According to analyst firm, SiriusDecisions, 60-70% of marketing content in organizations goes unused. Another study found that lost sales productivity and wasted marketing budget costs companies at least $1 trillion a year. That’s a huge number most organizations can’t afford to lose, especially in the healthcare industry where budgets cuts are looming.
Two of the biggest causes behind this epidemic are symptoms of a distribution problem. Field teams spread out across different territories don’t know the content exists, or they simply can’t find it, leading to an extraordinary level of waste.
This issue commonly manifests itself in the form of sales teams complaining they don’t have what they need to close deals. On the flip side, the marketing team complains that Sales isn’t using the content they’ve already created. Sound familiar?
Ultimately, both teams are responsible for the success – or failure – of a content and collateral strategy. After all, these teams are operating against the same goal – engaging with customers, and prospects, to drive revenue for the company, with compliance regulations in mind.
Below are four strategies marketing leaders in healthcare industries (pharmaceutical, diagnostics, biotech, medical device, hospitals, etc.) can deploy to help reduce confusion between Sales and Marketing
Step 1: Protect your field reps from liability
It’s critical for Marketing to work with Sales to create an internal process of content development and approval. And since the healthcare industry usually deals with heavy policy regulations, you’re probably not a stranger to strict approval processes.
In such a highly regulated industry, the fundamental role of Marketing Asset Management is to protect the sales team. In these environments, using the best, and most current collateral is not only good for the brand, it’s a matter of liability.
Any collateral that leaves your office and goes out into the field must not only align to brand standards with proper logos, formatting, and colors, it must also be compliant with industry statues. Position your approval efforts as protection – rather than nagging – and you’ll be seen as a helpful guardian, not a nuisance.
Step 2: Use content as an opportunity to find alignment
Without sales and marketing alignment, content itself suffers. Marketing professionals struggle to craft impactful collateral that resonates with customers without input from sales. What’s more, sales teams are less likely to adopt what is put out into the field it if they’re not part of the process up front.
Continuously loop in your field reps, building collateral that they’re going to use, and that will speak to the problems and needs of their doctors, patients, healthcare providers, hospitals, and healthcare organizations. By engaging sales early in the process, you’ll earn their attention as they experience their ideas coming to life.
One strategy to consider is to hold focus groups with sales to get constant feedback on:
Integrate feedback into a Marketing Asset Management platform that is used by both teams to easily access and distribute material. This self-serve marketing content portal gives teams access to a library of assets 24/7, from anywhere – at home, on their phone, or in a doctor’s office.
Step 3: Satisfy their need for custom content, with limitations
Inevitably, a member of the sales team will come across a situation where they need to customize marketing assets, whether to suit a specific client, advocacy event or product. If unable to convince a marketer to create a one-off piece of collateral, often, a well-meaning salesperson will “go rogue,” creating off-brand (and non-compliant) content.
This exposes the organization to risk of both liability and a disruption in brand continuity. Rather than wait for this to happen, give sales the ability to customize materials across a variety of formats – with limitations. This will also help the marketing team reduce time spent on one-off requests. It’s a win-win.
Powerpoint presentations, email signatures, flyers, and more can be built out, distributed, and customized in MarcomCentral, all with control over certain locked content areas.
By integrating MarComCentral with best-of-breed CRM tools like Salesforce.com, marketers and sales teams can further personalize content with prospect information such as name, address, and even product interest.
Further, by connecting into tools like Marketo, organizations can allow sales teams access to automated marketing campaigns to improve their practices and ensure consistency in both the digital and offline world.
Step 4: Communicate with sales about new content available
Often, Marketing needs to be their own internal advocate.
Be sure Sales is astutely aware when there are new updates to your marketing asset library by communicating to sales consistently.
If you leverage a marketing portal, update the home screen with the latest changes, letting them know what’s new, and how best to utilize it. Make it easy to find the latest assets and current information about the library.
Alternatively, when content is no longer valid, let users know what needs to be discarded by sending team-wide emails that new collateral is out of date, or newly available. If you have the opportunity to address the team on a call, use that as an opportunity as well.
Again, this will save the marketing team time in the long run and help Sales develop more of a self-service attitude. Make communications between the two a priority, and you will see how drastically this can improve your business.
See how Merz, a pharmaceutical company, updates their marketing materials in real-time to keep up with regulatory requirements and to make sure their field reps are using the most updated materials for their healthcare business.
Content and collateral can be a major source of strife, inefficiency, and waste for organizations who suffer from sales and marketing misalignment. However, if perceived as an opportunity, getting on the same page around this matter can instead be a chance to foster collaboration, build two-way communication, and improve the output of both teams.
More than 3.2 million assets have been downloaded from MarcomCentral’s Marketing Asset Management technology to-date. We like to think, in some way, we’re helping to bridge the gap between Sales and Marketing with every asset and are helping people find the healthcare marketing solutions and insights they are looking for.