How to Get Sales Reps to Use Your Marketing Materials

Twenty percent of marketing materials or MORE never get used. Here’s how to stop the madness.

Studies show that, depending on the type of business, 20 percent of marketing materials are never used by salespeople. Some research pins the number at more than half.

That’s a huge waste of marketing dollars — and effort — that could be used for better, more productive things. Few organizations can afford that kind of waste.

The good news: It’s easy to avoid the mistakes marketers make that result in materials that salespeople are unwilling or unable to use.

Here are some of the most common miss-steps along with tips on how to avoid them.  

1. Lack of research and testing

Market research and testing may seem expensive and unnecessary for most small- to mid-sized businesses. However, it’s absolutely necessary. It provides the information required to develop:

  • Products and services customers want
  • Marketing materials they respond to
  • Messages that resonate with them.

Research and testing don’t have to be costly or time-consuming. It can be as simple as buying some of your current customers a cup of coffee or lunch and asking them questions about your business and how they perceive it. An informal conversation in a friendly location will make them feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

Another option is to email them a survey and incentivize them to complete it with a gift card for a favorite coffee shop, music service or other items they value. The gift card doesn’t have to be for a large amount. Five or ten dollars is often enough to get people to take action.

Another option: Promote a series of test messages and images in social media to people within your target audience. Even with a limited spend, you’ll be able to see what they respond to.

Once you have a baseline understanding of your clients and have developed content based on it, distribute it through a sales enablement system, like the one offered by Mobile Locker. It provides data that will help you understand what content is working and what’s not in real-world sales situations. This allows you to continue optimizing your messages and materials over time.

Consider your sales enablement system the ultimate form of ongoing market research and testing.

2. Wrong focus and positioning

One of the primary reasons marketing materials don’t get used is because they don’t speak to the needs of the audiences they’re intended for. Too often, pieces focus too much on what companies want to say and too little on what their customers want to hear.

A solid sales enablement process and system makes it easier for sales and marketing to identify messages and materials that buyers respond to and figure out when it’s time to update them as economic conditions, consumer demand, technology, and other factors change.

3. No unique selling proposition

Can you quickly explain what makes your firm different and why someone should do business with it?

If you can’t, how can you expect people in your customer base to feel compelled to buy from you?

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the statement that clearly defines what makes you stand out from your competitors. It should be used in all your marketing materials and sales pitches. Find a way to boil it down to thirty seconds or less so your sales reps can deliver it as an “elevator pitch” when they have limited time to explain your business to prospects.

Tip: Your sales enablement system will help you keep track of how your customers respond to your USP in marketing materials and through sales interactions over time. It will let you know whether it’s still resonating with them or needs to be adjusted.

4. Communicating with current clients

Many marketers, when developing communication materials, put most of their focus and effort on attracting new business. However, research shows that, depending on the type of company, almost 80 percent of business could be generated from current customers.

If you use a sales enablement system, you have access to data that identifies what percentage of your business could come from current clients, along with information on the best ways to communicate with them. This will help you figure out how to balance your marketing strategies between clients and prospects so you optimize the amount of business you’re able to do with each.

5. No consistency

Successful marketing is all about being consistent. This includes:

  • A uniform branded look and feel to your materials, website, emails, social posts, and other content
  • Consistent messaging and tone across all media channels and sales interactions
  • A regular cadence and sequencing of the content you produce, publish and distribute.

One-off campaigns or inconsistent messages confuse customers when they aren’t paid off on your website or when they meet with a sales rep. Confusion damages consumer confidence in your firm, which leads to fewer closed deals.

Prevent this by taking time to map out your end-to-end sales and marketing process along with the messages and content that go along with each step. It will help you determine whether you’re telling a consistent and coherent story. Distributing the content through a sales enablement system will help you identify breakdowns or inconsistencies in your messaging and where in the sales cycle they’re happening.

6. Focusing too much on content creation and too little on distribution

Many marketers, especially those that come from creative rather than analytical backgrounds, put a lot of effort into developing sales content and materials and very little on the distribution of it. This is one of the top reasons pieces go unused. Sales reps simply don’t know that the content exists or they are unable to find it.

A sales enablement system makes it easy for marketers to distribute content effectively and efficiently to sales reps. It also provides training on how to use the materials and data to identify which reps are using them and which are not. It makes it easier to contact them, to find out why they’re not and encourage them to take advantage of the pieces available to them.

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