SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo, Dana Gardner

Blog Feed Post

Treat Your Content with More Respect

Data from IDG Connect shows how important content is to sales

This morning I attended a webinar by IDC and IDG Connect, 2012 Sales Enablement Strategy: Content is King so Why Does Sales Feel Like a Jester?. Yep, it was the subtitle that got me!

To set the stage, we need to understand what buyers are doing while they're buying. Many of you have probably heard the rumor that salespeople are being limited in their participation during the buying experience. According to this data from IDG Connect, it's true.

Take a look at how buyers say they spend their time during their buying process:

  • 23% in discussions with colleagues
  • 21% with sales team interaction
  • 19% searching the web
  • 19% with educational content
  • 18% reviewing promotional content

Have you noticed where they spend the most time? Time spent with content or searching for it comprises 56% of the buying experience.

Unfortunately, when IDG asked buyers what was lacking with the content that salespeople provided to them, their responses reflect that not a lot of respect is being paid to content by those who produce it.

Buyers top complaints about content include:

  • 33% say there's too much content that's not useful
  • 29% say content is not relevant
  • 24% say content does not meet the needs of all the people involved in the decision
  • 23% say there's not enough educational content

Other observations included content that was too long, too much text and not enough video or audio, and their inability to easily share content with others. In the age of social media, that's hard to believe.

The kicker is that only 7% of buyers said that nothing was lacking in the content sales provided to them.

There are some critical points to consider in regard to these responses. According to IDG, the number of indluencers in a purchase decision have increased by 20%. When they are brought into the deal, then come with their own questions and concerns. This halts forward momentum and they turn around and go back to find answers. (I refer to this as the step back stage of the buying process)

IDG Connect also shared that buyers say 7 pages is plenty for a vendor white paper, but that most white papers they review are still running 20 or so pages. Buyers say these take too much time and effort to read. This is not new information. Eccolo Media's B2B Technology Collateral Survey has been reporting this trend for the last few years. Apparently we're not paying attention.

Short is the new black and variety of content formats is growing in importance.

But the fact that 62% of buyers say that content is either not relevant or is not useful should be a huge wakeup call for marketers. This is - yet again - validation for using personas as the foundation for content strategies and development. We've got to know our buyers (all of them) if we're going to create content that engages them.

Buyers aren't the only one finding that content needs to be treated with more respect.

Salespeople say that only about 1/3 of the content that's available to them is useful in the pursuit of sales opportunities. But, wait, there's more at issue here that needs to be rectified.

When asked why they found shortcomings with available content, their responses included:

  • 41% say they don't know what to use, how to use it effectively or when to use it.
  • 30% said that it required customization before they could use it.

Additional comments included that it was in the wrong formats, hard to find or outdated.

This is akin to more "tossing stuff over the wall" from marketing to sales.

Here's the bright side of the research IDG Connect presented:

68% of buyers say their sales reps have become more important to them as a source of insight and guidance over the last three years in relation to other sources.

Buyers may be spending less time with them, but they're counting on them to filter through the clutter and noise they'd otherwise have to sift through on their own.

Marketers and sales support staff need to work more closely together and spend more time helping salespeople understand how to use content more effectively and when during the buying experience specific content is most beneficial.

Make sure to ask salespeople what types of content they use and how they use it. If that differs from buyer preferences, show them the proof and teach them how to use other forms of content to improve their effectiveness. Map content for sales and set them up to have the right conversations.

Apparently there's still a lot of work to be done. Just because marketing creates content and deploys it in marketing campaigns does not mean they're done. Tossing content to salespeople without context or as an afterthought is costing your company customers.

The real kicker - the majority of buyers that IDC surveyed said they want shorter buying cycles. But the lack of relevant information to educate them, and all other influencers, is slowing things down.

Think about it...

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

Latest Stories
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Inzata is a powerful, revolutionary data analytics platform for integrating, exploring, and analyzing data of any kind, from any source, at massive scale. Powerful AI-assisted Modeling and a patented analytics engine help users quickly load, blend and model raw and unstructured data into powerful enterprise data models, actionable real-time analytics and engaging visualizations. Go beyond spreadsheets and slides and compose a powerful narrative about how your business is performing, and how y...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
All in Mobile is a mobile app agency that helps enterprise companies and next generation startups build the future of digital. We offer mobile development and design for smartphones, tablets and wearables. Our projects cover the latest and most innovative technologies - voice assistants, AI, AR/VR and more. We excel at solutions for sports, fintech and retail industries.
Wasabi is the hot cloud storage company delivering low-cost, fast, and reliable cloud storage. Wasabi is 80% cheaper and 6x faster than Amazon S3, with 100% data immutability protection and no data egress fees. Created by Carbonite co-founders and cloud storage pioneers David Friend and Jeff Flowers, Wasabi is on a mission to commoditize the storage industry. Wasabi is a privately held company based in Boston, MA. Follow and connect with Wasabi on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the Wasabi blog...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO Silicon Valley 2019 will cover all of these tools, with the most comprehensive program and with 222 rockstar speakers throughout our industry presenting 22 Keynotes and General Sessions, 250 Breakout Sessions along 10 Tracks, as well as our signature Power Panels. Our Expo Floor will bring together the leading global 200 companies throughout the world of Cloud Computing, DevOps, IoT, Smart Cities, FinTech, Digital Transformation, and all they entail. As ...
Big Switch's mission is to disrupt the status quo of networking with order of magnitude improvements in network e ciency, intelligence and agility by delivering Next-Generation Data Center Networking. We enable data center transformation and accelerate business velocity by delivering a responsive, automated, and programmable software-dened networking (SDN) fabric-based networking solution. Traditionally, the network has been viewed as the barrier to data center transformation as legacy networkin...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throughout enterprises of all sizes. We are offering early bird savings...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous importa...
Updating DevOps to the latest production data slows down your development cycle. Probably it is due to slow, inefficient conventional data management practices to copy data between different developer and test environment. This problem doesn't scale as teams are adopting faster software release cycles. In this session, Dhiraj Sehgal in Product and Solution at Delphix, will talk about DevOps and cloud-focused strategies to update hundreds of developer and test copies with updates from a master...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereum.
Every organization is facing their own Digital Transformation as they attempt to stay ahead of the competition, or worse, just keep up. Each new opportunity, whether embracing machine learning, IoT, or a cloud migration, seems to bring new development, deployment, and management models. The results are more diverse and federated computing models than any time in our history. Unfortunately, there is no single deployment model that solves all of your business goals. You need to maintain the fl...