The Key to Getting Sellers to Use Marketing Content
It’s a tale as old as time.
Marketing creates content.
Sales ignores the content.
Sales reps create their own content, which is slightly incorrect or off message.
Sales is annoyed, while marketing is frustrated—maybe even a little sad.
Leaders from both sides say this must stop. “Everyone get on the same page on this,” they say.
The two sides try collaborating, but the problem persists.
Even the best companies fall into this unproductive cycle.
“It’s a common problem: The marketing team creates content for sales, but sellers don’t use it. Companies in this uncertain economy cannot afford to waste time, money, and effort this way,” said Mark Magnacca, president and co-founder of Allego.
Allego and B2B DecisionLabs wanted to find out how to solve this problem. They conducted two real-world behavioral studies to learn what increases sellers’ willingness to use a new piece of marketing collateral. And they found that who shares the content with sellers affects their likelihood of using it.
Yes, in this case, the messenger is to blame.
What Motivates Sellers to Use Marketing Content
The research, published in the report Getting Sellers Engaged: What Motivates Sellers to Use Your Content, found sellers are 111% more likely to use marketing-created content if it’s recommended by a high-performing peer.
The field trials observed the behavior of over 300 novice and experienced sellers working at two enterprise sales organizations.
Sellers split into nine groups and watched a recorded video of a sales manager, a product marketer, or a high-performing seller introducing a new piece of marketing collateral. Each group watched one of three different presenters share the content using one of three different story methods. Every presenter followed the same scripts and used the same piece of content.
The data revealed:
- Using a high-performing seller to present new collateral increased the likelihood of use by 61% over a similar presentation made by the product specialist.
- Presenting new content with a case study or a demonstration increased likelihood of use by roughly 30% over basic information alone.
- When a high-performing seller presented new collateral with a demonstration, the likelihood of use increased by 111% over the least effective combination, which was a product specialist presenting only basic information.
- Asking reps to create a plan for how they would use new collateral in their sales motions drove a 98% increase in likelihood of use over the control, which was not asking the reps to do any learning activity.
“The data is clear. And while the results might seem obvious, I’m not sure this approach has been common practice,” said Tim Riesterer, Chief Visionary at B2B DecisionLabs. “But now that you know there’s a significantly better way to increase content usage, it would be malpractice not to do it.”
Get the Report:
In the report, researchers identified three steps to getting sellers to use marketing-created sales content.
3 Steps to Persuade Sellers to Use Marketing Content
1. Recruit a High-Performing Seller to Share the Content
Cultivate a culture of collaboration and find a high-performing champion from each sales team (regional managers, enterprise reps, mid-market, account managers, or however your company organizes your sales force). Invite them to be the voice of sales and give feedback to marketing.
Each month meet with the group, share your content ideas, and get feedback from your sales champions. Then when it comes time to share content with the sales teams, your champions can present the new content to them.
2. Demonstrate How to Use the Content in a Buyer Conversation
The data shows it isn’t enough to present just the basic details. Sellers want to hear and see how to use the content in a buyer conversation. So, ask your sales champions to do a role-play demonstration.
“Sellers trust the example more when it’s demonstrated by a colleague who they know has been successful—not an executive or product manager,” the report stated.
3. Help Sellers Think About Their Plan for Using the Content
After the presentation, avoid asking sellers to analyze the presentation. That’s because it “might put sellers in a negative state of mind, decreasing their willingness to use the content,” the researchers reported.
Instead, ask sellers to think about their personal plan for using the content. Ask high-performing sellers questions such as:
- How and when would I use this content?
- How would I adjust the content to fit my buyers’ needs?
And ask newer and lower-performing sales reps what they would lose by not using the content, as the research shows they are more motivated by loss aversion.
“Participants who were asked what they might lose by not using the collateral were significantly more likely to use the content than if they were asked what they might gain,” the researchers said in the report. “This is consistent with a Decision Science concept known as Loss Aversion, which refers to the idea that losses loom larger (psychologically speaking) than gains.”
Organize, Manage, and Track Sales and Marketing Content
After sales and marketing content has been created, you need a place to store that content, organize it, make it easy for sellers to locate, and track its usage. It’s important, therefore, that you have a comprehensive sales content management platform that:
- Facilitates every critical sales enablement initiative, including learning and content
- Allows you to dynamically deliver content to sales reps in the flow of their work and in the tools they use, such as the CRM
- Helps marketers activate their content, providing context on how and when to use the content
- Allows sellers to provide feedback on content and to collaborate with content creators
- Lets sellers easily access content via their phone or tablet, as well as via their laptop or desktop computer
- Monitors and tracks sellers’ use of content
“The research shows that a comprehensive sales content management platform that is able to generate and manage relevant field-generated and top-performer content, support peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, and offer content in context is a powerful option for B2B sales organizations,” Magnacca said.
Get the Research Report:
Download Getting Sellers Engaged: What Motivates Sellers to Use Your Content to access all of the research data.