It happens; sometimes you just need new content. Whether it’s an updated deck, a new infographic, or a conversation-generating blog post aimed at one prospect in particular, you already know what you need to increase your win rate. At many companies, a content refresh means making an ask to marketing, and with 60% of marketers creating a new piece of content each day, the odds are that your last-minute request might be fairly low on the priority list.

We already know that content is a huge influence on the buying process, and, in fact, the most influential type of content in the buying process is that which speaks to the buyer’s specific needs and/or pain points.

Sales knowledge: the most important qualities of content reviewed in the purchasing decision-making process (via Content Marketing Institute)Credit: Content Marketing Institute

With that in mind, how do you improve the chances that the marketing team will take up your ask — or even fast-track it? Here’s how to make a priority request to your content marketing team:

1. Mention the scope and impact at the top

Before you even touch on the timeframe, explain how large an effort you hope the project will be, and what kind of impact it will have. You might be way off on your effort estimation, but at least you’re giving the team an indication of what you think needs to happen.

lucille-bluth-banana“I mean, it's 15 slides to update, Michael; what can that take, 5 minutes?” — Lucille Bluth if she were a salesperson

By mentioning the impact (“Security has been a major concern of our prospects at Potential Lighthouse Account, and having this infographic could mean the difference between winning and losing it”), you’re giving the team an understanding of why they should prioritize your ask over other projects.

Remember to always be specific — and respectful of the time and expertise the marketer brings to the project. “I need X customer’s logo replaced in this deck. It should only take you 10 minutes! Let me know when I can access the deck again,” is a very different request from “I need X customer’s logo replaced on five slides in this deck because we’re going after their competitor. To my eyes, this is a fairly minor change, so my hope is that it should only take you 10 minutes.”

2. Ask up front if there’s any existing content you might have missed

Look, whatever your sales asset management tool, sometimes you just don’t really know what you have. The marketing team is closest to the content they create, and they genuinely want to see it used. It might be that the request you’re making can be served by an asset that’s been languishing in obscurity for two months.

When you make your ask, tell the marketing team explicitly that you’re happy to take their recommendation for existing content that could fill the gap you’ve identified. Once you take a look at that recommendation, you might still decide it doesn’t work, but you’ve done your due diligence, and can now request prioritization of your initial ask.

3. Commit to using the asset

Did you know that somewhere between 60% and 90% of marketing-created content goes unused by sales? There is nothing more frustrating to a marketer than having a fire drill request for content that is eventually discarded before it’s put in front of a customer. Your request is more likely to be prioritized if you can point to a specific way you plan to use the asset.

If it turns out that you don’t end up using it this time, it’s fine to send a follow up to the person who worked on it for you to explain why, and then to commit to finding another venue for it. Don’t wait for your marketing partner to message you two weeks later saying, “How did that content work out? Is there anything that they responded to (good or bad)?” and then respond with, “Oh, hah, sorry, didn’t end up using it after all!”

Sales knowledge playbook: Fast-tracking your content request

In the end, it’s all about partnership

Sales and marketing work best when they’re in alignment, but it’s important to remember that they serve different functions (and that’s OK!). You can, and should, use those specific, highly contextual conversations you have with prospects to make your overall content better by communicating to marketing what you’re hearing. That communication should empower your marketing org to create more usable content without you having to ask quite as often. Ultimately, mutual respect for the different roles of sales and marketing is the key to staying aligned.

But yes, sometimes you do have to make a request, and when you do, it’ll probably be time sensitive. By facilitating a respectful relationship with your partners in marketing, you’re more likely to get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to prioritizing last-minute content asks.

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