and direction to content creators because they have the most contact with the target audience. If you work alongside sales to create content, you’re more likely to produce content that’ll see usage and that’ll be relevant to what sales is doing day in, day out.
Observe how content is used in the field
The interaction between content author and the recipient of the content doesn’t stop once the piece of content has been released for use. Content creation has to be a continuous learning process.
An important step towards creating content your salespeople will love is learning from your successes, and your failures. Studying how and when the content you’ve created is used will provide valuable insights into your content creation habits.
What pieces of content are used most, and at what point in the buyer cycle are they being used? Which pieces of content aren’t being used at all? Is most of your content being used very early on, and none later on in the process?
Asking you and your sales teams these questions can provide clarity and direction when it comes to creating future content.
Information is power. The more information you have about how and when content is used, the more you'll be able to adjust and adapt your content strategy to be as effective as possible.
As well as helping you adapt your strategy, that information will help you measure the impact your sales enablement and content creation efforts are actually having on the organization.
Give your sales teams context on how to use content
It’s all well and good creating great content, but if none of your salespeople know how or when to use it, you won’t be maximizing its value. When you create content, it can be helpful to create an additional piece of content entirely designed to deliver the intent of the content to the sales team.
This doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should address questions your salespeople might have about the content, such as: ‘What's the purpose of this content? What's the objective? How do you use this content?’.
This gives the salesperson an idea of how to use the content, and in which context you should use this content.
Additionally, it provides them the opportunity to give you feedback about whether or not you met their need.
If you produce a video that says: ‘Hey, here's how to use this content, here are the key points’, a salesperson can deliver feedback to you within your content timeline. If you’ve created a presentation, provide audio notes on key slides.
You may find out later down the line that a particular message that you originally thought was important, maybe isn't quite so crucial, for example. This ties into the previous point about taking feedback from the salespeople who are using the content on the frontlines.
Above all, it’s about creating a more in-depth line of communication between you as a content author, and the sales team which uses the content.
Make your content relevant for sellers
This might sound obvious, but if you’re creating content that isn’t relevant for your sellers, then they aren’t going to use it.
Doing this requires patience; not everything you create is going to be perfect. There will be more relevant and less relevant content, some content might be great in niche scenarios and other content might be more broadly relevant.
Over time, you’ll discover where there are gaps in your content through both seller feedback and tracking.
If your sales team is enthusiastically using content right up until a specific stage in the cycle, then you have to ask yourself if the content you’ve created stops being relevant beyond that point. If that is the case, you now have added clarity for what areas new content needs to cover in order to be relevant.
Remember that not all content will be relevant to every prospect. Certain prospects will be more receptive to content than others, and your salespeople are intelligent enough to recognize that.
So don’t panic if every now and then your content isn’t being used. You should become concerned about relevancy if you notice that there’s a recurring pattern of content being disregarded.
For example, if you’re achieving consistent content usage except when it comes to prospects of a certain size, industry, or region, consider if you need to provide your salespeople with content specific and relevant to that niche.
To summarize, teamwork makes the dream work. In order to maximize the value that your content is providing, you need to collaborate with the salespeople who are actually interacting with prospects on a daily basis.
Do that, and understand how and when your content is being used, and you’ll be able to adjust, adapt, and be on your way to creating even better content.
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