If Content Is King, Why Is Sales Complaining?

Written byGerald Vanderpuye

June 14, 2017

or…. 7 signs Product Marketing has a content management problem

Today most companies rave on about how content is king, so they create more and more content. A typical technology company with 20+ sales reps will have 100-1000 sales content assets.  A staggering amount, but how much gets used?

We researched how much content the average sales rep uses and discovered it is more like 15-25: this is backed up by research done by Serious Decision who claim only 30% of sales content created by product marketing is actually used by sales. Does this sound familiar, do you have large amounts of redundant content assets?

Here are signs to look out for to see if you have a content management and content utilisation problem.

Do you hear this from your sales team? 

  1. “You never sent us that content” – The sales reps are always complaining they never saw content you create even though you sent it to the entire sales force. It’s added to Sharepoint, K-drive, Cloud storage solution and the despised 15 year old Intranet you wish someone deleted, but still sales reps claim to not have received it.
  2. “I can’t find anything in this folder” – Your cloud storage solution has a folder structure that would make sense if its purpose was for a game of Hide-and-Seek . The company is regularly organising, reorganising and managing but it only seems to get worse.
  3. “We need more content” – The sales reps are complaining they need more content. Really! Have they even seen all the content your team created last half? Can you measure that?
  4. “Where do I find more information on that product” – The fact that reps are asking this question suggest they know this content exist but they can’t find it. If this is happening regularly, it is more likely the reps do not know what and where to search for but the search functionality is stuck in the dark ages. If they don’t know the name of the content asset and that’s the only way to search for it, it’s no wonder they can’t find anything.

What about your Product Marketing team? Do you hear…

  1. “You’re using out-of-date content!” – Sales reps are attached to the same material and are regularly use sales content they’ve saved locally on their computers and personal folders. It’s easier to share the content locally because they know where it is. Unless, they get something out of it. When reps get analytics on every content shared they will love your new content repository and only use that one, but they need meaningful incentives to become converts.
  2. “You never tell us what you need!” – There is rarely input from sales on what content is lacking. This results in what sales reps call “Shadow content”: content created by sales engineers or the reps themselves. This can usually provide great insight into what the reps need. The solution is to use an intelligent content management tool that highlights all shadow content and tells you what content is engaging end users. Then your Product Marketing team can create up-to-date branded content that does the job.
  3. “We don’t know which content is King.” – What is your most engaging content? Can you list which content has made the biggest impact on sales allowing you to build an ROI for leadership? This is the Holy Grail of the Product Marketing team, and the Sales team should also be searching for it too.

Sales and product marketing are not on the same page. The challenge of helping the reps find the right content at the right time is real, yet very often Product Marketing is in the dark and doesn’t know how their content being utilised.

What’s needed is a joined up approach to content management that incentivises sales to use the system and gives Product Marketing the insights they need.

At least that’s what I think, I would really to hear your thoughts on this subject. Please let me know what you think of this article, your experience of product marketing content, and any solutions you’ve found to this perpetual problem.

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