Marketers: Here are 7 Reasons Sales Isn’t Using Your Content
Look at any company with a consistently growing customer base, a strong pipeline, and a high close rate.
More often than not, that organization has a tight alignment between sales and marketing.
At their worst, sales reps tend to be impulsive, lack attention to detail, and go into prospect meetings without a single idea of what they’re going to say.
Marketers at their worst tend to lock themselves in an office and create campaigns in a bubble without any consideration of the actual needs or pain points of prospects.
We pick on sales reps plenty throughout our blog, but in this post, we’re going to challenge marketers a little bit.
If you’re a marketer struggling to get your sales team to use your content, it may be time to do a bit of self-reflection.
In this post, we’re going to look at seven reasons why sales reps may not be using your content – and ways to fix it.
Let’s jump in.
Reason 1: Your content isn’t relevant to the buyer’s journey
If you want your sales reps to use your content, it needs to be directly relevant to the buyer’s journey.
What’s the buyer’s journey, you ask?
The buyer’s journey is the process that a prospect goes through when making a purchase decision – from recognizing a need or problem to taking action to solve that problem.
At each stage of the buyer’s journey, prospects have different needs and pain points.
For example, at the beginning of the journey, a prospect may be trying to educate themselves on their options and compare different solutions.
At this stage, they’re not ready to talk to a sales rep.
Content that would be relevant at this stage might be an industry report or an in-depth blog post comparing different solutions.
Later on in the journey, when a prospect is ready to talk to sales, they’re looking for more specific information about your product or service.
Content that would be relevant at this stage might be a case study or an ROI calculator.
If your content doesn’t specifically address common questions found in each funnel stage, sales reps simply won’t use it.
How to fix it:
Firstly, you need to have a deep understanding of the buyer journey. Spend a lot of time talking to sales reps (you’ll notice that all of these problems can be remedied by good communication).
Once you understand the buying journey and common pain points therein, use that framework to create new content, map your existing content, or edit content to fit that rubric.
Reason 2: Your content is out of date
If your content is even a little bit out of date, it’s not going to be useful for sales reps.
And if it’s really out of date, it could actively hurt your reputation.
For example, let’s say you have an eBook from two years ago that’s still being used as a lead magnet.
If a prospect downloads that eBook and sees that it’s outdated, they may question your authority on the subject. Especially if that eBook includes information about rapidly-changing industries or statistical data.
Even if the information in the eBook is still relevant, an outdated design or an old company logo isn’t a great look.
Sales reps are going to be very reluctant to use any content that might make your company look bad.
How to fix it:
The best way to fix this problem is to have a content refresh schedule. For example, you might decide to update all of your eBooks every six months or do a yearly content audit.
In this content audit, you can decide whether the content needs to be updated, left alone, or retired completely.
This ensures that your content is always fresh and relevant – and that sales reps have the most up-to-date information to share with prospects.
Reason 3: Your content is too long
Prospects today have shorter attention spans than ever before.
They’re bombarded with marketing messages all day, every day – and they’re good at tuning them out.
If your content is too long, sales reps are going to have a hard time getting prospects to engage with it.
And even if they do get prospects to engage, there’s a good chance that the prospect will lose interest before they get to the end.
Now don’t get us wrong, if you’re in a highly-technical industry, you may need longer content (such as in-depth eBooks and white papers).
But attention needs to be earned, and if long-form content is all you have, good luck getting prospects to pay attention at the top-of-funnel stage.
How to fix it:
The French mathematician Blaise Pascal, when writing a letter, wrote the following: “I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”
It’s a lot more challenging to edit something down while retaining its value than spew words on a page. The same applies to creating great content.
The takeaway? Always be fighting for ways to make your content shorter.
Even if you’re in a highly-technical industry, there are ways to shorten your content without sacrificing quality or accuracy.
For example, you could create an abridged version of a white paper or an infographic that covers the same information but in a more digestible format.
The key is to have a wide range of content types and formats.
Reason 4: Your content targets the wrong people
Your content might be high-quality and engaging – but if it’s not targeting the actual stakeholders or decision-makers, it’s not going to be useful for sales reps.
For example, let’s say you sell software to help businesses schedule and track client meetings. After testing it in the marketplace, you find that the decision-makers are often the CTOs rather than the sales reps.
If all your content is structured and written for sales reps, your sales team will simply have no use for it.
How to fix it:
The best way to fix this problem is to create a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents your ideal customer. Needless to say, this persona should be based on real data, not gut feelings.
If you have a CRM, or even better, a sales enablement platform like Accent Technologies, you can easily pull reports that show the most common decision-makers among your won deals.
You can also use content management systems like Accent Connect to study the impact of each particular piece of collateral on folks within these personas.
When you create a buyer persona, you should include as much detail as possible. This might include information like their job title, age, gender, interests, and challenges.
You can use this buyer persona to inform all of your content decisions going forward, ensuring that every piece of content you create is targeted at the right people.
Reason 5: Your content doesn’t answer specific pain points
Your content might be high-quality, engaging, and targeted at the right people – but if it doesn’t answer specific pain points, it’s still not going to be useful for sales reps.
For example, let’s say you sell software that helps businesses with their customer relationship management (CRM).
Your sales reps might be having a hard time closing deals because prospects are using free CRM software like HubSpot.
In this case, just focusing on how great your CRM software is won’t do the trick. You need content that directly answers the pain point of how free CRM software is limiting and will ultimately cause growth obstacles in their business.
How to fix it:
The best way to fix is to start with the pain point in mind before creating your content. Write it in big, bold letters on a whiteboard. Put it at the top of every planning document.
Do whatever you need to do to keep that pain point in the forefront of your mind as you’re crafting the content.
Don’t know what your customer paint points are? That’s what sales reps are for! Your sales compadres are on the frontlines day after day hearing customer pain points firsthand.
If that still isn’t sufficient, you can conduct customer interviews or customer surveys. Most customers are more than happy to participate in a 15-minute call to talk about their experience with your product.
Reason 6: Your content is impossible to find
Alright, so you’ve made content that’s:
- Targeted at the right people
- Perfectly addressing pain points
But there’s one problem… nobody knows how to find it. And I don’t just mean logging into a clunky intranet system or searching via email.
Sales reps need to be able to retrieve content at a moment’s notice when speaking with clients, especially if they’re only armed with their mobile devices.
This is why it’s so important to invest in a content management system, such as Accent Connect.
You can get away with Google Drive for a bit, but what happens when you update a file, or the rep needs to customize it?
How to fix it:
Tools like Accent Connect allow reps to not only search for keywords and phrases within a piece of content but also find collateral according to how well it performs with prospects.
This means reps can have the content they need in the exact moments they need it.
How to create sales and marketing alignment
If you’re not getting the results you want from your content, it might be due to one of the six reasons we just discussed.
Before you can fix the problem, you need to be able to identify where things are going wrong. Once you know what needs to be fixed, you can start working on creating sales and marketing alignment.
Here are a few key ways you can do this:
Set specific, measurable goals – and hold each other accountable
The first step is to set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
Both marketing and sales should be laser-focused on the same goals and KPIs. This way, you can track progress and ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction.
You should also have a system in place to hold each other accountable. Whether it’s weekly check-ins or a shared document where everyone reports their progress, make sure there’s a system in place to ensure that everyone is doing their part.
Create a sales enablement team
A sales enablement team is a group of people whose sole focus is to help sales reps sell. They act as the bridge between marketing and sales, helping facilitate communication and solve the aforementioned problems.
This team is responsible for speaking into content strategy, training reps on the use of new tools, and providing them with the resources they need to be successful.
Creating a sales enablement team is one of the best ways to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that your content is being used to its full potential.
Invest in the right tools
If you want to create sales and marketing alignment, you need to invest in the right tools. This includes everything from a content management system (CMS) to a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
The right tools will make it easier for everyone to do their job and will help you track progress toward your goals.
Accent Technologies is the first and only SaaS company to bring together Sales AI and Content Management in a true Revenue Enablement Platform. We provide both sales and marketing with better visibility into the performance of their teams.
This drives revenue through intelligent recommendations for complex sales scenarios and provides the data for rich analytics that power better coaching, forecasting, and long-term customer support. Learn more about our solutions or Request a Live Demo to see it in action.