Content. Content. Mega-content.
Remember J.K. Simmons’ portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson in the 2002 Spider-man movie? I’ll never forget him looking through the deluge of Peter Parker’s photos saying “Crap. Crap. Megacrap” and then of course buying the whole pile for $200. Do you ever wonder if your sales reps are saying the same thing when they look at the content created for them by marketing? Are they simply looking at the deluge of content and thinking “Content. Content. Megacontent,” because that’s all it is – content. Content that is disjointed, lacking context, or simply not helping sales reps deliver the message their customers want to hear. To top it off, it’s difficult to find any of the content! As a marketer, I can tell you it has been my fear in the past. No marketer wants to spend time creating content just for it to go unused. Yet, that’s what happens: 60-70 percent of marketing content is never used, according to Sirius Decisions. So what do you do about it? If you are a marketer with a current library of brochures, white papers, battlecards and more, and want to get it in the hands of your sales reps to then get in the hands of your customers, read on! I’m going to share our best practices for how to do this painlessly.
- Take inventory of the type of content you and others in your organization are creating for your sales reps. Ask and answer these questions: What is the purpose of the content? What is it costing us to create content? The answer to this last question will help you justify any investment needed to improve your process. We’ve heard our customers tell us it cost an average of $1,400 per content item. If 70 percent isn’t being used, that could equate to millions of dollars being wasted annually.
- Once you have an inventory of the type of content that is being created and who is creating it, you can start to map this inventory to the needs of your sales reps and customers. For each content type, who is the intended audience? How is it intended to be used? What is the desired result from each item of content? How will you measure if it is achieving these results?
- Now for the fun part – getting this content into your sales reps’ hands! If your company is like many other companies, you probably have content located in multiple locations: shared drives, different intranets, online repositories like Google Drive and Box, and maybe even SharePoint. Instead of herding all the content together and moving into a new system, use a single system to catalog content and make easy to access from a single location.
- A critical piece to the success of this plan is having executive sponsorship (remember the cost of creating your content?) and buy-in from your sales organization. I have a group of sales reps and managers I engage for feedback on our internal system for delivering content to sales. I couldn’t do it without them! Once I have their buy-in I am more comfortable rolling out changes to the content.
- And then you’re done! No, not really. Now comes determining if the system you’ve implemented is working. This is where your catalog of content comes into play. Even though your content may be stored in different locations, your catalog of content is what will feed your reporting. Here are examples of some of the reports I see on the content we create internally for our sales reps:
- What content types are being accessed, by whom, and when.
- How content has been rated by users thanks to an easy 1-5 star rating system.
- Feedback that has been provided on content.
- Where content has been shared, such as customer deal rooms, LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.
This aggregated data helps us determine what content we should be focusing our efforts on and which pieces we can either retire or promote within the organization. This is probably the 20th blog about content you’ve read this week. There is a lot written providing tips for improving your content and personalizing it for your buyers. It is all great advice. But at the end of the day, you need a system in place to tell you if any of it is actually working. Data can help you understand what personalization and context is working. Then your sales reps will be happy with your content. Isn’t that what you want? I’d love to hear about your sales content challenges and share what we’ve done at CallidusCloud to improve our sales content process. Feel free to drop me a note and we can set up a time to discuss!
Jennifer Kling | November 13th, 2015