Seismic study shows only 29 per cent of B2B firms can measure influence of content assets on sales

Seismic sales enablement 2019
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Brands often cite the importance of content in driving sales, but less than 30 per cent of B2B firms are tracking which marketing assets influenced the close of deal, according to a survey commissioned by Seismic.

According to the firm’s State of Sales Enablement 2019, which was conducted for Seismic by Forrester Consulting and based on a responses of more than 380 decision-makers, only 31 per cent are tracking the viewing times of their assets. In fact, more time is spent looking at the internal consumption of assets, at 57 per cent, compared with consumption by third parties such as customers or prospects, at barely more than half, or 52 per cent.

Perhaps worse, 70 per cent of those surveyed said marketers spend too much time “policing” the use of content by sales teams and making sure they comply with brand guidelines or other regulations.

“Rather than focusing on selling or other high-value activities, sellers spend an inordinate amount of time searching for, customizing, or recreating assets for specific interactions,” the report said. “The combined sales and marketing inefficiencies ultimately lead to poor customer experience; prospective buyers may receive delayed responses to inquiries or out-of-date or inaccurate information.”

The inefficiencies include how sales assets are managed, with nearly three quarters, or 74 per cent, indicating they reside in disparate locations. Of course, as a provider of sales enablement software Seismic has a vested interest in the research results, but the data correlates with other recent studies about content and its use by B2B brands. Just as Uberflip and Heinz Marketing recently published a survey that suggested most firms are struggling with personalization efforts, only one in five organizations told Forrester Consulting they could effectively personalize content at scale.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review hinted at how organizations can not only improve sales enablement with software but the nature of how content should be customized to buyers.

“In an early meeting with a senior buyer or influencer, it’s typically important to demonstrate that you can articulate how your product relates to key trends, opportunities, challenges, or evolving best practices in that market,” the authors write, noting that things change later in the cycle. “In many service, software, and professional services categories, ROI is inherently ‘experiential value’— that is, the buyer doesn’t really know the nature or magnitude of the value until they experience it in post-sale usage. At this stage, they want to know how you’ll follow through at the implementation stage.”

This, of course, requires more brands achieve the long-sought alignment between those creating and using content to drive revenue. At the moment, 67 per cent told Forrester Consulting that their marketing and sales teams remain siloed.

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Shane Schick
Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.