As much as we like to talk about smart sales and marketing alignment, it's no secret that tensions sometimes exist between the two departments.
These tensions often center around content creation.
Sales needs content yesterday. They need to get the right material to their prospects at just the right time. Deals are at stake!
Marketing, on the other hand, often cares more about following processes that ensure content quality and adherence to brand. Things need to be done right.
Clearly, both are important. The trick lies in balancing these two interests because the cost of an imbalance can be enormous and lead to frustration on both sides.
Either you'll end up with sales people creating rogue content on their own, or worse, the lack of timely content will cause prospects to lose interest in your offerings and shift their attention elsewhere.
Some interesting statistics bear out this dilemma. In a 2020 report, DemandGen found that two-thirds of buyers rely on content more now to inform their purchase decisions than they did the previous year.
Clearly, content is essential to the sales and marketing process. So how can your company create more of it faster without jeopardizing quality and brand guidelines? How can you eliminate the bottlenecks?
What Slows Down Content
Marketers know they need more content. They know their sales teams need more content. According to CSO Insights, 63 percent of B2B respondents reported a lack of sufficient content. The solution lies in getting content out the door faster. But why isn’t this happening?
One reason is that the process for generating content is just too onerous. Getting a piece done may require six distinct steps: generating the idea, approving the topic, writing the piece, getting approvals, designing the piece, and putting the content online. If each of these steps takes a week, you can quickly get an idea of how hard it is to generate multiple pieces of content that are all timely and informative!
With this type of delay — or marketing bottleneck — it is nearly impossible to capture the buyer’s attention with the right piece of content at just the right time. And by the time one particular piece is out the door another five may be lined up behind it. It’s a cycle that is doomed to repeat itself.
Applying some good common sense can solve a lot of problems and the content marketing bottleneck is one of them. If a single individual or group of individuals — let’s say marketing — is responsible for generating a piece of content, it’s bound to get bogged down. The key is to break down this linear process from six discrete steps into parallel tracks where everyone is working together to achieve a common goal.
Typically, marketing has primary ownership of marketing content and production. But it makes far more sense for these responsibilities to be shared among groups that also work with customers and understand their needs from unique perspectives. Instead of having just one person write content and then circulate it for approval, design and production, multiple people can be writing content and producing it themselves using the right software.
That’s what a good content platform provides — a reliable path toward multiplying the volume of content, essentially by distributing the burden. The logic for this approach is intuitive. The better your understanding of customer pain points and problems, the more likely you are to generate content that delivers a helpful solution.
By allocating content responsibility among various teams, you can more closely mirror the customer journey as prospects learn about your product and move further along their purchasing path. Different teams have different areas of expertise, all of which inform the potential buyer.
A salesperson might have the perfect white paper for explaining, say, the advantages of a particular software versus competitors’, while a customer support manager may be the best one to explain through video how to avoid a particular pitfall in using the product. At the same time these are being generated, perhaps the marketer is creating a customer success story that shows how one customer used the product to improve productivity. With all of these teams generating content separately, much more can be generated at a single time.
The Benefits of Letting Go
It’s human nature for the marketing team to want to retain control over an area as central to their function as content creation. A lot of what keeps the marketing team active and thriving is having their pulse on the news and developments that might be of interest to customers and prospects.
But ceding some control over the content generation process benefits everybody — if it’s done correctly using a good content platform. A series of templates and style guidelines, customized to reflect the company’s brand, can keep brand messaging intact.
Drag-and-drop editing can eliminate the need for professional graphic artists to make things look pretty. And advanced permission settings ensure that only designers can edit templates, while only publishers can put out a live piece.
Once you’ve blown through those pesky content marketing bottlenecks, think of all the other great things the right software will allow you to do. Foleon’s content experience platform helps you reach all the right milestones: more and better content, stronger analytics to track your results, integration with your entire martech stack, and the power to get your message heard.
By working together to solve the content bottleneck together, marketing and sales can solve one of the biggest roadblocks your prospects face in committing to your company. Your prospects will have the information they need to make informed decisions about their future. And with any luck, you’ll soon have another client name to add to your roster.