While wit, skill, charm, and luck all play an important factor in closing a sale, there is something to be said about how a much of an impact collaboration between your sales team and marketing team can have on business success.
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 a broken or flawed sales strategy. What’s more, Salesforce states that 73% of sales teams say cross-functional collaboration with marketing is imperative to the sales process.
When it comes to collateral and content, here’s what the most effective marketers use to mitigate these problems, empower sales with the assets they need to increase their sales performance, and enact strong sales enablement.
The aforementioned Demand Gen Report study also found that “both [marketing and sales] camps need to adopt consistent and integrated use of systems in order to work together effectively.”
One category of technology helping drive this 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.
To help break down the communication barrier (issue #1 that plagues marketing and sales teams), marketers should seek the feedback from their sales counterparts and understand their needs when planning which marketing assets to create.
A good starting point is asking, “what does the buyer need?” What could help sales engage with potential customers more frequently or help push along prospects through the customer journey? On what channels? What else do team members need to capture more leads?
When sales and marketing collaborate on answering these questions around content development, they can decide on themes, messaging, and campaigns based on learnings from sales teams actively working with prospects. To further accelerate sales success, conduct a sales analysis at the end of the sales cycle to discover further opportunity for collaboration.
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 and goals. When you deliver content that’s been requested by a sales rep, make them your champion among their peers to help bridge the divide.
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 become susceptible to noncompliance risks.
With locked and editable content, marketers can be confident sales can act as brand stewards and are only using approved assets. However, sales needs some freedom to do what they do best – engage key customers and prospects. Enter content personalization, or the act of adapting different types of content to individual consumers based on their personal data available.
Content personalization not only helps enhance the customer’s experience by providing them with the right content at the right time, but it also increases the chance of sales to successfully target individual prospects. It’s no wonder why 92% of marketers reported using personalization in some way, whether through email, on their website, mobile app, or other channels.
With sales enablement marketing, the sales team can access all of the content they need to succeed while still keeping brand identity consistent. By having a bank of locked and editable content, marketing can ensure details and sensitive information that have been approved by legal aren’t jeopardized, 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, a graphic for Twitter, or a custom email campaign.
Allowing salespeople to pick and choose which customized assets to present to customers is an easy and effective way to maintain brand equity, while still giving sales the flexibility they need to close more business.
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 reps to find any type of company logo they need in various formats for all lead generation campaigns.
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-resolution version of an outdated logo to a potential lead.
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 quickly. Rather than waiting for them to copy and paste a list of customer addresses into their Outlook BCC field, give them access to send approved HTML messages from your Marketing Asset Management tool, integrated into your ESP or marketing automation system.
Marketers should allow sales to merge a customer name into the imagery and use pre-approved messages and templates so that the campaign can be sent from an individual sales rep. With access to this approved content, the sales process can be streamlined while keeping brand identity consistent.
Sales teams know that the more touch points they’re able to have with a customer, or prospect, the better. By giving sales the tools they need to do what they do best, marketers can empower their allies in sales toward a common goal.
For more information on how to build a successful sales enablement strategy and further unify sales and marketing teams, download our “5 Crucial Components of a Winning Sales Enablement Strategy” eBook for free here.