More Than Content Needs Overhaulin’

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For all the time, attention and investment made in sales enablement tools, it’s a shame a fraction of that hasn’t been invested in solving the core problem: the content itself.

One of our colleagues often quips: “it’s easier to buy software.”

He means easier than figuring out the culture and process changes, aligning siloed functions, enrolling stakeholders, and resolving all the interdependent causes of problems.

He also says, “every major purchase is essentially a change management initiative.”

Despite the lip service and pockets of success (sustainable?), sales enablement hasn’t yet met expectations. But then …. CRM?

I was reminded of this by Tom Pisello’s summary of the Qvidian users conference. Top Priority: Content Overhaulin’.

While “purging, aligning and personalizing” content might be necessary work, what’s really required is a better process for content.

How can it possibly be, that in the fifteen years I’ve been involved with B2B content, most marketing groups with responsibility, budget and resources to create content, still can’t get aligned with sales on a process to deliver the content they need?

And look, this isn’t all on marketing. How well does sales define their requirements? See Need Better Content? Define Your Use Case Requirements.

While I’m rollin here, let’s admit THIS ISN’T EASY. But that’s not popular. We want “content strategy” in 5, 6 or 9 steps (depending on your complexity tolerance.)

We talk personas, but barely do them, and mostly not well. I can tell you, if you really want quality, insightful and differentiated content, you’re gonna have to go a lot deeper in your research. And, make it a persistent practice, not a one-and-done event.

In conversations about buying process analysis over the last 6 months, I put groups in six different companies on their heels with only three questions. (Sorry, secret sauce.) But all agreed the answers were essential. Trouble is, they had already contracted and completed that work. Oh well.

Really? And you’re going to spend HOW MUCH money on content?  And you’re hoping it will drive how much PIPELINE and SALES PRODUCTIVITY?

A Core Cause of the (Sales) Content Problem?

Here’s what I think is the core cause of this problem. Most senior executives haven’t embraced the new reality of the strategic imperative of content.

In the past, this made sense. Customer facing content has been a short life expense item, to support specific marketing or sales tactics. It was well beneath the purview of senior executives.

But the rapidly transforming digital era has changed that. Most senior executives (CEOs, CFOs, VP Sales, etc.) seem slow to understand and appreciate the implications of the transformation that is taking place in business marketing — indeed, in the digital enterprise.

So talk to your senior executives. Help them understand, customer facing content is a strategic imperative for their business. Content drives most of the top priorities they care about:

  • New customer acquisition and profitable revenue growth
  • Sales and marketing productivity and efficiency, which lowers selling costs
  • The ability to acquire data and insights on customers and buyers
  • The ability to consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences.

I’m with Tom on overhaulin’ content as a short term fix. But to really do content well in the first place, you’ll need to change your content process.