The Intersection of Content Marketing and Sales Enablement
Host Jeff Coyle, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of MarketMuse, welcomed his guests Charles Warnock and Bryan Ehrenfreund to discuss the intersection of content marketing and sales enablement. Charles Warnock is the Director of Content Marketing at Content Marketing Factory, and Bryan Ehrenfreund is the Global Head of Sales and Marketing at Ossia.
The inspirational conversation between the three explored the following:
- The importance of sales enablement and sales enablement platforms
- Why do companies need to align content marketing and sales enablement?
- Why it’s essential to create a sales enablement content strategy
- How your sales team and marketing department can work together to develop a content marketing strategy
- How you should visualize the customer journey in 2021
- The importance of using a cluster model for content
- How to develop a solid content marketing strategy for your sales enablement team
- Why do companies need to create pillar pages and multi-content hubs?
- Why organizations need to consider current events and mobile-friendliness when creating content
What is sales enablement?
Sales enablement is the process of orchestrating everything within your company and sales for marketing success. In other words, it involves “wrapping one’s company’s mindset around enabling the seller to be successful,” as Charles Warnock said.
In the last few years, content marketing has placed a hyper-focus on how customers are consuming content and what they choose to do afterward. However, there hasn’t been much emphasis on how sales professionals use the content.
The importance of aligning sales enablement with marketing
To fill the gap, Bryan Ehrenfreund and Charles Warnock have been looking into how sales enablement teams and marketing departments can complement each other. They’ve been particularly interested in:
- Sales enablement tools’ ability to provide good reporting and visibility into sales
- Aligning sales and content marketing departments so content marketers can access sales enablement technology and collaborate to create a solid sales content strategy
According to Bryan Ehrenfreund, reports suggest that only 20% of sales and marketing departments are very aligned. There’s a huge opportunity for improvement. Once these two departments get aligned, sales reps and content marketers can work together to increase the value of their content. They can look at KPIs, collaborate on them, and use social media and video platforms to spur discussions on the buyer’s journey and content gaps.
“Sales may not sit still for a 20-page eBook or a white paper or spec sheet, but they will watch an explainer video. They will look at video content and social media content, especially if it’s interesting,” said Bryan Ehrenfreund.
How the sales and the marketing team should map the customer journey
Customer journey mapping is a holistic effort between sales and marketing departments, although it all depends on the company size. The customer journey has become very complicated recently because there are hundreds of media channels now. As such, it’s more challenging than ever to determine what content potential customers need to develop trust and feel good about their journey, the company, and their purchasing decisions.
Many content marketers still use a sales funnel to visualize the customer journey, but this doesn’t reflect how the customer journey looks these days. Our webinar trio discussed that in 2021, we need to visualize the customer journey as a series of different touchpoints in sales reps’ and marketers’ opportunities. By working together, the marketing and the sales team can align these opportunities and make the customer journey successful.
We shouldn’t forget, though, that many aspects of the customer journey and sales cycle are beyond our control. “You can’t control what [customers] do. You can control as much of it as possible so that maybe when they get a little tired of reading your stuff, they go someplace else, and then they’re attracted to come back to you,” said Jeff Coyle.
Using a cluster model for content
As a content marketer or sales rep, you can’t control what customers do, but you can attract them to your offer. A cluster model for relevant content can help you capture customers at different journey stages. This inbound marketing sales enablement content strategy requires you to provide pillar content with the surrounding content to draw back customers who may not have an interest in your pillar content.
Jeff Coyle described the cluster model as a “multi-headed beast.” “It’s often going to be a [multi content hub that’s] based on my existing authority [and] how much content I need to build on the topic,” he said. “So I might be able to get away with a single cluster on a topic and cover all the bases and cover all the personas, but quite frequently in practice, especially in a more competitive space, or if I don’t have any existing authority, I’m having to build a [multi hub].”
Bryan Ehrenfruend suggested asking the following questions when designing a cluster model for marketing content:
- Do you need a hub for each solution you offer?
- Is there a hub for each education point?
A sales enablement content strategy and a sales enablement platform can aid you in creating as many hubs as possible. According to Jeff Coyle, “the more you have, the more times you can tell the story that you’re an expert with the content you produce.” In turn, the strategy will boost your chances of becoming a thought leader in your industry.
You also may want to consider how current events impact the customer journey. COVID has forced many industries to go online, so retail-centric content isn’t effective anymore. How do you know whether you’re using the right channel for the right customer now that the customer demand has changed? Imagine you’re in real estate and want to show prospective buyers your floor plans on sale. Are you still doing it in person, or do you have mobile-friendly content for easy access?
Charles Warnock, Director of Content Marketing, Content Marketing Factory
Charles Warnock is the Director at the Content Marketing Factory, a marketing agency specializing in media, sales enablement, and marketing assets for enterprise, fintech, and SaaS companies. He is a contributor to Forbes Ignite and co-author of Future Ready: A Changemaker’s Guide to the Exponential Revolution.
Bryan Ehrenfreund, Global Head of Sales & Marketing, Ossia
Bryan Ehrenfreund is Global Head of Sales & Marketing at Ossia, responsible for ABM Strategy, Sales Process, Demand Generation, Sales & Marketing Operations including the Sales and MarTech Stacks. He’s been part of multiple Fortune 500 companies and startups.
Here are the main takeaways of this webinar on the intersection of content marketing and sales enablement:
- Sales and marketing reps should work together to map the customer journey. These two departments should use sales enablement technology to understand the sales and customers’ needs at each journey stage.
- A cluster model makes a good content strategy. It will help you produce the right content to attract and retain the right customers at the right time. Even if customers dislike your pillar content, they might still like your other content.
- Create as many multi-content hubs as possible, so you have plenty of content for every part of the customer journey. The strategy will also help you become a recognized thought leader in your industry.
Check out the resources mentioned in this webinar about the intersection of content marketing and sales enablement:
- Free eBook: When Content Marketing Meets Sales Enablement
- Content Marketing Factory
- The Building Blocks of Sales Enablement
- Google Analytics
Jeff Coyle: The MarketMuse content strategy webinar and our MarketMuse content strategy webinar series today’s discussion is going to be about the intersection between content marketing and sales, enablement, and sales enablement. If you know something I’m very passionate about and how sales and marketing teams can work together to understand each other better, to write content that appeals can be reused reels to all audiences.
Become something that everybody wants to use and that we can publish and repurpose everywhere. Today’s we’re going to have two guests today. We actually had one frozen screen that you could have seen, but now we have both guests in full living color. And I’m very excited about that.
Before I introduce him a little bit of housekeeping if you have any questions for us, ask them in the chat we will get to them in line. If they’re directly relevant to the things we’re talking. And if not, we’ll get to them at the end. And if there’s something we don’t get to at all, we’ll email, you relentlessly with a pile of answers and PDFs and attachments, and, you’ll wish you never asked the question.
All right. The other thing is in a couple of days you will get the replay of this, but while you’re at a go check out, we have over 50 recordings in our conduct strategy webinar series for people like Kevin and. Another gray one from Pam Didner on sales enablement, if you’re a sales enablement junkie.
But also people like Andy Crestodina and talking about analytics and updating content. It’s really amazing set of people who have done conduct strategy, webinar appearances with this broadcast. All right. That’s the housekeeping is done. I’m going to introduce one of my two guests. He is the director at the content marketing.
Charles Warnock thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little bit about content marketing factory and how you got to a bill becomes a law. What you’re doing.
Charles Warnock: Sure thanks for having us. Let’s see. I began my professional life as a journalist actually worked at a print newspaper with the New York times group.
When I started out from there, I made my way into technical writing and instructional design for a few. I always very much into the kind of the online learning part, which led to digital marketing and the more I got into digital marketing, the more I realized that content marketing was my sweet spot.
I have a small agency to content marketing factory, and we work with B2B SAS companies mostly. And we’re, getting more into publishing and media with, long form business books and executive presentations and that type of thing. So that’s, what’s keeping me busy.
Jeff Coyle: Awesome. B2B SAS content.
My favorite thing, I’ve been doing it for way too long. It’s nice to finally have you on to talk about talk about this and talk about some of the other components of this connect, the sales enablement and my other guest Brian, Aaron friend. Hopefully I got that he’s the global head of sales and marketing for.
And they are doing some really awesome stuff with wireless power. So how’d you get to that role? And I know that some of your focus areas in sales enablement is very relevant for our discussion today.
Bryan Ehrenfreund: Exactly. Jeff Tatyana. First of all, thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. I took a pretty different path than what Charles just described.
So undergrad I was up I start off being an accounting major realized that numbers like that. Weren’t for me when did. He had an undergrad degree in marketing and then a graduate degree in communications but ended up in sales. Right out of school, I got some of the best sales training.
I believe in industry from Xerox. Back in the day, I had wonderful sales training. They had their sales learning center in Leesburg, Virginia. Worked my way up the ladder there for a number of years, ended up being director of worldwide. It’s about a 20 year stint at Xerox, which brought me out to the Southwest where I I live in play, if you will.
A variety of different companies on my own that I started up. That’s where actually one of the startups that’s where actually Charles and I met it was a SAS software. We didn’t start off with SAS back in the day. We were actually sending out disc and CDs back in the day. And then we became, SAS was a real estate software company.
I was on this. Oh, sorry. The house Charles was on the marketing side of the house. We’ve done a number of different things. Ended up at Acia, as you mentioned, it’s a wireless power technology development company. And we sell our IP. So I’ve sold a hardware over my career. I’ve sold services over my career.
I’ve sold software, my career. This is the first time selling IP, very different very considered purchase content is an alignment of content and the buying journey is huge. So I’m looking for. Sharing and speaking to seven as far as I chat. So again, thanks for that.
Jeff Coyle: Oh yeah, for sure. No, that’s really exciting.
I believe that I need to talk to my head of product about us mailing out some CD ROMs with MarketMuse. I think that would be pretty, a pretty novel of vintage when people put them in, I don’t even know who will make happen, but it sounds like it was pretty fun. Marketing.
Bryan Ehrenfreund: What is old is new?
So direct mail 20 years ago, we sent direct mail is. It’s actually alive well and performing very well today. It’s mostly
Jeff Coyle: forgotten to get some CD-ROMs or some DVDs out there somehow. But so I know you have deep experience just to kick things off. You have deep experience in sales enablement, but for the audience that might not know the way that you think about that.
Jeff Coyle: Like what, how would you define sales enablement? And what’s the things that like get one started on. And then, connecting that to content marketing, what’s the path that you typically see folks, getting started with, or maybe mistakes that they’re commonly making.
Bryan Ehrenfreund: Yeah.
Excellent question. Matter of fact about four and a half, five years ago the term sales enablement really wasn’t spoken it, wasn’t in the vernacular just like ABM, right? And today that’s all you hear. Matter of fact, if you just do quickly. LinkedIn search with folks that have sales enablement and their title there over 15,000 sales enablement professionals, if you will.
There’s a group that actually that I’m very involved with. That’s called the sales enablement society. It’s the only, and the largest nonprofit volunteer group. I run a chapter here in in Phoenix, in the Arizona area as well as on the global liaison. For now a little over 60 chapters globally.
So if anybody’s interested in sales enablement, first thing I would suggest go to se society.org. I’m sorry. It’s a shameless plug for the organization, but it’s free. There’s no cost. One of the things you’ll find is that one of the. Problems we’ve had in the industry. Is a definition? What is sales enablement?
If you ask 10 people, you’ll get 12 different answers. And I’ve seen a number of good ones. Matter of fact I’m reading a book, I’ll just grab it from a colleague in the industry called the building blocks of sales enablement by Mike Kunkel, highly recommended. Mike has a very good definition of sales enablement.
I’ll just paraphrase. It’s basically orchestra. All the elements within your company, sales, marketing, success, engineering, everything to enable the seller to be successful. And there’s a lot of components that go within that, obviously. But it’s really wrapping one’s company’s mindset around enabling the seller to be successful.
So there’s content there’s software. There’s. Automation. So there’s a lot of aspects in those building blocks that actually Mike lays out very well is is outlined in his book. I’d highly recommend it.
Jeff Coyle: And we’re going to get the ABM later. Cause that’s one of my favorite buzzwords that relates to content marketing and sales enablement.
Content for Sales and Product
Jeff Coyle: But the and we’ll get we’ll link to all those show notes. Okay. And the and the link to the book, but Charles from that definition, one of the things that I’m always questioned when I’ve talked to folks who are thinking about their content strategy, I’ll often ask how much of this content that you’re creating is used by sales and for what purposes the other I say, and how much of is it is used by product and for what purpose.
And I think. All kinds of different answers. It also get sounded oh no, that’s over here. We don’t own that. Or product. Oh, no. Product has their own section of the site have their own page. How much of that do you encounter at in your consulting that you work on? And then also just in your observation,
Charles Warnock: So I think that’s a great question.
And the answer is far as, from my observations is that the content we used to really a few years back it was things were becoming very customer centric or at least the talk around it was we need to, focus on the customer experience, the customer journey, customer centric. And I think that led to a lot of.
Sort of hyper-focused on how customers are consuming the content, what are they doing next? And, all that behavioral type of focus at the same time, there was not a lot of focus on how sales was using the content. I think it was hit and miss. And one of the reasons, Brian and I started talking about how content marketing and sales enablement could compliment each other was some of these sales enablement technology had very.
Visibility and reporting into what is sales real using good sales download disc that they use it in a presentation. Did they use it in an email campaign? So I think that type of visibility, when it became apparent, the numbers were pretty low, that sales was creating their own content. They weren’t sure really how to deploy it because the, the alignment really wasn’t there.
And as far as product, I think it was a similar situation where there really wasn’t a feedback loop in terms of. The product group and the sales and marketing groups talking and saying, Hey, here’s, what’s, here’s, what’s working. Here’s what’s not on product. What are you guys seeing? Let’s compare notes and see if we can automate.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
Jeff Coyle: Yeah. I think sometimes it’s the, some simple things, right? You, like you mentioned, are they using it, but it’s also like how many of us have read the entire site of the brand that we work for, of, the entire thing? How are we have we consumed them? So a lot, I think you also, you often will look at your sales team and go, oh my gosh, you didn’t use that content item and you’ll go off.
But the reality did you set them up so that they could, was it clear where in the buyer’s cycle that would be, and then really it gets down to how aligned are those teams and I who whomever Brian or her trust, how much efficiency gain or CA have you seen as far as when that sales enablement journey happens and those sales and marketing teams are aligned, and then, how frequently do these teams.
Identify as being aligned. Is that something that you think about? Cause I, when I, in my experience, it’s often where, I don’t touch a salesperson or somebody in the sales org until, it’s six months into their experience with MarketMuse. they’re like, yeah, we built all this content traffic’s up all the time.
And I’m not getting any inputs from the sales team unless I asked for them. And I was like how was the sales team use? This new pillar page that you created, are they using these, how they, how we’re answering these common questions that are part of the buyer journey that are now crushing it.
And number one in organic search, like how was your sales team using that data? And I often will get oh they’re not, they don’t read this. And a lot of times I think that people are like gawking at them. When reality is, you got to, sometimes you got to tee it up first few times before they can swing on them.
Bryan Ehrenfreund: I guess I’ll take the first crack at that because the number points that you just made that I want to touch on. So one is alignment, right? And moving away from what I’ll call random acts of content to having a content stream. So looking at that and chosen, I talked about this lot while we were developing the ebook just yesterday, coincidentally, I just received a a report from the sales enablement pro it’s a sales enablement maturity report.
And just here, it says the governance of sales content when it’s well managed and maintained. And my question would be, is there a central repository that those sellers have easy access to know where to get it? Are they even aware? I find, and we’re a small organization. One. In my past life and larger organizations, I would find there was so much really, worthy content that we weren’t even aware of.
We had no idea it was there until somebody pointed out to us. So is it searchable? Is it easy to find is a communicated and is sales and marketing aligned? So the needs of the seller are being met versus marketing is creating and they’re doing, I a slice and myself in half. Cause I run sales or marketing site.
I get both. It’s not like marketing is trying to do a bad job. They’re not trying to create content for content’s sake. They believe they’re doing a good job, right? The degree like this report has said those that are aligned and partly effective in their content governance efforts. The survey reports shows their win rates or six percentage point hires when they have highly effective content and a win rate of 56.
So clearly you’re aligned. Wearness well-maintained, we’ll manage, you’ll be more successful in closing deals, at least that’s what the study and
Jeff Coyle: Charles, are you ever in the situation where you’re playing a part in that.
Charles Warnock: Yeah, I definitely think I make sure that that’s a goal of mine. A lot of times, as a consultant, you really don’t have this way to make things like that happen, but you can definitely make those suggestions. And even if it’s an informal relationship, that’s better than a dysfunctional or a contentious relationship between marketing sales.
I think, however you can, it’s incumbent on the marketing side to prove the value to the sales side justice that is to the audience. Going back to your original question, I think this th this research by the content marketing Institute and marketing profs that, that shows that 80 20 relationship so often only about 20% thought that.
Said that they were extremely aligned or very aligned. So I think there’s. After so many years of talking about it, a huge opportunity to cover that and make fix that alignment in it. From what I see, it’s definitely improving the companies that are data-driven and, they don’t just say that they’re data-driven, they are.
They’re looking at the KPIs that are shared between marketing and sales. They collaborate on them. They keep an eye on them. And that just spurs that discussion. And it eliminates a little bit at this function, be on the road. You still see companies who are arguing over what a marketing qualified lead is, or this is a good lead, or this is a bad lead and we should be past that by now.
It should be a question about, how can we improve this lead quality? Not these leads are good or are these leads are bad, but I will say. One, one thing that’s gotten easier I think is to involve sales and in the process, because in an age of, social media platforms, video platforms, really coming to the fore, that’s the type of content I think sales can get on board with very easily.
Sale sales may not sit still for a 20 page ebook or white paper position, paper, or a spec sheet, but they will watch an explainer video. They will. Look at video content and social media content, especially if it’s interesting or entertaining.
Jeff Coyle: Yeah. I think one step that I’m frequently advising on is even if it’s just one or two motions in that briefing that say, how will sales use this document in the form that it is being created?
Jeff Coyle: And at the answer is not likely it’s are we planning to build. In a format that can be used effectively at this stage of the biocycle, this stage of the buy cycle, this stage advisor, that alone can just bring them into the conversation. Cause it’s a lot of times it’s it’s about, everybody’s got their why are we creating this article, or why are we creating this content package? And I be interested in, in, in Brian, in, in the sales enable. The society work and also in your experience, the whose voice is typically the one that’s getting things done. Is it this, when this isn’t the, when the sales team finally speaks up and speaks their why for why we need the content?
Or is it when those two things become a shared vision?
Bryan Ehrenfreund: I think that from a sales perspective, there’s no lack of needs that sellers have. Nobody’s looking for help. And where they can be successful in aligning themselves with marketing has always shown the, be a successful formula for, for success.
So I think it really comes down to the alignment between the marketing folks, the sales folks, and the sales enablement folks to really understand the needs of sales, what the sellers are needing. In fact, I just. A couple of days with some of our, some new senior folks that we have on our team, trying to understand the buyer’s journey and where we might have gaps.
So looking at each of the steps of the journey and figuring out, okay, where are the content gaps that we have today that we can fulfill those based on what we’re hearing from customers?
Jeff Coyle: All right. So a content gap for a content strategist should account for in our entire site inventory. What are we missing?
What answers or the questions are we not answering? But it should also account for what are we missing that, from a use usefulness from a sales org perspective, is that, that goes on, I’ve heard commonly it rep sales enablement is referenced as the difference between your CRM.
Mapping the Buyer Journey
Jeff Coyle: Opportunity, early stage or whatever, needs analysis, and then it gets, and the difference in that and the marketing buyer journey. How do you think about that when you’re trying to get teams to work together making, deciding on what technology to use to decide why we’re creating things and then how do we, how does that mapping change?
The journey mapping, do you try to get those into one journey? Are you just comfortable with two of them and mapping them together? What’s that process look like?
Bryan Ehrenfreund: Yeah, I think it all depends on the size company that you’re with. And it’s basically one, it’s fairly, I don’t wanna say simplistic.
The journey itself is complicated. Sales has only gotten more complicated over the 30 plus years that I’ve been in selling the numbers of individuals that are now part of that. Decision-making. The DMU has gotten more pronounced more sophisticated. There’s more information buyers, quote, unquote, don’t want to talk to salespeople early in the process.
What’s the first thing everybody does go to the computer. They’ll search something and they’ll find that’s why content is so important. So unless you have that content that discoverable searchable, find-able, that’s really helping your brand. You’re not even going to get a swing at the. I’m not suggesting that you still don’t have an integrated strategy with SDRs in doing outbound.
It’s gotta be a holistic integrated effort amongst sales and marketing. Cool.
Jeff Coyle: And Charles, we’re always talking about creating content across the entire bicycle, but also in different formats. And that’s when you’re thinking about mapping to a journey that’s something that is part of that, right?
How do you think about that from that.
Charles Warnock: I think your point about content gaps is well-placed because that’s one of those things where it’s an intangible, cause it would be difficult to measure, but at some point the customer, your audience is saying, these guys don’t get me.
I have this question, I have this concern, it’s they might not think of it in terms of a pain point, but they’re, it’s just eroding that trust a little bit and it’s a missed opportunity. So I think I think we have a slide about the customer journey from think with Google and that they had this interesting picture because a lot of people visualize this straight line of, this is how it used to be.
And it may be that when there were only a few media channels, now there’s hundreds of them. So the customer journey is. Very complicated. And I think the challenge is really when we’re looking at it, it’s what content do they need on this journey to feel, to have to feel good about their journey, to feel good about the company, their purchase, and develop that trust.
But it’s a, it’s interesting because we still use funnels to visualize that, but it doesn’t really reflect what the customer journey looks like nowadays. It’s definitely all these different touch points in each one’s in opportunities, I really by that idea that, each one of these is an opportunity.
And if you aligned them and get them all right you’re successful in the customer journey and hopefully you’re making a customer successful. Yeah.
Jeff Coyle: You can’t control, you can’t control what they do. You can control as much of it as possible. So that maybe when they get a little tired of reading your stuff, they go someplace else.
And then. Attracted to come back to you. But like you said, if you’re doing the opposite and they land on and it’s oh wow, this isn’t empathetic. This is a product brochure page that doesn’t even point me to anything that speaks about me and who I am and my industry and my level of expertise. I’m going to go somewhere that will, and maybe I won’t come back.
The Buyer’s Journey is a Mess
Jeff Coyle: That’s the way that I like to think about the thing like this, or like gardener has one where it’s like a huge, like map, a messy map of stuff that we typically look at, but Brian, what were you saying? Sorry,
Bryan Ehrenfreund: the messy map point. Exactly the problem I have with this book’s fairly linear. And I don’t know if it’s just on light gyrations when Charles was talking, the blind cross is like this.
It’s all over the place.
That’s the point? It is messy. It is a messy. And one of the things is the challenge of now, how do you scale. Smaller company, it will be easy for us, but still we have our challenges because we’re small and I have all the resources, it was scaling to have the right off of the right content at the right place at the right time for the right persona.
So in all different media channels, right? Know short form content that a, somebody might see on social versus an email that you’re gonna send out all that has to be done. Small company. A lot of us sellers are doing things on their own. Some things aren’t as well. Control, I guess I’ll say, as you might like it and what goes out, doesn’t maybe have that brand voice that you might want. So how do you control those things? There’s definitely opportunities for companies
One Page is Usually Not Enough
Jeff Coyle: and I think people that are a little bit shocked to hear you say that though. I think the governance is one topic, but the other is a lot of folks will ask me, they’re like, should I write this as one page or a bunch of.
And I say no, most likely what I’m going to say is both. But when you break it into pieces, those pieces should have a little bit of a different voice. It should have a little bit of a different structure, both because long pages and short pages are for different purposes, right? So why would they be the same thing?
Just jumped together, and then you may want to put them into other pieces. Repurposing is quite frequently the art that is. Put it into action inside the team. It’s and again you bring up something again that I commonly will say. And it’s to say for what’s this for, are you making this so that it is a a snackable video for sales?
Is it something that’s going to also be a parlay in some sort of demo flow you have? It’s not all of them. It’s not all about direct access from organic search. All that content creates this pool that moves users down the bicycle. And that’s the key we’re trying to get. We’re trying to get that big mass and the punchline there is that’s how organic search works too.
It’s this big, huge mass of everything you’ve ever written on the topic. And it enables you to come to the party and rank well, More competitive phrases. It’s just that most people think it’s a one-to-one on a page level. And Charles, I know that when you’re advocating for kind of content packages, one way of doing that is through getting them aligned on the big, huge pool of content.
But the other one is through Cape. And, to say, if we do all of this and we all work together, we’ll actually be able to win as a team and not look at it at the table. And like here’s some KPIs that we can look at to show those wins. And how do you think about that?
Is the Hub and Spoke Still an Effective Strategy
Charles Warnock: I actually have a quick question for you before the KPI question, cause that’s a big one.
So you mentioned that, what we’re looking at is an image from Google and every, everything, Google is really never far from the top of our minds in terms of content, strategy and creation, especially since organic traffic is so valuable. And we it’s our real estate it’s owned.
We’re, it’s our content. We own it. So that’s a critical thing. And overall strategy. Are you still seeing that, that sort of cluster model with hub and spokes? We have pillar content. We have surrounding content, whether it’s, no matter what media is surrounding ad, is that mouse model still effective in a strategy it’s
Jeff Coyle: typically gonna be it’s typically gonna be a multi-headed beast.
From just a single hub. It’s often going to be a multi hub and it’s often going to be, based on my existing authority is how much content I need to build on the topic. So I might be able to get away with a single cluster on a topic and cover all the bases and cover all the personas, but quite frequently in practice, especially in a more competitive space or if I don’t have any existing authority, I’m having to build a kind of multi.
And then those spokes are multi. I consider them to be three dimensional spokes because they can, the content can take multiple forms. So I may be able to answer it a question in a simple question and answer form. In one view, I might be doing another version of that with video. I might be merging those together.
I might be putting together an FAQ as well for consumption with particular mark-up. So I like to think of it as I may be answering these intense in multiple different ways for different audiences or different types of learners. So I’m creating somewhat of a three-dimensional a three-dimensional HubSpot and that’s really where, and then I may need multiple hubs to get my spokes to work.
And that’s really the the more complexity is driven by Landscape for sure.
Charles Warnock: Yeah. Yeah. I definitely agree with the multiple content hubs. Nobody has one, there’s no business. That’s that simple. So in, in, in my experience, it’s sometimes difficult to know what should be in the hub.
Do you need a hub for each solution you offer? Is there a hub for each, education point? You want to have customers? What do you see in terms of content strategy?
Jeff Coyle: I like constant. A combination of concept expertise, level care. I want to have something that tells the story that I’m the place you want to go to learn about wireless power.
If I knew nothing about her, this power, right? I’m your place, but I also want a separate one. If I’m from a wireless power, if I’m a hardware specialist, And I’m at consider myself an expert. I need awareness phase content for that topic, no matter where I am on tiering. And what gets forgotten is oftentimes people will do buyer persona development, and they’re only saying Hawaii, I appeal to CMOs.
And so it’s wireless power for CMOs. Okay. Are all Salem? Moe’s. You all CMOs like to read this type of newspaper or watch this type of video, and then you’re getting to this like pigeonholing effect on what you define. So I like to look at it as topic expertise level, and then I can put those into a multi-headed beast, as far as the pool of content that’s going to create.
But the more of those types of, and maybe I have to go to industry specific to, depending on the B2B, if it’s a B2B topic, I might say, okay early-stage awareness content for wireless power for I’ll make something up or air conditioners, pick an industry, you can
Bryan Ehrenfreund: pick
Jeff Coyle: people for HVAC.
So that would be a good example. I looked at my air conditioner. That’s why I said that, but I forgot for HVAC. And so the, that’s one way of understanding because if I just define that general. Is that really speaking to the needs of somebody in the HVAC industry, am I doing that at some sort of other HubSpot or if does it, so those are the types of questions I’m asking.
And it often takes somebody like Brian, who is sales and marketing, because they know all the leads that they get already with these pages and they know what they need to them build that out. But the more you have, the more times you. Tell the story that you’re an expert with the content you produce, the more chances you have at being that thought leader.
And that’s the, that’s the punchline.
Charles Warnock: Cool. In terms of KPIs I will turn this over to Brian in a minute. Cause I’ve met very few people who like KPIs and, having both the sales and marketing hats, it’s definitely something that he needs to be, he needs to keep front and center.
I think in terms of alignment, the KPIs they’re KPIs that are very simple in concept like customer lifetime value or a time to revisit. And they’re very complex once you start examining what’s going on. But I think just having those KPIs in front of sales and marketing every week sparks the type of discussions that need to be had, around understanding customer lifetime value and invariably there’s discussions and result in people, throwing out ideas to improve experiments that might happen to move those KPIs in the right door.
Jeff Coyle: And Brian, how do you think about that? You said that you’re the person who has the most KPIs or something to that effect. How do you think about what are those shared KPIs? We always look at it as I want to make sure that the editorial lead, the content marketing or content strategy lead and the D and maybe the demand gen our SEO team are all, they all have a similar error, usually not the same, but this similar, why.
Before that be where they start to create a content item. But how do you look at that from a sales enablement perspective?
Bryan Ehrenfreund: Yeah, I think you’re spot on that. There needs to be, again, goes back to that alignment term, if we’re being measured completely differently, if there’s not some sort of common ground between the organization.
It’s not a good situation. You’re not setting yourself up for success by no means. So I think it really comes down to is how you’re being measured and what’s important. And it starts at the top. I’m a firm believer. I’ve never seen any organization that I’ve worked for. And I’ve been on the, the vendor side, if you will, I’ve been on the sales side, I’ve been on both sides of the fence, if you will.
If it doesn’t start at the top, if this. Totally bought in at the C level that here’s what our measurements are. We’re going to have shared measurements and obviously common measurements and some of the, obviously your individual to your specifics. And obviously sales is easy. It’s, whatever that number is, you have to hit these easiest job.
I’ll say I ever had. Cause you had so much clarity every day when you wake up as a seller, you know exactly where you are, what that goal is and where you are to that goal. And for me, I like to keep things simple, right? That’s very easy to figure out. So if you have a unit plan, you have a revenue plan, whatever that might be.
How do we align that from the seller standpoint, back to Molokini back to sales enablement, that we can have something common KPIs that measure that supports the seller at the end of the day. So if I’m just producing content for content’s sake and it’s not turning into marketing qualified leads that are accepted by sales, that sales is working.
That’s one way of doing it to figure out again today, where is my CEO care? He cares nothing about any of that it’s closed deals and that’s the only thing he cares about. So it has to lead to, are we closing more deals because we’re doing this. How do you get it? How do
Getting Salespeople to Care About Content Consumption
Jeff Coyle: you get a salesperson to care?
What content that, that prospect has consumed so far
Charles Warnock: and actually do that work,
Jeff Coyle: read these articles and to actually craft a plan for the next three or four pages you want them to read as part of that sales journey, how do you get a sales person to care about that versus they get a lead and then they do the thing they already usually do.
They pick up the phone and call them. They shoot them over. Hey, what’s up. You want to jump on a call? How do you get them out of that trap versus, okay Joe, from Nvidia use the platform trial for 15 minutes. They read these three articles. The next three things in the journey is this. And by the way, if I get them to those next three things, our demos going to be successful.
If I don’t, I’ve got a 40% chance. How do you get somebody away from the call trap? Bump, hello, contact me trap and into that other bucket, which is as we know how you win, but how do you get them over that at home? You know that, that’s my question.
Bryan Ehrenfreund: Yeah. I think there’s a couple of facets to that. So number one whatever’s working for that seller.
They’re going to continue to do typically the sellers that are the leaders within the industry. That’s not typically Replicatable by others within the sales organization. So it’s this guy is really good at this gal is really good, but don’t copy what they’re doing because quite frankly, they’re unique.
So what I would say is that sellers, and this is what I was taught literally like my first week, 30 years ago in sales training by a colleague of mine who I still keep in touch with to this day became a mentor. Joe Ricardo and Joe said to me, Brian, if you see something that somebody is doing steal it, shamelessly because quite frankly, if it’s working, why not continue to do that.
So if there’s a seller that is a piece of content that they’re able to close more deals and you’re seeing like, what are you doing? That’s literally every month you’re winning the prize, right? The award I have back in my sales days when I carried a bag, They’re always certain reps. Luckily for a period of time, I was in that group that we were successful.
We were always in a winning whatever that monthly prize was. But what are they doing? How can you emulate them? So if you can figure out, okay, what are they doing? What’s the type of content that they’re successful with those most part will embrace more content. That’s working for them. And continue to want to do more of it.
And then sellers should then want to say, okay, Hey, let me emulate that. If they’re successful, let’s not reinvent the wheel here.
Using Technology for Sales Enablement Success
Jeff Coyle: And from the standpoint of like keys overall, just switching gears a little bit keys overall of being successful at, using technology to enable better content marketing and sales, enablement success.
What do you think. Are those keys what should these teams be doing? We’ve talked about what they need to do. But what are the processes? And then what are the, what can they put in place that’s going to get adopted the whole sort of the pieces and the pilots and the processes.
Bryan Ehrenfreund: Yeah it comes down to what I call the three P’s it’s different, hasn’t changed, but basically People process and and prototypes of what you’re doing, the technology. So when you look at today, it’s table stakes to have, I’m always sometimes amazed when I hear about today, not having a CRM system, it’s impossible.
I don’t know how you run a company, right? It table-stakes marketing automation. It’s absolutely table stakes to have any kind of insight to what that buyer is doing when they get to your website. Analytics, whether it’s Google analytics or some sort of analytics to understand that buyer’s behavior has become table stakes.
So today those kinds of tools and it’s different marketing has their tools more tools today, than marketers have ever had before sales enablement now has their own set of tools. And we go back to the definition, what sales enablement is. You know back several years ago, it would almost come under the umbrella of sales training.
So you always had your, like your LMS systems, your learning management systems, and that was sales enablement because we’re enabling to sell it from a training standpoint, but it’s way more holistic today, as I mentioned early on in, in our in our discussion here, but now sales enablement has these systems that measure the content effectiveness manages What sales is engaging. How much they’re engaging with it. So there’s all sorts of platforms that now integrate between the CRM, between the website for sales, enablement, and sales. So it’s got a lot more complex but at the same time, there has been some consolidation in that side of the sales enablement platform space as well.
And we’ve seen more and more consolidation. I think we’ll see more consolidation, over time
Expanding the Role of Content in a Sales Organization
Jeff Coyle: Charles, what would you do? And if you’re advising somebody who is only ever thought about this from a content marketing perspective, and they just don’t even, they don’t even thought about it or they’re just making websites and they don’t even have that.
They don’t, they’re not even thinking about content having more than one function.
Charles Warnock: So I think it’s the, I think probably structurally they need to have more of this there’s a reporting relationship where the groups are together as opposed to being siloed. That to me makes sense, but it’s definitely, the shared evaluations, the shared wins, the shared losses are all going to go a long way.
I think it’s a situation where. From the technology standpoint, it’s interesting like the the analytics part that Brian was describing, he and I have talked about this in terms of on the far left are very basic analytics and I’m sure you I’m not sure, but you might have a similar experience if you work with the company and you look at their analytics, you can tell where they are in this journey.
There’s some of them, a lot of them have Google analytics. They have a website, they have a CRM, but there, there’s not really a strategic relationship between those pieces. So I think when you look at the companies, the biggest and most successful tech companies are over there on the right with prescriptive analytics.
They’re really, they really are good at predicting things and knowing what’s next and that type of thing. And the, our tools really have to evolve to, to show that like there, there was a lot of research that shows. People don’t like their CRMs people don’t understand marketing automation.
And I think that’s one of those things where content marketers need to understand, Salesforce might have a learning curve, but they need to understand that they need to work in Salesforce. If sales is living in Salesforce and marketing never touches it, it’s not, it’s not good alignment.
But the other thing is, I think. You know those platforms, as you well know, a lot of this is becoming AI powered or enabled. So if you were doing things manually and your competitors aren’t, if you’re doing SEO manually, if you’re doing content briefs manually and your competitors have already automated, that are using AI power tools, there is a definite imbalance there, whether you’re on the content marketing or sales side.
And the other thing I’ll say is you need. Yeah we have to rethink the content itself because I have a client who’s in the prop tech space and what they do is self touring. So typically if you would go to a real estate agent or a rental agent, you would meet them at the property. They would take you on a tour and during COVID they started coming out with this smartphone and smart lock combination where you would go, you scan a barcode, you take a selfie, you take a picture of your driver’s license.
They vet you. And the lock opens and you tore her by herself graded socially instance, but it turns out people don’t like, people don’t want to talk to a salesperson anyway, a real estate agent or a rental agent until they’re ready. So I was thinking about this in terms of content, because I went in and I said, oh, I’ll create all this great content.
And they said, no, the content here is really. When these folks are on their smartphones and they want to see a floor plan, they want to see a brochure or they have questions. That’s the content they want. And it all has to be there, on their smartphone. But the other thing was the ancillary benefit to me was huge because everything that’s collected on that tour goes into the CRM.
No salesman had to enter that no sales person had to. Decide, whether that was an opportunity where to put it any may manual data entry, it’s all there. And now they have a really strong follow-up. I see, you can see these people spend 20 minutes at the property. They looked at the floor plans. They looked at, all these things they’re serious.
Those are the types of things we need to look at because it’s, some things aren’t going to change. Salespeople should be selling, not entering. Yeah into a CRM. So you have to think about content, like what’s the most effective content for something like that, where it’s not somebody who’s going to a website or a retail location or something, there’s this, like our journeys shows, there’s just very different entry points.
Jeff Coyle: That’s the old joke is if the sales reps, if all your sales reps, CRMs are up to date, they’re either the CRMs either perfect or they’re not good. Because no, one’s got time for that. But the the, I love this slide. I’m stealing it. Totally. Just like you gave me the advice for, because this describes good technology versus old package technology of the past.
If it’s providing insights that you can’t do manually. And so if you’re getting information that, what will happen, what can. It’s not just giving you a report that you can circulate and hope something good happens out of it. It’s actually potentially giving you insights. And, the when you’re doing, when you’re introducing these things to the team, you can do it based on modeling.
Increasing Internal Consumption of Content
Jeff Coyle: What’s worked in the past, right? Hey, this person uses this deck. Let’s all try to use this deck and see what happens, but what other types of tests. What’d you put in place for for getting more of that content consumed internally by all the teams, and use.
Charles Warnock: I think it’s definitely, there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of old fashioned, split testing going on. You have to still understand what we call the phrase that pays, which means make sure your headlines or nobody’s going to read your landing page or your blog, or, would have.
That’s another thing that can be, you start to be, AI is in there too, right? They suggest, you can get a tool to suggest headlines now and speed up that process and the whole iterations. But I think there’s no shortcut. You still have to test improve, optimize constantly.
But that’s another thing where alignment is so key because if you have say. If you have sales and you have a healthy relationship, that’s candid and sales tells you’re full of it. You’re off base. You’re the, oh, this is, those are why you need analytics. I’m saying this isn’t going to work, but the data is saying that too.
So I think it’s just a question of having, it needs to be evidence-based that discussion.
Jeff Coyle: I love that. I it’s kinda like the. It’s like having the per the person is responsible, whether it’s account management, whether it’s customer success, whether it’s sales, are there, you, do you read something and is there a person in the funnel who you really wouldn’t want reading that?
And that’s the flip side of it, but it’s really to say is there, are there, is there a content item that you would love for them to alter read? And why is there something that would make me cringe if they read it? And why is it because it’s old? The wrong messaging. Is it because it’s a messaging you think doesn’t sell is, is having those conversations brings alignment.
And I think a lot of times people there, instead of having that conversation, they think that conversation is critical or negative. And that’s where I see a lot of teams drive towards the separation of church and state with those things where it’s, that’s a disaster waiting to happen, but it does happen though.
You’re as you say, I don’t want people. That article, right? Or, gosh, I hope this person didn’t read that article because it gives away, a secret or something like, or something that I don’t, I, I sell it a different way. You’ve probably heard all of these things, I like to connect to the teams. Yeah.
Bryan Ehrenfreund: I was just going to add Jeff. I think it also goes back to what is the job of that piece of content, and it’s purpose. I always ask what’s a job. What is he supposed to do? Is there a CTA. That’s part of this content. So really what it is. And the other thought is Charles, and you were just talking that kind of struck me was it’s not like it’s a one size fits all that, Hey, this is, one way to do it.
And that’s the way to do it for every company, every size, anything I’ve learned there is not one size fits all and you have to really have it appropriate for the size organization. You have the types of selling organization. You have your go to market strategy. So there is no one size fits all unfortunately
Jeff Coyle: So cool. We’ve got a couple of questions. The first one actually, before we go to that, you’re talking about the e-book. Can you tell us a little bit more about the ebook and detail it and then we’ll have the access the links for that?
Charles Warnock: Sure. The IBA kind of grew out of, Brian and I have always stayed in touch through various roles, independent or working with companies or working for ourselves.
And we always bounce ideas off each other. And we had been observing. There were separate growth paths for content marketing, definitely becoming key. And, Brian, it already mentioned how sales enablement is really coming to the floor as well. For practical reasons. It’s got traction and we were observing well, yeah these things are both happening, but along separate paths.
And that doesn’t make any sense because really by combining them and some of the ways we’ve talked about. That’s one synergy. And then you had mentioned bringing product in and, we could bring in customer success, that’s another multiplier and just the emerging technologies that are happening now, you have AI and machine learning which is another multiplier.
So I, I think it’s just this area of huge opportunity, right? In, in seeing, at least from my viewpoint of working with different companies, it’s it really is all over the place. Whether, there’s a, there is sales, marketing alignment, or there is.
Jeff Coyle: Okay, great. We’ll provide access to anyone here that wants it or make sure we have that link available.
Another question came in, you had mentioned briefly ABM. How does Charles think about ABM?
Charles Warnock: That’s a good question. There’s definitely a little bit of detective work involved and, I started out as a reporter and I think that will always stay with me, that sort of training. I think you need to interview your subjects at this point. You need to understand that that buyer’s team and you need to accommodate them with content.
That’s really. So if it’s for the CFO there, you’re going to want to talk about pricing and value. If you’re somebody from it, or when I have a really nice spec sheet, if you are a marketing and sales like us, we like to see KPIs and data. If you’re anyone on a team you’re winning, you’re going to want to see trust content, where you have testimonials, you have case studies and that’s for the whole team.
And the only thing I’ll add to that is. Keep in mind that you want to foster sharing among notice teams, whatever that piece of content, Brian said, every piece of content should have a mission. That’s true. The mission, one of those missions is to be shared. Somebody on that team should get this and forward it to the rest of the team and say, Hey, look at this that I got, this is really interesting.
I didn’t know this so that, that’s a kind of a long-winded answer.
Jeff Coyle: It’s not a long one to answer. I would just add, make sure you know it when they do. Because, it makes sure, when to do it or else you miss out on all that value. I was in our slack group I had a video that was shared 156 times.
And I was like, I don’t even know if there’s 156 people on that team. I just sent it to somebody in an email. And, just trying to figure it out because it was actually 156 different people. But if I didn’t know that, imagine how much less informed. In that, sales, it’s like now I know everyone on their team and maybe like their grandma might’ve watched it too, rather than how much additional value that brings.
ABM – Person-driven or Champion Development?
Jeff Coyle: Like I know Brian, do you think about ABM as like you said, persona driven or championed development, like where you’re actually circulation circulators. I know that sometimes they’re called. And like you mentioned things that might be for everyone for trust, like a case study versus like something that’s really tuned for them, or like for Dow, if I’m selling to like, how do you get into the difference between that?
And what do you think is more sexy? If you’re a sales rep, is something like, if I built it for Sandra or is it, I build it for CMOs and Sandra is a CMO. Like what? What’s the best happy meal.
Bryan Ehrenfreund: Yeah. So the first thing that putting my marketing side hat on that marketers need to recognize that sellers have always been account-based right.
When I carried my bag, I was selling to an account always. So this notion which always done, So incredible over the last, several years, account-based marketing. Yeah, duh, it’s nothing new I sell is I’ve always been account-based right. So the agreed today that you can be much more highly focused and targeted, especially with content, the tools and the technology of writing our marketers capability used to be that marketing was doing spray and pray marketing alcohol it right.
Air cover. While the seller was trying to be very specific based on listening to. That sales process. I know I need to provide this piece of content because I’m, at this point in the sales process today marketing can align with sellers much, much more effectively now because we have the technology to do that.
So to answer your question, I really think. The matter of persona industry. So if I’m selling to, your point before about air conditioners or somebody in the high that business and wireless power is a pretty ubiquitous, horizontal application, usually nothing as we know today that doesn’t require batteries or a power source of some sort.
But it’s very different by persona and by industry of what those potential pain points are. So if I’m describing. You have this IOT sensor for your high back and I’m selling to an automobile manufacturer. They’re going to go, why you, what are you sending me this piece of content about a building and how I can be more efficient with my building maintenance capabilities totally would miss the mark.
So it has to be first of all, by persona from a graphic and graphic information about that particular customer that you’re talking to. And as much as you can be targeting. The better, and I know that’s not scalable, a one-to-one campaign, you can handle a few of those, it’s maybe more of a one to many is more scalable versus just a spray and pray
Jeff Coyle: marketing. And that’s I think a great way to wrap it up because there’s artificial intelligence platforms coming out there which are gonna allow for more one to one experiences on your side. To make something feel like a one-on-one experience, even though it’s industry level.
And, I think that’s something that the keep your eyes on. It’s pretty going to be premium. And this has been a really amazing discussion. Brian, Charles, thank you so much for joining us. How can people get in touch with you if they want to, and then we’ll get into, we already talked about a PDF.
We’ve got a webinar, VIP promo for standard which go on our site, sign up for the free account. If you want to jump into the standard account, 15% off that’s a deal on two levels. But yeah. How can people get in touch with you if they’re looking to connect and learn more about what you’re focused on with the society and Charles learn about more about content marketing.
Bryan Ehrenfreund: Yeah for me. So I would just say, go to LinkedIn. You’ll find me Erin Freunde E H R E N F R U N D a. I know I did that fast Erin point on Twitter or you go to SC society.org. You can find me there. So any of those champions,
Jeff Coyle: Charles,
Charles Warnock: You can find me in content marketing, factory.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn.
I love to learn and network and I’m on Twitter.
Jeff Coyle: And just a quick rep. So who would be the right fit for someone for content marketing factory? Just for my benefit,
Charles Warnock: As a client. Yeah. As a client typically B2B SAS company. And I would say technology companies that are leveraging emerging technologies, blockchain, AI 5g, that type of thing.
We, we work with a lot of companies who are, undergoing digital transformation.
Jeff Coyle: And if that’s you do that, it will be a good thing. I’ve heard so many case studies it’s really awesome. All right. Thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. Go check out the replay replay archive, and I will say one more time.
Thank you so much. Cheers.
Charles Warnock: Appreciate the opportunity.
Bryan Ehrenfreund: Bye-bye thank you.