Today, as much as 70% of content churned out by marketing sits unused, according to B-to-B research firm SiriusDecisions Inc. Research from International Data Corp. reveals that 41% of sales reps don’t know what content to use, how to use it effectively or when to use it. That means that marketing teams are continuing to crank out content that isn’t getting used when they should be delivering content that enhances the sales cycle and improves performance.
This is happening for a number of reasons, including marketers who lack insight into what sales teams need, and sales teams that lack the time to sift through and find the right content.
So how is this content problem impacting business? For starters, when sales and marketing operate in silos, the result often is lost revenue and poor customer service.
But beyond that, when an organization allocates resources toward creating content that goes unused, both the marketing and the sales teams pay the price.
Content libraries are being clogged with collateral that is not useful in customer interactions, and sales teams are being forced to spend time searching for content that they need or recreating content that already exists. In fact, an EMI Industry Intelligence Report revealed that in an average week, a technology sales professional spends eight hours developing client presentations, five hours looking for marketing collateral and four hours searching for customer information outside the organization. The sales professional wastes 17 hours per week, or 106 sales days per year, and the more time that a rep spends searching rather than selling, the less revenue he’ll be able to bring back to the organization.
The primary issue is the lack of visibility into what content is being used, as well as why and when. With content analytics, marketers are empowered with greater visibility into the content that sales teams actually use, how often it’s used, and at what point in the sales process. For example, what if marketers could determine that only three slides out of a 20-slide deck actually were helpful in closing deals? By unlocking this type of expert sales behavior and sharing that knowledge across an entire group, both sales and marketing teams will benefit.
This visibility also enables marketers to finally eliminate unused content, and better allocate their resources and time to developing content that enables the sales team’s success. Content analysis might even identify gaps in content, which can provide marketers with better guidance on content priority to ensure that sales is prepared for each phase of the sales cycle. If organizations stop duplicate efforts to create content, time efficiency and productivity are improved across the board. In fact, marketing can quantify the value and determine the financial impact of marketing content and sales tools used during the sales process. Each piece of content can have a measurable purpose, versus taking up storage.
The secondary issue is content access. Even with less but more effective content, sales still doesn’t have the time to search and surf for the content that they need when every second with a customer or prospect counts. Visibility into content usage, plus push technology, enables marketers to push relevant content to a specific sales rep based on role-based differentiators, enabling reps to have access to the right content for the right customer interaction at the right stage in the sales cycle. With access to relevant content, sales can engage more effectively with customers to win new business and acquire more market share.
By streamlining the content creation process, and ensuring that sales and marketing work together to remove the clutter and create content that closes deals, organizations can be smarter about allocating marketing resources, improve overall productivity, and support the sales team with relevant and useful content.
This post first appeared on Elevate, a blog created and delivered by the American Marketing Association, offering ideas and perspectives on the latest in marketing.
Author Bio: Brian Cleary is chief strategy officer at Waltham, Mass.-based mobile content agency Big Tin Can.