The shift toward revenue as a marketing objective has been happening for years. Being responsible for only leads leaves zero incentive for making sure they are high quality. Businesses have started to realize this and continue to move the goal line from leads to qualified leads to qualified accounts and eventually revenue.
So if marketing is going to share a revenue goal with sales, it is now of the utmost importance that marketing do what it can to help sales close those qualified accounts. Unfortunately, this is the biggest gap in content marketing responsibility and output. This may fall to product marketing or even a dedicated sales enablement team. But most organizations don’t have those extra resources and content marketers need to step up.
What does sales really need?
Most qualified leads/accounts fizzle in the sales cycle because your solution appears to them as a nice-to-have versus a must-have. What sales needs is help to determine compelling reasons to buy that drive budget allocation. Then they need corresponding content to help drive those initiatives.
The mismatch for doing this is that marketing tends to create content for big picture problems and solutions. While sales is selling to resolve specific pains. Sales need content to help them hone in on that specific issue that you might only list as a bullet point in your mega solution sheet.
Get together with sales and create a list with them of the specific pains and use cases that drive budget. Keep in mind, if it is a benefit that users loves, but it doesn’t drive a purchase then it doesn’t deserve to be the centerpiece of any content for sales.
For each specific pain that drives budget, create the following:
- A solution sheet around this pain/solution
- A case study demonstrating the use case and value
- If possible, a webinar containing the above information
- As needed, an implementation sheet that addresses specifics relative to this use case
Once you have this content nailed down, go back and revise the sales presentation to better address these budget-driving pains.
Work with sales to talk through the stages of the sales cycle and what content they need to help prospects confidently advance through the stages. Good content truly can help more prospects become customers and make it happen faster.
Why content marketing is the best fit to pick up the gauntlet
Hopefully product management/marketing is working on battle cards and product sheets, but the type of content described above is best suited for content marketing. You understand who the target audience is and their pains. You understand how to create and deliver compelling content. And hopefully, you already have a relationship with sales (if not, this is a great excuse to develop one!).
But the best reason for content marketing to get involved in sales enablement is that it will help you be better content marketers. The closer that content marketers get to the sales process, the more you understand what is triggering interest and purchase — which allows you to better hone your demand generation messaging. It’s a win-win for sales and marketing!
The end of the year sales enablement challenge
As your budget begins to dwindle toward the end of your fiscal year, I challenge you to keep up the pace and focus your efforts towards sales enablement. Throw your preconceived notions about the benefits of your solution out the window and talk to sales about what is actually driving purchases. I promise your efforts will improve sales and improve future demand generation too!