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How Highly Regulated Industries Can Stop the Damage of Rogue Sales Collateral

By: Leslie Pinkerton, Marketing Content Manager, 5/18/17

Know the RulesGoing rogue. Straying off the reservation. Bucking the status quo.

However you describe it, the failure to follow approved processes is a widespread problem facing many organizations in highly regulated industries. There is real and tangible damage caused by collateral that is created by sales in the field, without regard to brand standards, legal compliance, or regulatory restrictions.

Out-of-date company information, unapproved promotions, quirky or unprofessional imagery, or non-compliant statements and product information can all work their way into company assets at the peril of a brand’s entire reputation.

It also opens the door for crazy levels of waste. According to the American Marketing Association, sales people spend about 30 hours a month creating their own materials – that’s a full week each month that could (and should) be spent engaging with prospects and customers.

What causes sales teams to go rogue?

30% of sales people polled by research and advisory firm IDC said their marketing collateral required customization to be useful. A further 41% say they don’t know what to use, how to use it effectively or when to use it.

This means if we’re going to prevent sales from opening the door to potential liability, we need to give them more access, and more freedom. Sounds counterintuitive, I know. But hear me out.

Greater access means greater compliance.

It’s simply astounding that 30 hours every month is wasted creating materials that likely already exist. With additional stats like 70% of marketing content going unused (SiriusDecisions) and $1 trillion a year wasted in lost sales productivity and wasted marketing budget (The B2B Lead), this issue has become a serious concern for marketing organizations expected to do more with less.

One tactic helping organizations, especially those with large field sales teams with heavy appetites for one-off assets, is to invest in Marketing Asset Management. This repository approach to a marketing library makes it easy for field reps to access every single approved piece of marketing content, at any time, from anywhere.

Not only is this scalable as the team grows, it removes the onus of hunting – or creating – content from that of the salesperson. From a regulatory standpoint, a centralized management tool makes it easy to identify which materials are compliant (rather than tracking down hundreds of assets individually.)

When finding materials is easy, fast and convenient, sales teams are more likely to play by the rules.

Freedom to customize.

A salesperson who creates their own version of a marketing asset does so because they believe they truly need to do so. Unless you’ve hired some truly heinous sales people, the vast majority of culprits in the rogue sales epidemic have good intentions. They simply want to customize assets to suit a particular need – so let them.

Lock down the things that matter – your brand standards (logo, colors, fonts, image usage) and that which needs legal review (from product information to various statements and messaging.)

Free up areas for personalization such as:

  • Prospect or customer identifying information (such as their name)
  • Relevant account information (product interest or industry)
  • Regional information (language or location-specific content)

The last thing a sales rep wants to do is create content. They want to be closing deals, and collecting their commissions. Make it easy for reps to find the content they need, and make it possible for them to tailor that content for specific prospects and opportunities. You’ll help them improve their response rates, and avoid opening the door to potential liability.

That’s a win-win.