Six ways to get your sales team to use your collateral
Do your sales people use the marketing collateral you work so hard to develop?
If you're like most marketers, the answer is either a qualified “yes” — or a more honest “no.”
There are many reasons sales people don't use the collateral provided to them:
• They aren't aware the pieces exist
• The messaging is ineffective
• The format doesn't support how they sell
• They can't find the pieces when they need them
• They're not sure which versions are the latest ones
• Prospects and clients don't respond to them
• They don't advance the sales process or close deals.
When collateral goes unused, it isn't just a waste of the time and effort it takes to develop it. Precious marketing dollars that could go to better use are wasted, as well. Ineffective pieces also negatively impact the reputation of the marketing team that develops them. It gives sales people and a company's senior leaders a reason to cut marketing budgets and shift dollars to sales.
Here are six tested and proven things you can do to ensure your sales collateral is effective and gets used.
1. Only create collateral when you have input — and buy-in — from your sales team.
The most common mistake marketers make: Developing collateral and not consulting with the sales people who will use it. People out in the field selling know exactly what they need to support conversations and close deals. Bringing them into the development process will ensure the pieces will get used.
Meet with members of your sales team regularly to find out what sales support materials are effective and which pieces are not. Work together to identify gaps in the collateral library.
Go one step farther and make a small investment in a sales enablement system like the one offered by Mobile Locker. It will make it easy to get insights on your collateral direct from your sales team in real time. This provides the information required to be more responsive to their needs. It's a great way to build the credibility of your marketing team.
2. Provide training on how to use collateral.
Another reason pieces go unused: Sales people have no idea when or how to use them. Make it a point to provide training on new and updated pieces. Training doesn't have to take place in person. In fact, virtual resources, such as demo videos or online cheats sheets, are usually better ways to go. Sales people can access the training materials when it's convenient and revisit them over time. Virtual training can also be updated based on feedback and best practices from people using the collateral.
3. Make it simple for sales people to find the collateral they need, when they need it.
In many cases, collateral goes unused because sales people don't know where or how to find the latest versions. That's why it's critical to make it available in one easy-to-access location.
Do this by distributing all your assets through a single content management system, such as a server, database or through the cloud. Many small business prefer to invest in a sales enablement system with content management capabilities like the one offered by Mobile Locker.
It's usually the better way to go, especially when compared to systems marketers cobble together on their own. It's a small investment that will pay off in a big way because sales people working in today's fast-paced world will be able to find what they need, any place, any time. This will help close more deals.
Tip: Include training information in your content distribution system. It makes it more likely that sales people use pieces as intended.
4. Categorize collateral in a meaningful way.
Storing your latest collateral in a centralized library is a great first step toward getting organized. You should also identify and label your pieces in a clear and understandable way. Many marketers code collateral using systems that make sense to them, but not to the members of their sales team.
Work together with your sales people to come up with a system that is effective for sales and marketing. Categories could be based on many factors, including:
• When in the sales process the piece gets used
• Date the piece is released
• Expiration date of the collateral
• Type of collateral (brochure, video, info graphic, slide show)
• Type of meeting (over-the-phone, in-person, conference)
• Purpose of collateral (explain, educate, close)
• How it's delivered (print, smartphone, big screen).
You will likely find that employing a combination of these these factors makes the most sense. Working together to find a mutually beneficial solution — and revisiting it over time — will ensure that it's easy for sales people to find what they're looking for and for marketers to manage the library.
Tip: Don't limit your categorization to the titles of pieces. Most people don't remember the names of brochures, presentations and forms.
5. Use keywords in your categorization system.
How do you typically search for information? Most people use keywords to find what they're looking for in Google and other search engines.
Apply common keywords to your sales content categorization system. Using simple descriptive terms makes it easier for your sales people to find pieces.
Not sure what keywords to include in your system? Ask! Your sales people will he happy to explain how they search for materials.
6. Integrate your collateral system with existing tools.
If your collateral distribution is completely separate and apart from all the other tools your sales team use, it won't be adopted.
A sales enablement system with collateral distribution capabilities, such as Mobile Locker, can be easily customized to work with existing systems, processes and procedures. It is a simple add-on to what your sales people are already doing, not something new they need to learn and get access to.
What are you waiting for? Isn't it time for you to do everything possible to ensure your collateral is effective, gets used AND helps close more sales? Get started today!
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