Monday, November 29, 2010

Content Marketing and the Forgotten Sales Professional

Each week the Content Marketing Institute poses a new question to help drive content marketing best practices. This weeks question: What other areas of the organization can help build loyalty/buy-in to the content marketing program?

One of the most important, but often forgotten consumers of content marketing programs are sales professionals.

In many organizations, Sales and Channel Enablement groups are responsible for leveraging and building best practices so that sales professionals are aware of available content and how to use it effectively in the sales process. Engaging early and often with these groups can help assure that the content is used to best effect by sales professionals when engaging with clients, yielding dramatically expanded content adoption, use and measurable impact on sales cycle and deal flow.

However, research indicates that sales is not always using the content to best effect. According to the American Marketing Association:
  • 90% of marketing deliverables are not used by sales;
  • Salespeople spend 30 hours a month searching for and creating their own selling materials.
Not only is sales efficiency an issue when it comes to content usage, effectiveness is not all it can be either. IDC reveals in a recent survey that, buyers are not satisfied with the value sales professionals are delivering to engagements. In a recent survey, 24% of buyers indicated that the sales reps are not prepared for presentations at all, 30% indicate that they are somewhat prepared , and only 29% indicate that they are well prepared. The lack of preparation has been directly shown to drive inefficient conversion, longer sales cycles, more discounting, and higher competitive losses.

According to SiriusDecisions, the average company invests over $43K in marketing per salesperson, an estimated 3%-7% of the opportunity value of the sales pipeline. From the research however, content marketers are clearly not getting an adequate return on investment from most sales and channel organizations. Buy-in from these important groups can help drive adoption of content, key improvements in customer engagements, reductions in sales cycles and improved deal flow helping to bolster the case for more content marketing investments.

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