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Over-Creating (and Under-Utilizing) Content Is Bad for Business!

Content, for many organizations, is a double-edged sword. It’s vital to successful interactions with prospects, customers, and peers, but it’s also a struggle to consistently deliver content that’s valuable, useable, and even discoverable by sales reps.

In fact, as much as 70 percent of content churned out by marketing departments sits unused, even though much of it is specifically created for sales; and a recent report from an industry analyst firm found that 41 percent of sales reps don’t know what content to use, how to use it effectively. or when to use it.


Rather than continuing to enable a “business as usual” cycle where marketing teams develop content that doesn’t get used or can’t be found, it’s time to focus on intelligently creating content that enhances the sales cycle, improves engagement with customers and prospects, and increases performance.

Not sure where to start? Here are three tips for eliminating content overload:

1. Stop creating content simply because you can!

Marketing teams often create content without feedback from sales because, well, their organizations expect them to! But when marketing can’t adequately answer to higher-ups on budget and ROI, it’s time to take a smarter approach to content creation.

The first step is acknowledging the disconnect between sales and marketing. Always on the go, sales teams are often unaware that specific content already exists. And when it does exist, they either feel they don’t have time to look for it or that there’s too much to sift through to find exactly what they need.

To address this, if marketing connects directly with individual sales reps to determine how they use or don’t use existing content, it will be easier to identify specific content problems plaguing the organization. For example, if sales teams say that they regularly create their own content “on the fly,” it often just means that they can’t find or don’t know what content is already available.

Once an initial dialogue has been established, marketing and sales can work together to implement solutions that enable everyone to better access and utilize content when, how, and where it’s needed. Without this structure, the investment in creating content is effectively going to waste.

2. Visibility is key.

What if there were a way marketing teams could strategically create content based on how existing content is already used? Such content measurement is crucial for marketing and sales teams that want to be more effective when interacting with prospects and closing deals.

By utilizing content analytics, marketers gain greater visibility into the content that sales teams are actually using along with insight into how often and at what point in the sales process it is most useful. For example, what if marketers could determine that only three slides out of a 20-slide deck were actually being used to close deals? By unlocking this type of sales behavior – and using that knowledge to create and share more effective content in the future – both sales and marketing teams benefit.

This visibility also enables marketers to eliminate unused content and better allocate their time and resources to developing content that supports the success of their sales teams. With content analytics, marketing can identify gaps in content and be smarter about prioritizing new content development based on what they know sales teams are using during each phase of the sales cycle.

In fact, if marketing can quantify the value and determine the financial impact of marketing content used during the sales process, each piece of content can have a measurable impact, rather than simply taking up storage space.

3. Make it easier to access content.

So you’ve gained visibility into content use and have stopped creating content for content’s sake. Great. But even with less, albeit more effective, content, sales still doesn’t have the time to search and surf through files and folders for the content they need; every second with a customer or prospect counts!

That’s where push technology comes in. When marketers can take the information they’ve gained from content analytics and push relevant content to a specific sales rep – based on role-based differentiators such as time, location, association, or event – sales teams get the right content for the right customer interaction at the right stage in the sales cycle. With relevant content in hand, sales can more effectively engage with customers to win new business and acquire more market share.

Struggling to find or access the right content at the right moment not only wastes the time and effort of sales teams, it can seriously impact the bottom line by making it more difficult for sales teams to close deals.

By being smarter about the content creation process, gaining insight into how and when content is used, and empowering sales teams to easily access content the moment it’s needed, organizations can ensure they are accurately allocating marketing resources, improve overall productivity, and support the sales team with relevant and useful content.

And that means happier employees, happier customers, and, best of all, increased ROI.

Image Source (Creative Commons): Michael Cory.

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