Is your sales team actually using the marketing content and assets you produce?
After all, the purpose of sales enablement tools is to decrease the time and energy needed to close each deal. Providing your sales organization with compelling collateral and helpful solutions should give them the boost needed to increase conversions and keep their sales funnel full.
So, why aren’t they using them?
If you are one of the many marketers out there feeling as if you’re just producing content to send into a black hole—it’s time to ask yourself an important question.
Did your sales team ask for these resources?
Tip No. 1: Ask your sales team what they want
You may have invested in the latest sales tools—such as Decisionlink, Evernote and Contactually—or had your designer create a dynamic infographic or ROI calculator, but if your sales team doesn’t use them—it’s a waste of your time and budget.
Establish monthly meetings with your sales organization so you can get a better understanding of what support they actually want from you. Take the time (and often the criticism that comes with it) to evaluate existing marketing assets to see what is working and what gaps need to be filled. Investing in modular sales presentations, an animated demo video, new case studies and customizable email templates may be better options than subscribing to another time-consuming application or producing lengthy white papers.
Tip No. 2: Tell your sales team what they need
Request a seat at the weekly sales meetings. Use this as an opportunity to listen and learn. Doing so will provide you with a greater understanding of your unique sales cycle. Chances are you will start to hear common themes. Use your expertise to evaluate solutions—such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Advanced Search options—so you can make recommendations that will address the challenges discussed.
For example, you may hear about a big meeting scheduled with a new prospect next month. Perhaps one of the prospect’s requirements is staying compliant with government regulations. Use this as an opportunity to write a new blog post or create a relevant solution brief to address these concerns in advance of the meeting. Chances are your sales-focused counterparts haven’t thought to ask for these tools that could potentially help close the deal.
When your sales team knows you are basing decisions on listening to their needs versus on what is perceived as the latest tactic, you will find the tools you provide are leveraged more.
Tip No. 3: Ask the same in return
While it may be your job to create all of the content and resources your sales organization needs to be successful, it is not your job to chase down individual team members to obtain feedback. Request that a member of the sales organization sit in on a recurring marketing meeting. Ask him or her to come prepared to share how marketing assets were used and to provide collective feedback from the team.
Create a required field in your lead tracking tool that allows sales to align each lead to its associated campaign/tactic. Tracking these lead sources will enable you to determine if the lead converts and evaluate the ROI of each campaign. It also allows you to understand if your marketing strategy is working with different clients and at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Finally, saving all of your sales enablement tools in the cloud—using a service such as Dropbox or Box—will ensure your sales team has immediate access from anywhere. Organizing content into individual folders by type, solution addressed or stage in the buying cycle, will encourage repeat visits while deleting old files when adding new will enforce version control.
While the challenge is often complex, the solution here is as simple as listening, asking and telling. They key is that the telling is based on listening and understanding needs before offering solutions. Using these tips to establish and maintain this open dialogue with sales will ensure you’re exerting your efforts to create valuable content that will be well-received—and most importantly, used.