Effective Content is Critical for 21st Century B2B Selling
In 2021, B2B salespeople need effective content to enable them to sell.
They need it more than ever as their selling process becomes longer and more complex.
They need to demonstrate to a buyer/s who, is researching more and more through the buying process, that they are credible in terms of their product/service offering and as individual sellers.
While conversations are the foundation of professional B2B selling, complex and important information must be supported by content.
Machine learning is now driving more precise prospecting than can only be truly served through marketing automation.
Prospecting automation needs content. And lots of it. And it must be personalised and precise to serve the needs of the savvy b2b buyer.
Sales content is also needed in volume…. particularly if you have sales teams of 15/30/50/100+.
This rising demand for content is therefore starting to create interesting debate amongst sales and marketing leaders:
- Who is responsible for its creation? – Marketing OR Sales OR Both
- How do we restructure to accommodate it?
- Where do we find such sales driven content creators?
Should Marketing Own Sales Content?
It may seem like an obvious answer to some. B2B Marketers have been the originators of content production for years.
So why change?
Well, it’s probably worth asking some questions about the effectiveness of your content in the sales arena.
Marketing people know how to create marketing content. Most marketers believe the content they create is sufficient for salespeople.
But content in the B2B sales process goes beyond that being generated by marketing teams to raise brand or product awareness.
Sales FTE need content which goes into further detail about a particular circumstance, product scenario, customer type or industry.
And continuous content creation is no mean feat. It needs real focus and resource.
Do sales structures need to accommodate an increased content function?
The new sales content creator needs to be close enough to the sales process to add a different layer of content a marketing-based team maybe too distant from.
Sales teams undoubtedly know more about their audience than anyone. Equally salespeople are often not trained marketeers or content generators.
So given everything we have mentioned above, how do b2b organisations start to break the back of this?
We believe (as we already seeing with our clients) the future B2B sales structure will start to shift 25% or more of its current FTE into dedicated content creation roles.
These roles will have some kind of dotted line into a marketing function but retain a sole 100% focus on the sales, nurture and prospecting process.
Different parts of the sales structure, for example, key account sales teams, may indeed need 100% dedicated content creators solely to support their highly complex sales process.
Other parts of the sales structure may simply need more generic sales content but plenty of it.
This all then sounds great in principle, but perhaps the biggest question remains unanswered…. how and where do you find content creators at such pace and volume?
To find more Sales Content Creators…. You WILL need to think differently.
Your obvious starting point would of course be – graduates – marketing, content writing grads. But let us remember what we have talked about…
It is not necessarily marketing mindsets you need to understand and produce marketing content.
Nor do graduates have the timed served sales / business experience to produce content that can aid the complex sales process many b2b organisations operate in.
And with the marketing job market starting to really open up again you may find that demand soon outweighs supply for true marketing content specialists.
So B2B organisations are going to need to start thinking differently about how they resource the B2B Sales Content Creator role.
So, here is some ideas based on what we are already seeing with some of our clients:
- Re- Train existing sales FTE – produce capability assessments which inform you which of your existing sales FTE have the raw DNA to become effective content creators…after all they already know your business and the industry.
- Share your strategy and justification with your Sales Team and not only get their buy-in but understand which of them could be interested in a new role. You never know until you ask.
- Do not be afraid to put some commission behind it…if your redeploying existing sales FTE into content creators – not doing this could be the key blocker. They need to remain part of the SALES team and need rewarding with it.
- Explore new sources of talent – The pandemic has shifted the career paths of out of work musicians, actors, thespians. Talent which is creatively minded and fast learning.
- Outsource: B2B content creation agencies are emerging thick and fast. But be very careful…
…Make sure you choose one who can really demonstrate they understand your industry and your requirement.
Marketing agencies by trade are marketeers and often neglect the less glamourous bottom end of the funnel we are discussing here.
All and all there is a hell of lot to consider and plan for if your business is going to drive forward its Sales Content Creation plan at pace.
Ampli is supporting several of its clients with exactly that right now, so if you want to discuss 21st century sales strategy and implementation get in touch today for a no obligation chat.