If you have ever worked in a sales enablement capacity, you know that your content will either be embraced, repurposed, or ignored. “Depending on which study you consult, the amount of content marketing that goes unused can be as high as 60 or 70 percent.” Christine uses your slides every client meeting, Michael extracted a stat to share in an email, and Avery doesn’t understand why you wasted your time on this deck.
Every sales person has a different approach. Here’s how I successfully build content that not just enables but empowers everyone on the team:
Hi, nice to meet you
Know your sales team and their approach
How many of your sales team members do you actually know? If you haven’t introduced yourself, do so. Even an emailed introduction is the start to building a relationship and buy-in to your efforts. That’s right, you need to sell yourself to the sales team. For organizations with sales teams in the hundreds – don’t fret! Join smaller meetings within the team for efficient introductions that still feel intimate.
What are your sales team’s OKRs or KPIs? What motivates them? Can you answer these questions? If not, get the answers. This will help you speak about what really matters to them.
Third, ask how they are so successful and how you can best partner with them. For extra credit, attend a sales meeting with them and a client. You might be surprised, get fresh ideas, and identify themes you can carry through your strategy.
I want it that way
Customization elements matter
Building customization options into your content results in:
- Scalable impact while still appealing to an individual
- Increased team buy-in because they can personalize to be more effective
- Learning opportunities in the various changes sales team members make
Generally speaking, I like to empower sales by building assets with around 10%-15% of custom elements. These could be graphics, customer names, data points, you name it. The goal is to let them add deeper meaning to what you’ve already created so it will resonate even more with a specific person or account. Be intentional about what elements are customizable.
Consider what is the most compelling personalization, and also the most efficient. Make it easy to customize or the team won’t bother. Have default values ready in case there isn’t time for personalization.
Make the sales team more than a recipient
We all have jobs to do and competing priorities. It’s easy to segregate ourselves as marketers from the sales team. I found that partnering with the sales team makes me a smarter marketer. I know my audience better and what content will impact the business.
One way to make the sales team more than a recipient of your finished product is to enable them to buy-in throughout the entire process. When you’re outlining and planning, grab a sales team member (or three) and get their thoughts on the concept, goal, and execution. Don’t just listen and nod. Engage. If you don’t understand the core of where their feedback is coming from, it won’t be beneficial beyond the scope of that project. Ask questions. When determining what feedback to incorporate, balance your expertise (presumably content marketing) with theirs (audience and how to turn your content into revenue opportunities).
Finally, everyone wants to be heard and valued. Switch up who you connect with regularly for fresh perspectives and a more wholesome view of your audience. When you set these expectations and engagements regularly, you may just see Christine, Michael, and Avery leveraging all of your content.