If you've been asked, "Can you send that content again?" then you know the frustration of having your marketing materials get lost in the shuffle. You continually create and provide great content and collateral—yet you are repeatedly asked for marketing materials that you've already shared with the team.

Consider this: You may have a distribution problem.

Think of your content as stored in a big warehouse. You've told the sales team that you have the content, but members can't find it when they need it or forget that it exists. (Remember that final scene in the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie where the treasure is being stored in a nondescript crate in a huge government storage facility? It probably will never be found again).

You may feel your valuable content is like that.

Usually, marketers get a lot of advice about content management strategies and centralizing the location of all your content, making sure everyone has access, etc. But the issue may not even be about where the content is kept or how it is organized.

What really matters is the delivery.

Imagine intelligent recommendations initiated and the ideal content delivered before a search even begins. Add in on-the-spot coaching and knowledge appropriate for the situation, and the content is not only used, but it also makes sales conversations come to life.

What You Can Learn From a Grocery Store

Just like a grocery store, you can manage your inventory of content and predict when salespeople will need a particular item. Stores have scanners to track purchases and automated inventory systems to prompt shipments of replacement stock just as the product runs low.

In B2B sales, we have automated customer management systems and sales-enablement applications that work in a similar way. As sales conversations are anticipated, content can be shipped to salespeople before they even ask for it. Predicting content needs is simply a fancy "just-in-time" inventory system. The salesperson doesn't even start looking for content since the automated system knew what to ship and when.

Just as grocery store employees no longer need to search a warehouse for a particular box of toothpaste, B2B sellers shouldn't have to search a content storehouse for what they need either.

Getting Stuck in Searches

Salespeople spent 31% of their time searching for content, according to a productivity study. Information is often buried in multiple content repositories in which salespeople won't (or shouldn't) spend time looking for the right content.

Most high-performing sales and marketing teams attack this content challenge with technology. Not only does a sales-enablement application cut down on unproductive activities and searches, it proactively delivers relevant content that resonates with customers.

This trend is gaining traction at a rapid pace. The highest-performing teams rely on technology nearly 3X as much over underperforming teams, according to a Salesforce report. Moreover, companies with a sales-enablement function have, on average, 8.2% greater revenue, compared to those without, according to a CSO Insights survey.

It is frustrating when content isn't getting used in the way it is intended to or is simply forgotten. But the real danger is that sales can be lost if the most effectual content isn't getting into the hands of the seller at the right time or used in the most compelling way.

Here are some ideas to help improve content distribution and usage.

Five Tips

  1. Predictively distribute content as just-in-time inventory. Salespeople will never need to ask for items—even if it is brand-new content. Content is shipped when it is most useful.
  2. Make the content easy to reach on the shelf. Provide quick and easy access in just 1-2 clicks from any device or location.
  3. Make the content searchable to save valuable time in finding the right item. Have a search feature that allows access to the entire warehouse of content (in the event of an unexpected opportunity).
  4. Build in coaching tips on how to position a product or idea to enhance the salesperson's conversation. Now that the content has been prompted, make sure sellers know what to do with it.
  5. Gain insight into what works. Track and match content usage to closed sales. This feedback loop knows what inventory is effective and is updated constantly for best-practices.

Technologies are awesome for anticipating needs and making everyone more effective with everything they need at their fingertips. A lot of work goes into creating amazing content... Now, make sure it gets delivered!

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image of Brian Fravel

Brian Fravel is vice-president of marketing of Veelo, a cloud-based marketing and sales enablement provider.

LinkedIn: Brian Fravel 

Twitter: @fravelb