5 Reasons Why Your Sales Content Is Not Working

Sales teams can’t live without content. Content is important for starting conversations with potential customers, building trust with them, increasing conversion rates, and building lifetime value. In fact, users of sales content average 69% more revenue growth year-over-year compared to their peers.

However, marketing and sales enablement teams cannot throw content at reps, cross their fingers, and see what sticks. They need to be deliberate in curating content that will work for both their sales reps and for their buyers. Here are five classic examples of where your sales content has gone wrong.

1. Your Sales Reps Can’t Find Your Content

SiriusDecisions estimates that 65% of your content is not being used.

That’s a lot of money going down the drain. If your company makes over a $1 billion in revenue, you probably waste between $1.93 and $3.33 million of your annual marketing budget on content that never gets used (SiriusDecisions).

Ouch. That’s a huge chunk of change. But there is a solution to this problem. Create a central content library that:

  • Includes all your content assets
  • Is available across devices (web, mobile, tablets) so that your sales team can access it at any time
  • Notifies reps when new content is added to the library
  • Makes it easier for sales reps to share content across digital channels like social and email

That way, your content is more likely to be found and used by the sales team.

2. Your Sales Reps Don’t Know What to Do with Your Sales Content

Okay, you have a library of content. Now what?

Blog post titles like “B2B Sales Teams, Waiting to Engage Buyers Is Costing You” don’t mean anything to your sellers. They need more context so that they can determine where and when to use the assets. Your sales content, after all, is only valuable if your salespeople use it well.

Marketers and sales enablement practitioners need to:

  • Organize the content for the sales reps (e.g. according to vertical, according to stage in the buyer’s journey, etc.)
  • Explain why the asset is valuable and in what scenarios the asset should be used
  • Provide sample messaging for the sales team to use

3. Your Sales Rep Haven’t Expanded Their Definitions of “Sales Content”

In a B2B context, “sales content” typically means product fact sheets or pitch decks. However, many potential customers don’t care about product fact sheets – unless they are at the “try” or “buy” stages. If buyers are at the “discover” and “learn” stages, they will glance at the fact sheet and let it disappear among their cluttered desktop.

65% of business decision makers find sales content (i.e. content sent to them by sales) to be useless. To make sure that buyers read your content, sales reps need to move beyond product fact sheets and pitch decks. Sales reps need to make sure that the content addresses the buyer’s concern at their current stage.

For example, if your company offers a more complex solution, buyers often are looking for a consultative sales process. They spend a lot of time in the “discover” and “learn” phases. They want thought leadership content, as well as content about market and industry trends.

One way to routinely provide insightful content to potential customers is through social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. (To learn more about social selling, check out this cheat sheet.)

4. Your Sales Reps Don’t Share Third-Party Content

Salespeople increase engagement by frequently sharing thought leadership, from a wide variety of sources, including their company’s content. However, reps lose credibility if they only promote company content. It makes them look one-sided and biased.

When it comes to social selling, sales experts recommend an 80/20 rule. 80% of your content should come from third-party sources. 20% of your content should come from your company. As Maribeth Ross of the Aberdeen Group notes:

5. You Have No Insight into How Content Is Being Used

Marketers and sales enablement teams have two audiences for their content. Internally, they need to cater to their salespeople. Externally, they need to cater to their customers. And they need to understand how each of those audiences is engaging with the content. Otherwise, they will not be able to curate the right content for their team.

A mature sales enablement program will connect the dots like this:

Spotting Your Sales Content Pitfalls

Make no mistake. Everyone in the field is busy. Amid the big rush to “do more” and “do it quickly,” marketers and sales enablement professionals may neglect the need to invest in a content library, to provide sales reps with ample context for their content, and to train sales reps to map content to the buyer’s journey.

But as you plan for the next quarter, take the time to reflect on what you’ve done. Sales content is a must-have tool for reps today, so it’s worth the time to get it right.

Download this workbook, and learn how to successfully plan your social selling program today.

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