Is Your Sales Team Getting the Content it Needs?

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on April 6
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"Don’t Make Your Sales Team Run Marathons on Milk Duds."

Let me explain.  See, I had this kind of absurdly anxious nightmare.  Our firm was in some kind of Olympic race—but not really The Olympics.  (You know how dreams are.)  Anyway, we were sending our sales team out to run a marathon.  For some reason, I said, "they can't run on an empty stomach."  Then the sales team looked at me.  Somehow, I realized I was in charge of the food.  Then I gave them each a Milk Dud.  That’s right—a Milk Dud, the odd little chocolate-caramel candies in the yellow box. Except I didn’t give them a box of Milk Duds--just a Milk Dud, singular. They looked confused and disappointed.  I felt guilty and anxious.  Then we lost the marathon.   

I know what this is about.  But then you don’t have to be Freud to gather the meaning here.  As as the content guy, I have internalized a deep sense of responsibility for fueling our sales team with material they need.  I worry about this.  And while this anxiety may inspire odd nightmares, it’s ultimately a productive concern.  Sales teams need good content.

No Milk-Dud Content!

And, odd as it is, the dream provides a very helpful analogy. For sales reps, trying to make sales without content is like trying to run a marathon on an empty stomach.  The right content fuels the full run. Giving them the wrong content is like feeding them a sad little Milk Dud.

I do my best to avoid feeding our sales team measly Milk-Dud content.  

That's my story, and here's the take-away.

Marketing and Sales Should Work Together To Create Content

Of course, cooking up good content requires some thought. And the best content is ultimately a team effort.  It may be obvious, but I am very invested in working with sales.  Still, it’s surprising how much content gets produced without any input from sales teams.

For me, it’s a no-brainer: marketing and sales should work together to create content. The sales team fields questions, listens to pain points, and spends quality face-to-face time with prospective buyers. They know which questions get asked repeatedly, and what challenges are shared across audiences. The entire point of content marketing is to provide answers to those questions and solutions.  We answer those questions by providing valuable content. 

Here’s how Sales Teams Can Help

To make sure sales teams get the content they need, reps should be part of the content process.  If I create useful content, I owe it to our sales team.  Here’s what sales can do to help make sure they get the content they need.

Make a Content Wish-list

As you work your way into marketing’s creative lair, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is missing from our organization’s content collection?
  • What has one of my prospects needed to know for which I did not have a content piece to explain?

Take a Crack at Creating Some Content

Yes—I mean sales.  I know sales is busy—very busy.  I just mean write up a draft or an outline of notes.  Get the marketing team to create the final version. 

A successful content strategy requires commitment from all departments, including sales. Each piece of content should answer a question, offer advice or add value to the buyer’s journey in some way. 

Share and Distribute

Share your organization’s content resources with your social networks. Ask your colleagues to share your work. Offer to share their work. If your marketing department publishes a new guide — help distribute the content by putting your social signals to good use.

Don’t Run on an Empty Stomach: Use Content in Your Sales Strategy

Finally, if you’re not using content already, then you’re running that marathon on an empty stomach.  Your marketing team is cooking up some good stuff.  Make sure to use it.  From your first interaction to your last, content can be the glue that helps you bond with each prospect, lead and customer. Warm up your initial outreach with a relevant piece of content that will help your prospect in some way.

Think about the Brand

On a larger scale, as a sales rep, remember that your organization’s collection of content tells the ultimate story about your brand as an industry expert and thought leader. It’s documentation of your brand’s reputation. This is a major initiative that requires all hands on deck.  Round out what your company is talking about by offering your expertise. When it comes to understanding your audience, data is great, but numbers ain’t got nothing on a seasoned sales rep. Nobody knows customers as well as the sales team.

If you're like to learn more about how to make sure your sales teams is getting the right content, contact us.

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Topics: B2B Marketing, Sales Cycle, B2B Content, B2B Social Selling, Content Marketing, Marketing and Sales

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