Marketing Materials: Is Sales Using Them?
If you’re in marketing, you’ve probably created some awesome campaign assets only to find out that the sales team never used them. Or maybe you planned a customer event with a meaty agenda, but no one in Sales sent invites. You spend tons of time creating marketing materials and executing events and campaigns only to find Sales finds no value in them – and doesn’t share them.
So how do you create marketing materials Sales actually uses? You work with Sales as much as possible.
Know the Sales Strategy
First, you’ve got to bring Sales into the conversation. Ask them their top priorities so you know exactly how to best support them. Is their current focus in a specific industry, company size, or geography? Which products are they trying to emphasize? Decide together what accounts/markets you’ll focus on first. Wide adoption of account based marketing means you may already be coordinating on accounts. But when you understand the overall sales strategy, you can align your overall marketing efforts to what matters most.
Understand the Process
It’s not enough to understand the sales strategy. You need to understand the life of the sales rep. As a marketer, you’ve probably researched customer pain points. You maybe even developed persona maps to get to know specific customer segments. But how well do you understand Sales’ pain points? Put your persona mapping skills to work for them. Understand how they spend their day. Who do they communicate with the most? What material do they spend hours looking for in a response to a prospect’s request?
As you do this, you’ll learn about Sales’ pain points. It might be that they have no trouble getting a first meeting but they need more customer cases to close the sale. Or maybe customers ask for proof of ROI and Sales never has the latest numbers in the collateral they get from Marketing. When you know what your Sales team does to sell products that resolve customers’ pain points, you can help them do it faster, easier, and more frequently.
Make it Easy for Them
If you’ve created a persona map for your sales reps, one thing you probably found is that reps, even inside reps, are on their devices more than ever. Maybe the reason they never passed on your blog was they couldn’t easily share it from their device. Or maybe you aren’t publishing enough on LinkedIn, the place where they spend a lot of time. Make it easy for them to share your material. Take out all the admin steps so they can just focus on selling.
When you make it easy for Sales to use the materials you produce, you further your own goals. You help them adopt the brand voice, recruit them as brand ambassadors, and strengthen the brand.
Be a Service Provider
Ultimately, your work must drive sales. If you work in a vacuum, it won’t be long before you lose your job. Yes, it can be hard to prove your impact. But if Sales isn’t using your material because they don’t find it useful, the problem is yours.
Instead, think of Sales as your customer. This mindset shift can make all the difference.
How do you “sell more of your product” to them? What are they “buying” instead? You might learn that they find the Gartner Magic Quadrant report the most compelling info they can share. Instead of seeing them buying a “competitor’s” product, figure out what they find valuable in the Magic Quadrant report so you can serve their needs better with your in-house material.
Be There in the Last Mile
The last mile – the point where Sales attempts to close the deal – is often where things fall apart. Sales needs Marketing’s support. Again, if you’ve done a persona map for a sales rep, you’ll know that sales cycles can be long and painful. The better you know Sales, customers, and the strategy, the easier it will be for you to be the critical partner you need to be at this point.
Some marketers don’t include Sales in their work because they are afraid of losing control. That’s the wrong approach. The best Marketers partner with Sales and gain control over their work and help Sales do their best. When Sales and Marketing tightly align, good things happen. You get stronger brand awareness, better demand gen, and a shorter sales cycle. Invest in your relationship with Sales and watch your marketing efforts soar.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy and design agency.