Sales Content Challenges #2

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This is the second article in our series about the value and challenges of producing the type of sales content that motivates customers to buy, drives cross-selling and provides salespeople with the type of content they need to be more productive and effective.

I want to thank my friend Michael Cannon of the Silver Bullet Group ( for his research findings listed here:

“Online technology vendor marketing information is relevant to potential buyers ‘less than half the time,’ according to a survey of nearly 400 information technology buyers conducted by International Data Group. The online survey found that an average of six technology, business, and financial professionals are involved in major technology purchases, and that each has their own preference about content and how it is displayed online. The respondents said that they found ‘relevant’ content only 42% of the time. The survey found that lack of relevancy in vendor marketing content reduced the vendor’s chance of closing a sale by 45%.”

IT Buyer Survey, International Data Group, December 2008

“As Joe Galvin of the Gartner Group told me: ‘Marketing needs to provide meaningful content that is tied to specific people at the different stages of the selling process. Salespeople need flexible and dynamic content to meet the challenges of different selling situations. This allows companies to really make their salespeople powerful.’”

Escaping the Black Hole (2005) by Robert J. Schmonsees

“More than 75 percent of marketing executives believe they are doing a poor job of managing marketing and sales messages and content.”

Bill Glazier, Making Marketing Messaging Meaningful, published by the CMO Council (Palo Alto, CA: June 3, 2004)

Some 80 to 90 percent of marketing collateral is considered useless by Sales.”

Proceedings of the Customer Message Management Forums, published by the American Marketing Association and Ventaso (2002 and 2003)

Salespeople typically spend 30 to 50 hours per month searching for information and re-creating customer-facing content.”

I want to thank Michael again for providing this quality research and information.


While marketing has changed a lot in recent decades, one thing hasn’t: A huge part of the job revolves around the creation of new content, from sales collateral and customer presentations to product demos, white papers, websites and advertising.

Here’s another thing that hasn’t changed much: the way that content is produced. When it comes to developing new assets, marketers are still using the same tools and methods they relied on ten, twenty, even thirty years ago. Planning is done through emails, meetings and phone calls. Content is created using desktop applications like Word and PowerPoint.

When it’s time to review, it’s back to emails, meetings and phone calls. Maybe there’s a content management system or basic collaboration tool like Google Docs in the mix, but that’s as modern as it gets.

But though the methods haven’t evolved, the expectations have. Marketers are being asked to produce more kinds of content for more communication channels and more kinds of audiences at a faster clip than ever, often under tighter budget pressures. In other words, marketing organizations are trying to meet 21st-century demands with 20th-century technology. The pain is evident:

• Review cycles are a tangle of crossed signals, out-of-sync drafts and disconnects.

• Collateral is often late to the game, released just as the market and competitors have moved on.

• Critical stakeholders are often left out of the process.

• Quality and relevance suffer. According to Corporate Visions’ Q2 Sales and Marketing Messaging Report, 65% of respondents said their sales teams use less than half of the content their marketing department produces.

• Costs are too high, eating into budgets that could be used for other projects.” Excerpt from Jive Software Inc. Best Practices document 2013 (

According to Stephen Diorio, ( “Despite these symptoms, most sales and marketing executives don’t realize that they have a content problem.” My hope, in producing these articles, is to change that realization and hopefully make those sales and marketing executives who read these articles more aware that this is a problem and then actually do something to fix it.  At least that’s the way I see it, what say you?

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