Sales collateral that connects with the needs of customers and helps move the sales cycle forward doesn’t have to be challenge, but it often becomes one.
Content gets buried in digital catacombs with no clear identifiers or ways to find it. The sales team is confused about when in the sales cycle to introduce the best, most effective content piece. No one is tracking which types of collateral get the most customer traction.
The reasons that sales collateral often goes unused are endless, but there is a way out: create a clear process for how sales and marketing (a.k.a. your power couple) can combine their strengths to thrive.
Build a Clearly Defined Library, Not a Virtual Haystack
It’s time to end the content chaos and create a clear plan for content sharing that gives your sales team the tools they need—minus the headache and confusion about how and when to share specific collateral at key points in the sales cycle.
According to the Aberdeen Group, “Up to 65% of B2B content goes unused.” Not only is that development time wasted by the marketing department, but it keeps potentially valuable tools out of the sales team’s arsenal.
In addition, companies often focus on content that drives customer behavior but ignores the internal reach, comprehension, and impact of the same content in regard to their employees.
How can you get customers to buy into marketing speak your own sales team doesn’t even understand? You can’t—that’s why it’s so important to give your teams what they need to be successful.
Make Your Sales Team Part of Your “Power Couple”
Organize sales collateral via a consistent, centralized system that’s easy to access and use.
Content type, keyword tags, or a specific step in the buyer’s cycle are all useful (and relevant) filters. Pick a few key criteria that make sense for your business model and how you work with customers, and create a consistent tagging process to make future searches easy.
Explain how specific sales collateral matches up to a specific step in the sales process.
There’s no way for the sales team to read your mind, so make it easy for them to grab marketing content relevant for a specific sales situation. Sometimes whitepapers or eBooks are the best way to educate the customer and get them interested; other times it’s about telling the customer how you’re better than the competitor through clear, specific talking points. Be sure to clarify the call to action that goes with each piece of sales collateral.
Connect with the sales team to get aligned on buyer personas and create materials that cater to their biggest hot buttons.
When you engage the team that spends the most face time with customers, you’re getting firsthand insight on what customers need and what the sales team lacks in order to get a sale. Set a quarterly review time with the sales team to review sales collateral and get clear feedback on what’s working and what falls flat.
Make it easy for sales to track the usefulness of specific content pieces for future reference.
Get the sales team invested in blowing through their own sales goals by tracking what works and sharing that information internally with other team members. Measure the success with a clear, simple rating system. Ownership goes a long way and makes sharing a no-brainer—if there’s an easy process for it.
Keep the lines of communication open with your sales team.
Talk about what sales collateral is most effective right now and keep them up to date about material in the works that will ease a specific pain point for them (and the customer).
If you really want your sales and marketing team to reach “power couple” status, make a few of these tweaks in your content management process to provide sales collateral that’s accessible, relevant, and trackable.