Content Marketing and the Future of Sales Enablement

At Contently, we talk about the audience a lot. Audience, in this case, usually refers to the outside world—the group of people who read, watch, and listen to your content. If your content resonates, you’ll be able to build a relationship with the right people who can buy your product.

Ultimately, though, your total audience consists of more than just those people. Brands create content for investors, analysts, job candidates, the press, etc. Each segment has a unique appeal that benefits your brand in some way. However, there’s one crucial audience that often gets overlooked, and it’s closer than you might expect: sales teams.

Now, marketing and sales are supposed to collaborate and complement each other like Holmes and Watson. Marketing builds awareness (Watson even blogs in the BBC reboot) and gathers intel, then sales takes over to close the case. But that handoff breaks down far too often on both sides. Some marketers create a lot of great content but don’t always communicate that to sellers. Some sellers know their companies have a library of content but don’t put in the effort to find and study it.

As Contently’s co-founder and CTO, I’m always thinking about new ways software can help people. Technology has played a huge role in the growth of content marketing by simplifying communication, automating tasks, and collecting data. But after talking to marketing executives over the last few years, I realized it can still do much more to influence internal audiences. According to SiriusDecisions, not only does 65 percent of content go to waste, but salespeople have to look in an average of six different places to find the content they need.

The modern seller is more of a helpful consultant.

Clearly there’s a better way for frontline teams to use content. For companies to improve their sales enablement, a few things need to happen.

First, we all need to think about sales teams in a new light. The stereotype of the aggressive seller calling you four times is fading. Customers don’t want to be bombarded by annoying sales tactics. The image of the stereotypical salesperson sets up sales as some sort of game, like the goal is to dupe consumers into buying something they don’t need. The kind of person who wants to sell ice to an eskimo. The modern seller is more of a helpful consultant. They want to make the prospect’s life easier, and arming them with educational content is a great way to accomplish that.

Second, we need to find a system for better alignment. Marketers can’t assume that sellers will know where all relevant content lives. Sellers can’t assume marketers will feed it to them every time a new case study gets approved. Both sides need a solution that removes the friction and brings everyone together in a central location.

For the past year, we’ve been working on giving companies a straightforward way to address these issues. Today, we’re officially launching our sales enablement suite.

The suite consists of four parts:

  • Content portals – For publishing, curating, and distributing assets into a central hub that internal teams can access.
  • Salesforce integration – For automatically providing sellers with contextually relevant content in Salesforce based on contact, lead, and opportunity ages. (We’re certified in the Salesforce AppExchange.)
  • Docalytics – For easily publishing, tracking, and updating downloadable documents.
  • Content requests – For managing asset requests from sellers and other frontline teams.

Together, the tools can empower sellers to customize their outreach and let marketing teams actually maximize the value of all the content they create.

One of 2019’s biggest marketing trends is the idea that companies need to be “customer-centric.” (Weren’t they always supposed to be?) While we fully support brands trying to focus on their customers more, I’d tweak that trend. Companies should really be audience-centric.

After surveying brands from all industries, it became clear that they aspired to reach more than just core customers. They wanted their content to educate, inspire, and influence all audiences, whether they’re thousands of miles away or right across the office.

If you’d like to learn more about our sales enablement suite, click here to set up a call.

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