B2B sales leaders know that effective, situation-specific, sales ready content is a strategic imperative. It is a key driver of B2B sales effectiveness. To provision sales and partner teams with the right selling information and content the sales organization must requisition sales content from their providers.
Most people aren’t aware that effective sales content is significantly different from marketing content. This discovery helps explain the perennial frustration and challenge in arming sales and partner reps with what they really need (vs think they need).
Marketing creates content for markets, segments and personas, to generate conversations (leads for sales people, PR and brand and other marketing purposes).
Sales people require information and content to conduct conversations with specific account and buying teams. To be useful, sales content must align to and support the specific purposes of both sellers and buyers.
So the question really is:
How is it possible for non-sales-oriented, creative content people
to produce effective, situation-specific, sales-ready content?
A related question is:
How will you know the sales content you are expecting
will be effective (before months of actual use)?
How will you know from the start where you have content gaps?
In fact, if your content, marketing, sales and partner people don’t distinguish the vague concept “content” into specific, meaningful, and useful terms, this problem will persist.
Add the huge opportunity cost. The hidden but significant cost of under-performance by sales and channel initiatives that depend on effective, situation-specific information.
Most content and product marketing organizations, as well as sales managers and sales enablement groups, lack specific criteria that defines exactly what effective sales content is.
Too often content planning is very general. The typical focus is at the level of categories and formats, eg “customer stories,” “video.”
This isn’t specific enough for content creators. They needed detailed explanations about the purpose and key characteristics that make each asset effective, in the context of each selling and buying situation.
That is the core purpose of this work. Sales, as well as content developers, need specifications for each asset. And that’s what is usually missing.
What Really IS Sales Content?
The terminology of the categories below works better than the nebulous word “content”. Each word is commonly understood and defines appropriate categories. Getting the details right within each category still requires work.
- Knowledge — and performance support required by both content users and audiences (buyers)
- Conversation support — required by sellers, and buyers as content consumers
- Situation-specific information — provides deeper information for specific decisions at each key decision stage, or “decision-gate,” in the buying decision process.
This terminology alone doesn’t solve the problem. It does provide guidance for the work product marketing and sales (enablement) must do.
This from the analysts at Gartner:
“Given that customers spend roughly two-thirds of any B2B buying journey learning from whatever information they can find‚ the type of information they encounter matters … more than a specific supplier capability or individual sales conversation.
Information‚ not individuals‚ makes the purchase process easier.
Information connector: Reps serve as curators or brokers of information rather than individual experts. They largely focus on finding and directing customers to the right information‚ tools and data rather than relying on individual experience.
Win through information, not individuals”
Requisition Sales Content from Creative Providers
Sales organization must requisition the specific knowledge assets, conversation support, and situation-specific information they need, from the creative groups and individuals responsible to provide it.
They are your subject and creative experts. Stop expecting them to be experts about the critical engagements / conversations you have with buyers. Why should they know how to design and create effective support assets for each key engagement and purpose?
You probably think this seems daunting. At first it will seem that way. Without an effective methodology and experience many complex activities appear complicated and confusing.
Altogether, these categories are indeed big as a building. But experts design and create incredibly daunting buildings all the time. They have a process and experience. The results are amazing.
What if your sales and partner information and content assets could be amazing?
Effective situation-specific information provides the keys to doors your reps bounce off now.
If this makes sense in your world, next you’ll want to know How to Define Requirements and Requisition Content