The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Making Content Work for the Sales Force


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If content marketing supports the sales cycle, why are so many companies bad at it? It’s not a shortage of technology. It stems from sales and marketing not having walked the proverbial mile in each other’s shoes. This lack of understanding causes friction between what sales teams want and what marketing delivers—and when.

This session will help B2B marketers understand the sales side of the house, how the new customer journey impacts sales, the financial cost of misalignment between marketing and sales, and how to create content that not only resonates with customers, but also engages and excites your sales team. This presentation covers:
- How to uncover different expectations sales and marketing have around the customer buying cycle and sales enablement
- Find out why marketing and sales have such a different approach for a common goal – getting customers and bringing in revenue
- Learn the new rules of responsibility for sales and marketing as it relates to content marketing
- Understand how marketers can speak the language of sales in order to develop more relevant content during each step of the buyer’s journey

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Making Content Work for the Sales Force

  1. 1. Carla Johnson, President Type A Communications @CarlaJohnson Making Content Work for the Sales Force
  2. 2. ABOUT CARLA JOHNSON @CarlaJohnson
  3. 3. ABOUT THIS PRESENTATION This presentation focuses on how marketers can start to understand sales reps, what questions to ask to uncover their true needs and help them better engage with prospects and convert them to customers. It’s not about technology, which is a huge component of the sales enablement process. Instead, it’s about how marketers and sales reps can better understand each other and connect as people and achieve goals together. @CarlaJohnson
  4. 4. CONTENT MARKETING Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. - Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute @CarlaJohnson
  5. 5. SALES ENABLEMENT Strategic processes that align marketing and sales goals to inspire valuable conversation in the right time, place and format to move a sales opportunity forward. - Carla Johnson, Type A Communications @CarlaJohnson
  6. 6. CONTENT MARKETING + SALES ENABLEMENT Marketing and sales integrating to tell the same story to defined personas with purpose of engaging, nurturing, converting and retaining customers with the ultimate goal of driving longterm revenue. @CarlaJohnson
  7. 7. 1 @CarlaJohnson THE UGLY
  8. 8. WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM NOW? Misalignment between sales and marketing causes the typical company to underperform by 10-20% in annual revenue. (IDC) Best-in-class organization that integrate sales and marketing outperform those that don’t by as much as 24% in average revenue growth. (Sirius Decisions) The seller no longer controls the process; the buyer does @CarlaJohnson
  9. 9. THE SALES MACHINE Sales concentrates on a linear process and outdated expectations of customer behavior. Managers focus on fine tuning the machine to improve results. No room for creativity and novel information from sales reps. @CarlaJohnson
  10. 10. TODAY’S CUSTOMERS Customers aren’t linear. They go through a web of information that sales can’t control. Complex B2B sales require greater internal consensus. Customers want insights that “go beyond” and talk about business impact. @CarlaJohnson
  11. 11. THE CHANGING BUYING PROCESS Source: CatapultWorks @CarlaJohnson
  12. 12. THE CHANGING BUYING PROCESS Source: B2Beacon @CarlaJohnson
  13. 13. THE HIDDEN SALES CYCLE @CarlaJohnson
  14. 14. 2 @CarlaJohnson THE BAD
  15. 15. B2B marketing organizations now spend more than 25% of their budgets on developing, delivering and promoting content to drive business leads, influence customer markets and grow brand presence and authority. Source: Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field, CMO Council, June 2013 @CarlaJohnson
  16. 16. 50 90 TO @CarlaJohnson % % of collateral created by marketing is never used by sales
  17. 17. MARKETING SAYS… “Sales is rigid, egotistical and uninspired. They don’t care about customers. They only care about selling.” @CarlaJohnson
  18. 18. SALES SAYS… “I poured my heart out to marketing and all I got back was a truckload of shame.” @CarlaJohnson
  19. 19. CUSTOMER CONVERSATIONS Thinking of your initial meeting, what percent of reps were: Not Prepared 26% Somewhat Prepared 31% Source: IDC Customer Experience @CarlaJohnson Extremely Prepared 16% Very Prepared 27%
  20. 20. Basically, the overwhelming majority of executive level buyers tell us that how a vendor engages with them differentiates them a lot more than what their products and services are or do. Scott Santucci Forrester Analyst @CarlaJohnson
  21. 21. SALES & MARKETING ACTUALLY AGREE Improved Differentiation/Story 53% 36% 27% Better Understanding of What Content to Use, When, Who and How to Present It Increase Marketing's Visibility into the Sales Pipeline and Deals Closed from Marketing-Generated Leads Sales Enablement: Fulfilling the Last Frontier of Sales-Marketing Alignment, Aberdeen Group @CarlaJohnson
  22. 22. Move away from helping sales people sell and instead, help buyers buy. Michael Brenner Vice President, Marketing and Content Strategy, SAP @BrennerMichael @CarlaJohnson
  23. 23. 3 @CarlaJohnson THE GOOD
  24. 24. SALES REPS ARE LIKE CUSTOMERS • If it’s hard, they won’t engage • They want to know what matters to them • They need education • They connect through stories • They need consistent, relevant communication @CarlaJohnson
  25. 25. Product Marketing Give ‘em everything @CarlaJohnson Marketing Only the important stuff Sales Reps No time. No attention.
  26. 26. TALKING WITH SALES Sales teams are like customers. The problems they say they have aren’t the real problems. What questions do they really need answers to? Go 5 deep with “why?” @CarlaJohnson
  27. 27. WHO TO TALK TO 20% of an organizations’ sales people generate 60% (or up to 80%) of its revenue. Focus on the performers. This group can help identify top priorities. @CarlaJohnson
  28. 28. EXPLORE MOTIVATORS Identify what’s really motivating them. People who buy high-end bikes don’t want a better bike. They want to be a better cyclist. Create content that expands on these motives. @CarlaJohnson
  29. 29. BE WILLING TO LEARN • Your company’s specific sales process • How and when conversations evolve with prospects/customers • What kind of engagement communications sales prefers for them • What sections they want to tweak and edit within tools and why @CarlaJohnson
  30. 30. HELP SALES UNDERSTAND • Sales conversations are business conversations • What behavior do they want to influence? • What action do you want them to take? When? • The pillars of your story so they can tell it in their way and in different circumstances • What your brand story is and how to tell it consistently @CarlaJohnson
  31. 31. ASK SALES • What story do you tell? How can marketing and sales tell it more consistently? • Why does your audience have these interests and challenges? • How can you tell your story so it solves a future problem? • How can we create disruption in our customers’ minds? @CarlaJohnson
  32. 32. THE GOAL “Marketing absolutely hit the mark. I feel like they now know the customer as well as we do.” @CarlaJohnson
  33. 33. People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou
  34. 34. Carla Johnson, President Type A Communications (720) 344-0987 Type A Communications @carlajohnson Carla Johnson