Did you know that, according to HubSpot, “76 percent of content marketers are forgetting sales enablement”?

 

I find this stat mind-boggling.

 

Curating your content for your sales teams allows your organization to see more value in the content that you create.

 

It also helps more of your sales reps hit their quota.

 

Who wouldn’t want their work to be viewed as indispensable? Apparently, 76 percent of content marketers!

 

I’ve heard some content marketers tell me that they don’t think about sales enablement because:

  1. They don’t understand how the sales process works
  2. They didn’t realize their their content is helpful to their sales reps
  3. They don’t know what kind of content to provide to their sales team

 

I totally get these concerns.

 

What many marketing teams don’t realize is that their sales reps spend up to 30 hours a month searching for or creating their own content!

 

Before I share some data on why YOUR content helps salespeople close revenue, I want you to know that your content WILL help your sales team close revenue.

 

And for most content marketers, “sales” is their second most important goal for their content, just behind “sales lead quality.”

 

An investment in sales enablement will indeed help you accomplish your content marketing goals.

 

Content Creates Sales

 

So here are 5 data-driven reasons why your content helps your best salespeople engage and close their prospects.

 

1. Prospects want guidance

 

Prospects don’t just need guidance, they want it. They crave engaging with a sales rep that can one day become a trusted advisor to them.

 

This desire is fueled by self-preservation. We as humans don’t want to do badly at our jobs, or look like we are bad at our jobs to our peers.

 

If we, as the customer, can build a relationship with someone that sounds like they have walked in our shoes and can help us achieve our goals, then we are going to take that opportunity to build a relationship.

 

And the data backs that claim up.

 

b2b-purchasers-1-e1410218571659

 

LinkedIn study found that 92 percent of buyers engage if the professional is a known industry thought leader.

 

Whoa

 

So 92 out of 100 prospects would engage with someone that they thought could provide expert guidance.

 

If you’re writing great content, then pass this content onto your sales reps. When they engage with prospects, they want to come across as an expert. Because if they do, prospects are willing to engage with them.

 

And the data continues.

 

are_vendor_sales_people_frequently_prepared_for_your_meetings

 

Forrester study came to the same conclusion, that 75 percent of customers don’t think that their sales reps are prepared to meet with them because “they aren’t knowledgeable about my specific business.” In addition, 76 percent say that sales reps “can’t relate to my role and responsibilities in the organization.”

 

This study shows that there are two expectations that prospects have of their sales reps, and those are:

  1. Know my business
  2. Know my day-to-day, my life, and the issues that I deal with

 

Your content certainly unlocks the door to helping your sales reps position themselves in these two ways to their prospects.

 

2. Prospects are looking for research content

 

Prospects research your product and space on their own.

 

Shocking, right?

 

However, I’m going to dispel a HUGE myth that marketing automation softwares throw out as fact to sell more of their software. And then, I’ll tell you what’s true.

 

MYTH BUSTED: Prospects ARE NOT 67 percent of the way through the buying cycle before they speak with sales.

 

67 percent Myth Busted

 

This false stat has plagued the digital marketing space, and is often parroted back as fact because people have heard it from more than 5 people.

 

Lori Wizdo, a B2B Marketing Analyst at Forrester, debunks the theory that the prospect has determined most of their purchasing decision before they speak with sales, and replaces it with more sound data.

 

In a Forrester survey, they found that 74 percent of buyers conduct half of their research online before making an offline purchase.

 

concentric_buyer_journey_circles_with_vehicles

 

Megan Heuer, Vice President and Group Director of Data-Driven Marketing at SiriusDecisions, did a great job debunking this fact, and stating the same takeaway. It’s not that the buyer has conducted almost 70 percent of their research BEFORE they talk with sales. It’s that the buyer is conducting 70 percent of their own research WHILE they talk with sales. You can read more about that here.

 

Research while talking with sales

 

Your salespeople do not enter the prospect’s buying process when a contract is ready to be signed. They enter much earlier, and often help form the requirements that have to be researched.

 

Again, a study by SAP confirms this same statistic. They found that 75 percent of prospects do research on their own prior to purchasing, not prior to talking with sales.

 

So, here is the takeaway and what it means for sales.

 

Your buyers are going to do their own research.

 

You need to arm your sales reps with curated content from third-party sources as well as your own blog to aid their prospects in researching.

 

The perfect tool that helps you do this is Sharebird, which allows you to organize both documents and blog articles for your sales reps, to make this process faster and easier.

 

Now, back to the article. 🙂

 

3. Prospects live with normalized pain

 

Normalized pain means pain that someone is accustomed to, and as a result, doesn’t notice anymore.

 

Your prospects live with normalized pain.

 

If they realized the problem they had, and were able to quantify the problem, they wouldn’t need sales reps do to that for them. And every customer on the planet would be searching for your product.

 

According to sales thought leader Josiane Feigon, only 13 percent of customers believe a salesperson can understand their needs.

 

That’s it.

 

Often, sales reps aren’t able to educate the prospect to identify and quantify the problem with them.

 

Sales guru Jeff Thull of the Prime Resource Group found that sales reps that are able to help their prospects understand how real their problems are were then able to reduce the buying cycle by 42 percent!

 

One of the most strategic uses of content is to help educate the prospect enough to realize that they have a problem.

 

The best sales reps are constantly trying to do this.

 

And well-placed (or well-emailed) content has an accelerating effect on the buying cycle.

 

I explain in-depth on point #4 of this article, “The Essential Buyer Persona Checklist for Revenue Generating Sales Enablement” what type of content you need to create to help your sales reps have better “problem conversations.” Points #4 – 6 are all relevant to content creation.

 

4. Prospects have to sell internally

 

How many buyers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Who knows. But we do know that it takes 7 buyers at one company to make a purchase decision.

 

According to Marketing Charts, the average US company has 7 execs involved in a B2B tech buying decision.

 

Number of Execs in the Buying Cycle

 

Your sales reps have probably done a fantastic job educating their “champion” prospect. That’s the person that is helping them internally in the prospect company.

 

But that champion must now sell up to six more people in their company.

 

And what makes this worse is that your sales rep may not even know who the other six evaluators are. According to a study by TOPO, a sales development research firm, a new decision-maker enters the mix in the last 5–10 percent of the buying experience.

 

Often times, this person needs to be engaged, educated and sold from scratch!

 

So where do the best salespeople turn? To content.

 

Let me rephrase: they turn to your content.

 

So your reps need content catalogued by stage in the buying process, so they can provide the right content at the right time to their prospects.

 

I hope that, by this point, you see how valuable your marketing content is your best salespeople. But I’ll still share another point to drive it home.

 

5. Your best salespeople need more selling time

 

Even if you don’t realize how much your best salespeople need your marketing content, they do.

 

They have realized that valuable content is so powerful, that they end up spending way too much of their selling time searching for or creating content.

 

How much? According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, sales reps spend up to 30 hours a month curating or creating content!

 

That is a lot of selling time that they are trading to find or create content for their prospects.

 

At this point, I think you believe how valuable your content is when it is in the hands of your salespeople. So, here is some icing on the cake to reinforce the value of sales enablement.

 

Mission Accomplished:

 

If you consider the needs of your sales team when planning your content, you’ll see more of your sales reps attain their quotas.

 

According to Aberdeen, 84 percent of sales reps with best-in-class sales enablement teams achieve their quota, compared to just 50 percent of sales reps with subpar sales enablement.

 

World Class Sales Enablement

 

Clearly, a focus on sales enablement helps content marketers achieve their content sales goals.

 

However, 65 percent of sales reps say they can’t find content to send to prospects.

 

So if you’re serious about helping your sales reps, you need to make an investment into a sales content-sharing software.

 

One where your sales reps can easily find the content that they need, and one where you can measure sales usage.

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