content-marketingIt’s a common problem for B2B organizations everywhere. The marketing team may create and curate some amazing content that’s great for customers and prospects alike, the but the customer-facing teams – and sales in particular – aren’t doing much to directly share that great content with their own contacts.

And yet, the biggest opportunity to drive leverage and pipeline movement from those content assets likely come less from your outbound marketing campaigns and more by direct sharing from the people who have direct relationships with your leads and opportunities.

Last month I had the pleasure of participating in a great content marketing event held by Kapost and LeadMD, featuring a full afternoon of fantastic how-to presentations on creating and marketing customer-centric content. My session at the end of the day focused on what all that great content means for sales, and specifically how to drive greater participation and usage of that content across the sales floor.

Below are the five keys we outlined as critical to driving sales participation and distribution.

1. How does your content help them make money?
Every good salesperson I know prioritizes their day and week based on one thing – their commission check. Whether or not they follow up with your leads, whether or not they follow your CRM rules, it’s all based on what they believe will help them make money. So when you ask the sales team to send our your content to their networks, their first reaction might be that you’re not paying them to be your marketing channel.

But if you help them understand how content distribution can drive greater efficiency, velocity and conversion rates from their leads & pipelines, they’ll likely start paying more attention and following your lead.

2. Get sales leadership to buy in first
That value translation for the sales team needs to come not just from you, but from sales leadership as well. If they’re not bought in, as soon as you leave the training room, the managers and VPs won’t help reinforce its value or execution. But if they too understand how that content can help them make their number, you’ll have more help reinforcing execution.

3. Show examples of how it works
When you first train the sales team, start and end with examples of how content distribution results in closed business. You may not have those examples from internal instances at first, but eventually your early adopters will have those stories. And when they do, make a habit of showcasing them to the rest of the sales team as proof of concept that this work can drive material pipeline contribution and conversion.

4. Teach, train, launch, reinforce, measure and celebrate

This doesn’t work if it’s just a 20-30 minute presentation at the next sales meeting. It needs consistent reinforcement, practice and a true campaign approach to increase penetration & participation. Measure its value as best as you can, and celebrate the success stories. These two focus areas alone will help increase perceived value enormously.

5. Create systems to make it easy
Tools such as GaggleAMP make it really easy for the sales team to share content with a single click, plus you get metrics on how far and wide your content travels. Tools such as PaperShare can also leverage natural channels such as your employees, partners and even channel sales teams/partners to distribute your great content. Or, you can do it like Concur does it – a simple email every Friday to the sales team with link and content sharing recommendations. No matter how you do it, create a system to drive consistent, repeatable content sharing and leverage.

Would love to hear examples or success stories from others who are successfully driving content marketing results via your sales teams.