By: Leslie Pinkerton, Marketing Content Manager, 4/12/17
According to a study by Demand Gen Report and InsideView, the biggest challenges contributing to the rise of misalignment between marketing and sales are the lack of communication and broken or flawed processes.
When it comes to collateral and content, here’s what the most effective marketers use to mitigate these problems and empower sales with the assets they need to close more deals.
- A self-service asset portal
The aforementioned study also found that “both camps need to adopt consistent and integrated use of systems in order to work together effectively.”
One category of technology helping to drive alignment is Marketing Asset Management.
It allows sales teams to easily find, and even customize, approved marketing materials, putting both teams on the same page. It also quells the frustration of unavailable material, or worse, sales-created assets that are off-brand or unapproved.
- Sales feedback and insight
To help break down the communication barrier (issue #1 that plagues marketing and sales teams), marketers should seek the feedback and needs of their sales counterparts when planning which marketing assets to create and make available.
Ask; what do their customers need? What could help them engage with potential customers more frequently? On what channels? Hold sales focus groups and find out what formats sales needs.
If sales does go rogue and create their own collateral, a problem unto itself, use this as a learning moment, and a guide to better understand their needs. When you deliver content that’s been requested by a member of the team, make them your champion among their peers to help bridge the divide.
- Control, with customization
Regulated industries are under pressure to issue collateral that has been approved by legal. When sales teams create their own content, they can often lack the proper branding, disregard rules and regulations, or result in noncompliance risks.
With locked content, marketers can be confident their brand stewards in sales are only using approved assets – but sales needs some freedom to do what they do best, engage customers and prospects.
By giving sales a combination of locked and editable content, marketing can ensure details like branding and sensitive information that has been approved by legal stays safe, while sales can customize what they need to be highly relevant to customers. Depending on their needs, this could be used to prepare a Powerpoint for a meeting, flyers for an event, or to create a custom email campaign.
Allowing sales to pick and choose what will speak to their customers is an easy and effective way to maintain what you want to say about each product or service, while giving sales the flexibility they need.
- On-demand logos
How often are you asked by a salesperson to please, stop what you’re doing, and send them a specific logo? If your day is burdened by one-off requests for the same image, make it easy for sales to find any type of company logo they need in various formats.
Whether they’re sponsoring an event, or need a logo for print materials – the last thing you want is for them to do the dreaded Google Image search, and send a low-res version of an out-of-date logo. Shudder.
- Customizable emails
Email marketing is usually relegated to marketers. It’s even in the name.
But sales is notorious for wanting a fast and easy way to reach a set of prospects or customers quickly. Rather than waiting for them to copy and paste a list of customer addresses into their Outlook BCC field (oh, the horror), give them access to send approved HTML messages from your Marketing Asset Management tool, integrated into your ESP or marketing automation system.
Allow them to merge a customer name into the imagery, and use pre-approved messages and templates from marketing, while the campaign is sent from the individual sales rep.
Sales teams know that the more touch points they’re able to have with a customer, or prospect, the better. By giving sales what they need to do what they do best, marketers can empower their allies in sales towards a common goal.
It may seem, some days, that marketing and sales are at odds – especially when unapproved assets, non-compliant materials, or rogue sales-created content is shared with a customer. But, by fostering better communication, and shared use of the right technology, the relationship can be salvaged.