According to the American Marketing Association, up to 90 percent of marketing content isn’t used by sales reps.
That statistic should make marketers completely rethink how they create content.
Sure, we all know some marketing pieces simply don’t work out as intended and won’t get used. But 90 percent! Even if the figure is overstated, any percentage of collateral going unused is too much.
This issue can be traced back to two MAJOR disconnects:
- Between marketers AND their sales teams
- Between marketers AND their customers.
The common denominator is MARKETING. Here are five things that cause disconnects between marketers and the reps they develop content for and their customer base. I’ve also included tips and best practices on how to build better connections that will help ensure marketing content gets used.
Marketing develops content that doesn’t align with the buyer journey.
When sales reps move prospects from initial awareness of your products or services to closing deals, they need content to support every step of the journey. Depending on the offering, the process can be short and simple (hours or days) or long and complicated (weeks to months) one.
One size — or piece of content — doesn’t fit all.
For every step of the buying process, prospects have different information needs, questions, and objections. If the content created by marketing doesn’t provide the right information or track with the sales process, it’s useless to buyers and sales reps.
Marketers can remedy this by developing or reviewing personas of your target customers. Identify their information needs — along with the questions they might ask — at every step of the buying journey. Also, come up with strategies and messages to overcome common objections.
Once marketing has gathered all this information, the team can create content buyers will connect with and salespeople will want to use.
Content is created in a vacuum.
In too many organizations, marketing and sales work in isolation, rarely coming together.
Sales reps interact with prospects.
Marketers create content.
The two groups never step outside of their silos to figure out how marketing can more effectively support sales — or what ideas marketing might have for salespeople to better connect with prospects.
Breaking down silos takes work. Some proven ways to do this include:
- Inviting sales reps to marketing team meetings. Salespeople offer insights about what they’re experiencing in the field. They provide input on what marketing needs to develop to support their everyday interactions with buyers. Marketers, in return, share ideas about how salespeople could sell more effectively. Open, two-way dialogue must be encouraged.
- Working together with sales, marketing should identify content-related gaps and issues and create an actionable plan to address them. It doesn’t end there. Marketing must gather ongoing input from sales to ensure progress is being made and reps’ needs are being met.
When it comes time for annual planning, sales and marketing should work together to come up with a common set of goals. This will ensure the two groups will partner to achieve them.
Breaking down silos is a win-win-win for marketing, sales AND your customers.
Marketing doesn’t provide information about new content.
At many companies, marketing doesn’t:
- Inform salespeople that new support materials are available
- Offer training on how to use them
- Explain where they can be found
- Provide opportunities to offer feedback.
Assuming that reps can figure things out by themselves is one of the key reasons marketing efforts fail. Marketers invest time and energy creating content. They should take the additional step to make sure it gets used correctly.
At a minimum, marketers should provide reps with information including:
- The target audiences content is intended to be used with
- The parts of the sales journey it supports
- Instructions about how it should be used
- Examples of how to use it effectively
- Where to find it
- How to provide feedback.
Did you know: Mobile Locker’s sales enablement system makes it easy to inform salespeople about new pieces, train reps on how to use them, monitor usage, measure effectiveness and gather real-time feedback?
Marketing doesn’t make it easy for reps to find or access content.
According to recent research, sales reps spend at least 25 percent of their time looking for — or creating — content. That takes a lot of time away from selling.
If your sales team can’t find content or access it when and where they need it, they won’t use it even if it’s great.
Marketers must get out of their mindsets to organize and come up with a way to distribute materials so it aligns with how reps think and sell. At very least, it should be categorized so it’s clear to salespeople:
- who it should be used with
- what part of the sales process it’s intended to support
- what types of interactions it’s meant for.
Did you know: Mobile Locker’s sales enablement system makes it easy for reps to find and access the content they need any place, any time, with or without wifi?
Marketing creates content that can’t be customized.
Even though your business may have personas to represent different buyer types, no two customers are exactly alike. That’s why sales reps want to personalize materials for their client meetings. Unfortunately, marketing often doesn’t want to cede control of pieces to sales and they’re not sure how to find ways to customize it in controllable ways.
A little collaboration between sales and marketing — and a modern sales enablement system like the one offered by Mobile Locker — makes it easy to create content that can be quickly and easily customized prior to meetings. An experienced Mobile Locker rep will explain how and share other best practices about connecting marketing with sales and your customer base. Contact us today to learn more.