Did you know that 90% of all b2b purchases start with a Google search? In order to have any relevance in a buying decision, your target customers must first be able to find you online. However, as inbound marketers know, being found is not enough. The content you provide must be relevant enough to keep your prospects coming back again and again, rather than disappearing forever once they’ve navigated away from your website.
In the traditional division of labor, marketing has focused on attraction and conversion whereas sales are tasked with following up and closing opportunities. Subsequently, the content marketing has created tends to focus on the very early stages of prospect engagement. Rightly or wrongly, once sales takes over they believe they don’t have access to collateral that will help them close the opportunity. This is backed up by research: 90% of the marketing material produced never gets used by sales.
What happens? As you’d suspect, individual sales representatives start creating their own material, whether it be RoI calculations or presentations, creating a chaotic mix of mixed messages and contradictory value propositions. You have no idea of what collateral actually resonates with your customers, and what scares them away. You’re relying on luck and good breaks, rather than data and analysis.
So how do we address this issue? How do we bring sales and marketing together and create the right content for the right context - not just to initially attract and convert, but to create a great customer experience throughout the buyer’s journey?
First, you need to map out the various points in your sales process where sales will need particular pieces of content – the milestones they need to reach in order to move the opportunity forward in your pipeline. Remember: if the relevant collateral is not produced for these critical points, sales will start making up their own.
Then what? How do you ensure this will actually be put into practice and how do you use your sales and marketing platforms to analyze the outcomes of using the new collateral? We don’t just want to track adherence, we want to see what’s working and adjust what’s not.
In Membrain, you can add the relevant content to a particular step or milestone in the sales process as a file or a link. Simply put, the collateral will be made available to the sales person at the right time. You can also add a helpful explanation to ensure it’s crystal clear what needs to be done. If you want to make sure sales are following policy, you can make it mandatory to upload the content that was used in order to move to the next step.
What about analytics?
By conducting regular win/loss analyses, you can quickly gain insight into who your target customers are and, even more important, which ones you ought to stay away from. Perhaps your sweet spot are clients with 50-100 employees, facing a particular set of problems for which you can offer a very compelling combination of products and services? Maybe you’ve been targeting CEOs in a certain industry with a list of value propositions, but it’s not paying off?
Membrain will compile this data for you, so you can focus your efforts on the opportunity types with the highest return, and as the starting point to renew, refine or reject the collateral you’ve created throughout the sales process.
2 tips for getting started today
First, gather your sales team and document what content they need at various stages in the sales process to bring an opportunity to close. List the items from most important to least important.
Second, conduct a win/loss analysis of all opportunities in the last 3-6 months. At the end of this exercise, you should have a clear understanding of who your target customers are, what types of opportunities you ought to stay away from and what value you can provide that your customers are willing to pay for.
Review the content you already have, as well as the content requested from sales, before starting to put together the collateral that resonates throughout the buyer’s journey.