There are so many ways to tell your company’s story through your customers. And the stories are out there along with customers willing to tell them in one form or another. But companies continue to struggle when it comes to getting those captured stories—customer content—into buyers’ hands.
The Case for Customer Content
According to a recent trend report from the Content Marketing Institute, 85% of B2B organizations attribute their success to content marketing. Customer-based content, such as a case study or video testimonial, serves to validate that a product or service works as advertised and addresses the prospect’s business need. In fact, the Second Annual State of Sales report from Salesforce.com notes that 57% of survey respondents listed high-quality content as an important sales driver.
In a recent study by research firm Televerde, More customer content was the fourth highest response from B2B salespeople to the question, What can Marketing do to help you win more deals?
#1 Better Messaging
#2 More Qualified Leads
#3 Better Marketing materials
#4 More Case Studies and Testimonials
A solid benefit of written or recorded content is that it multiplies the customer’s investment in telling their story. A customer can provide an interview for a video or case study illustrating their success with the potential for it to be used over and over again without additional time commitment. Preventing overuse of your VIP customers helps ensures you can still tap them for one-on-one calls or site visits when they’re needed to seal deals.
Barriers to ROI
So where do you tell your Sales and Marketing to find content? Most likely the answer is not simple. The content is likely scattered between the company website, Dropbox folders, intranet drives, etc. Further they probably aren’t tagged in a way that supports the kinds of searches commonly used to support specific opportunities and marketing campaigns. Your internal content consumers don’t have the time or inclination to rummage around for the perfect story or piece of content. They need a sophisticated yet simple-to-use way to search and share customer content capability built right into the CRM solution they already use. The right application puts the right content at the right time just a few clicks away.
A purpose-built application for storing, categorizing, sharing and measuring content impact on opportunities is a huge advantage for people who leverage it (and those who develop content). By efficiently locating the most salient customer content to address a prospect’s concerns at any given point in the sales cycle, salespeople can optimize their time and move prospects forward. Content helps build a context for buyers of how your customers use your solution and the types of business problems that were solved. Setting the stage with customer content means that live calls that occur later in the sales process are more informed and useful.
When selecting the right application to enable your content curation and sharing capability, keep these two things in mind:
- You should have a single, centralized “library” where all content is stored and accessed. A single, easily accessible repository for all your content is non-negotiable. Without it, you and your users will never know if you have the most appropriate or current content available. A central location also makes it easier to identify gaps in your content collection. We believe strongly in using your CRM solution as that central location since all CRM users then have access. For Sales the most relevant content should be surfaced and recommended right on the opportunity page.
- You must have the ability to track the use of your content and tie that use to sales outcomes. If you are not able to track content usage back to an opportunity, then all the money and effort exerted to create the content cannot be justified to CxOs. Gone are the days when marketing was judged by the quantity of collateral it produced alone. You also need to know if your content is contributing to revenue and what specific content is resonating in the market so you can produce more of it.
For a more detailed example of using a purpose-built application for content management, take a look at our Elastic success story.