According to an article published in the American Marketing Association, an estimated 60% - 70% of marketing content created goes unused by sales people. Sounds crazy right? Well, there are some even crazier stats. Like the one from Corporate Visions, whose research suggests that this figure could be as high as 90%.
In Forrester's latest 'State of Marketing Content Spending' brief, it is estimated that in the US, marketers spent around $10 billion in 2016 on content alone. If the research is right and we do the math, that means that between $6 - $9 billion worth of content went to waste. This is a truly staggering figure, and represents a huge missed opportunity, particularly when considering all the benefits of content marketing and that content marketing is being hailed as the wave of the future.
Stats presented by the Content Marketing Institute indicate that content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, generates more than three times as many leads, drives higher conversion rates, and research shows that content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders.
While content marketing and content are not really the same thing, and we don't want to give the impression we're comparing apples and oranges - I think many will agree that great content created for the purposes of content marketing, can and should be used by employees, like sales people, to support their customer engagements.
So why does so much content go unused? Here are five of the top reasons, and how Qorus can help fix it.
1. Misalignment between marketing and sales teams
There's often a disconnect between marketing and sales teams, particularly when sales teams are not included in conversations around content strategy and creation. Sales are on the front line. They speak with customers every day. They know what questions get asked, what the most common objections are, and can provide valuable feedback on what messaging resonates best with their prospects. And yet, sales are too often not part of the conversation when marketing decides on the content they'll be producing for the sales team to use.
So how do we fix this? By encouraging the right conversations with the right people.
Qorus can help sales and marketing to have more meaningful conversations by providing insights into how content is actually being used, and the effectiveness of the current content strategy. In the Qorus Management Portal dashboards, see which content items are the most popular, where they are being used, and the search terms that were used to locate them.
Qorus also provides access to an OData Feed that can be connected to analytics tools like Power BI for more in-depth analysis, allowing teams to slice and dice detailed content usage data in ways that make sense to the business. For example, teams can easily get a view of which content is actually being used in Office 365 with Qorus, and compare that with the arsenal of content that's been created and is currently managed. Armed with the right information, sales and marketing can have more meaningful conversations around content strategy, and align it with the way content is being used in practice.
2. Formats that are hard to re-use
While White papers, Infographics and Data Sheets are great and certainly have a big role to play in both sales and marketing, that's not the only kind of content that sales teams need. Often its a matter of providing answers to a prospect's question, and while a boilerplate answer could potentially be extracted from one of these larger documents - let's face it, it can be frustrating and time consuming to have to scour through pages and pages of a lengthy document to locate the bit that's needed. So many don't do it at all, and instead choose to re-invent the wheel and write up the answer from scratch.
The answer to this problem is to shape content with re-use in mind. Taking lengthy documents, and breaking them up into smaller genericized parts would allow sales to firstly, more easily find what they need, and secondly, to be able to re-use that content exactly as it is.
With Qorus, SharePoint Online list items, text files, Word documents and images can be inserted into emails, presentations and documents with one click. If the content is already in the right shape for re-use, then it makes it really easy for sales teams to leverage the content marketing is creating. And there's also nothing preventing inserted content from being personalized to suit the customer after it's been inserted.
3. More content to manage means more work
Usually, having more content, means more files to mange and maintain. But with Qorus, that's not the case. The Qorus Clip and Refresh can be used to grow re-usable content, while keeping content inside documents, in sync with content stored in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online.
This means that marketing can for example create and manage just one master document about a particular topic, that contains all the snippets and answers that sales needs. Using the Qorus Clip, the snippets and answers can be saved to a shared location as brand new and individual documents, that are readily re-usable by sales and can be inserted as is into emails, documents, and presentations.
Marketing can update the master document at any time, and then push those changes to the individual snippet and answer documents. There's no need to go into each and every small doc created for re-use, and update them individually. Sales also get the updates as they are pushed, and can even choose to update documents they've created and that contain those snippets and answers, with the latest content versions in the cloud thanks to the Qorus Document Builder Add-in for Word.
4. People don't know about your content, or can't find it
Sales people spend an estimated 40% of their time looking for content, or attempting to re-create what they need because they can't find it, according to the CMO council.
The fact is that people don't know what they don't know. Too often marketing doesn't communicate effectively with sales, or sales is simply too busy to give marketing team email updates the attention they deserve.
With Qorus, marketing teams can help sales people discover content by creating useful keywords that are relevant to the kind of content they are producing. Sales people don't even have to enter a search term, they can simply pick one or more keywords and explore the search results. And for sales people who are well aware of the content that marketing has created and made available, keywords are only going to help them get to what they need that much faster.
5. Bad habits
For a lot of people, it's just so much easier to download that file from a marketing folder somewhere, stick on the desktop, and then keep on using that local copy over and over again. They don't need to open a browser, or remember in which file share or team site it's stored, or run a search to go find it.
And we get that. The problem though is that there's a real risk of outdated content making its way to prospective customers, and depending on what it is, it can cause a little embarrassment, or some more serious issues down the line. And also the latest and greatest marketing content can go completely unused, because sales people are used to the old documents and have those saved locally, and won't bother themselves with getting the newer content.
For all those reasons, we added Favorites to Qorus towards the end of last year. With favorites, it's possible for people to pin the top 10 most useful content items to the Qorus Add-ins for Office 365, so those files are right there, when they are needed. And then for those who use more advanced searches to pinpoint the files they need in a large repository, searches can be saved as well, so that the next time they are run, there's no need to enter a search term, pick keywords, target a location, or select file types. Saved searches can be run with just one click and will always return the latest content matching the search criteria.