Marketing Content for Sales: The Controversial Figures
If there’s one challenge that has persisted through the major evolutions in Sales and Marketing practices over the last decade, it’s the alignment between salespeople and marketers. Let’s revisit a dichotomy that comes at a high cost…
1- Le désalignement alimente l’éviction du commercial du parcours d’achat B2B
Salespeople and marketers have historically operated in silos, with more or less unfortunate consequences. However, in the face of the emergence of a B2B super-buyer persona that is more demanding, autonomous, and better informed, the impact of misalignment is exacerbated.
Because they don’t have the content they need to convince well-informed prospects, salespeople struggle to establish themselves in the buying journey. As HubSpot explains, a good half (55%) of B2B buyers do not consider salespeople as trusted partners. Meanwhile, Forrester reports that 68% of buyers make their decision before even engaging with a salesperson, sometimes relegating the latter to a negotiator or a ‘quote maker’ role.
2- Content Misalignment… The Controversial Figures
The content aspect is arguably the most eloquent illustration of the misalignment between Sales and Marketing, supported by figures:
- According to Sirius Decision, 65% of the content produced by marketing is never used by salespeople. A Forrester study supports this and explains that 60% of content is used less than 10 times by each salesperson throughout its lifespan.
- According to a Seismic study, salespeople spend an average of around 30 hours searching for relevant content to support their sales arguments. It’s not surprising, then, that 65% of sales leaders lament the time their salespeople spend “on tasks unrelated to sales” (SalesFunnel study as reported by Forbes).
- A DataDwell study estimates that 28% of the content produced by marketing is not accessible to salespeople. The culprits include an outdated storage system, the proliferation of directories, poor access rights management, files with generic or unintelligible names, and more. In fact, 81% of sales leaders believe that content search and usage represent “the main areas for improvement for their teams” (Spotio study).
This structural mismatch between marketing-produced content and the actual needs of salespeople leads to a cascade of consequences:
- Dramatic drop in content marketing ROI, with a direct loss on produced but never used content;
- Substantial increase in customer acquisition cost;
- A brand image is undermined by the performance of salespeople in meetings. ‘Under-equipped and poorly supplied with content, B2B salespeople are unable to answer more than 40% of buyers’ questions about the products being marketed, as stated in a study by Allego.
Forbes has attempted to quantify the financial impact of misalignment… and the estimate is staggering. In the United States, companies spend $68,352 per year per salesperson on tasks unrelated to sales, such as research or content creation. Investing in Content Marketing with misaligned teams ultimately leads to a direct loss and fuels friction between Sales and Marketing.
3- Sales Enablement… a Beginning of a Solution?
The enthusiasm surrounding the concept of Sales Enablement undoubtedly reflects a growing awareness among B2B decision-makers regarding the impact of misalignment on their competitiveness. Once again, the numbers are intriguing:
- The adoption rate of Sales Enablement tools has surged by 343% in the last 5 years (HighSpot);
- The average volume of the query ‘Sales Enablement’ on Google increases by an average of 51.2% every year (Google).
The results also seem to be there. For instance, HubSpot explains that 65% of Sales Leaders who exceed their sales targets have at least one person responsible for Sales Enablement. In a more pragmatic sense, Sales Enablement streamlines the creation and use of marketing content by Sales:
- Integration of salespeople into the content creation process. After all, it’s the salespeople who have direct contact with the audience. By incorporating their valuable feedback, marketers can produce content that can stand up to real-world challenges and garner the support of sales teams.
- Content creation becomes iterative in a continuous improvement approach.
- On the technological front, Sales Enablement equips salespeople with all-in-one platforms that facilitate content search (powerful filters aligned with industry-specific needs), access to sales materials (including offline), and presentation during meetings (building an ultra-personalized journey in just a few clicks).
- Sales Enablement provides sales leaders with native KPIs on Sales-Marketing alignment to identify discrepancies and take necessary corrective actions.
The players in Sales Enablement are competing ingeniously to meet the expectations of B2B sales leaders. Platforms have gradually gained ‘depth’ with modules for coaching, training, storytelling, conversational marketing (Live Chat), and video conferencing to support the hybridization (in-person – remote) of the sales function.
In the face of the B2B super-buyer, Sales and Marketing alignment is no longer a competitive advantage that allows one to shine… but simply a factor for survival.