Selling in today’s B2B world is more complex than ever before. The number of stakeholders involved in any one deal now averages at 5.4, while reps must also consider factors like deal size, sales stage, competitor positioning, geography, financial terms, and use case. With so many variables, reps are entering into the unknown as they encounter new and unique selling situations each day.
To help reps succeed in this challenging environment, companies are investing heavily in high quality, marketing-produced content. This content comes in many forms including whitepapers, case studies, solution sheets, ebooks, product roadmaps, and even presentation slides. Armed with this content, reps can convey their company’s value message and close more deals…..or so the theory goes.
There is one small issue however—the idea that Marketing can cater for Sales’ content needs is not based in reality. Even the most productive Marketing team can not possibly keep up with all the unique selling situations sales reps find themselves in. The end result is that Sales reps “go rogue” and create content they feel matches their sales situation overlooking marketing-created content in the process.
So, while investments in content are well-intentioned, they are not necessarily that effective. In fact, new research from Docurated shows that Marketing’s reputation as the primary content creator within the enterprise is undeserved. Our survey respondents stated their belief that Marketing was responsible for an average of 80% of the content created within their organization. Through our analytics however, we learned that, in reality, content creation is spread much more evenly around the organization.
Taking our research one step further, we analyzed 20,271 closed deals to uncover the type of content most likely to close a deal. To our surprise, content created within the Sales organization is far more likely to close a deal than anything Marketing creates.
These findings lead us to believe it is time for a full scale reassessment of the role of content within the sales cycle. There are some interesting conclusions we can draw from our findings:
Companies are investing heavily in marketing content which is simply not getting results.
Sales reps are either unaware or uninterested in the content Marketing is creating.
What is perhaps most interesting in these findings is the fact that the majority of companies seem oblivious to the obvious benefits of content created within the Sales organization. This content is field-tested and proven to close deals, bringing with it a massive opportunity for companies to hone their marketing strategy. Think about the value this could bring for Marketing teams planning their content strategy.
Instead, it seems we are still living in the dark ages when it comes to B2B content. Content direction and strategy based on the instincts of would-be experts is still the order of the day. Marketing leaders develop their content strategy in isolation from Sales while potentially invaluable insights from the field are overlooked. As a result, up to 90% of marketing-produced content is going unused by Sales. To remedy this wild inefficiency, companies must first close the marketing-sales feedback loop by leveraging analytics tools that show exactly which content is being presented before prospects as well as its success rate.
Companies must also recognize that producing customer-facing content is no longer the preserve of the Marketing department. When it comes to content, Sales is an overlooked contributor with a track record of success that is being foolishly ignored. The time has come for enterprise companies to reassess their content strategy.
Fergal Glynn is Docurated’s VP of Marketing. Docurated accelerates sales in companies looking for fast growth by making the best marketing content readily available to Sales teams. Fergal helped produce Docurated's State of Sales Productivity Report, which examines key sales productivity trends and challenges facing sales and marketing executives. Fergal grew up in Ireland and now lives in Arlington, MA. To learn more about Docurated check out their Sales Enablement Tool on the AppExchange.