More often than not, marketing teams are tasked with creating collateral to help spark interest with potential customers, move them along the sales funnel and win deals against competitors. From brochures & case studies to ROI calculators, this collateral takes time, effort and budget, which makes it that much more frustrating when you discover the sales team doesn’t use half the collateral you generate! So what are you doing wrong?
It’s not enough to just make content. You have to make content that’s directly applicable to the sales people’s needs and find ways to easily get that content into their hands. Here, we give 5 steps to getting sales using your collateral:
1. Work with sales on collateral ideas
This may seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised by how many teams skip this step. One of the sure-fire ways to get sales using your collateral is to actually ask them what they want and need – specifically, you need to know what their leads are asking for that they don’t already have. Whether it’s quarterly, monthly or weekly, schedule regular meetings with the sales team to touch base and get updates on what’s needed. From there, you can prioritize projects based on what’s requested and have a steady flow of collateral that will actually help with the sales process.
2. Make finding collateral easy and intuitive
It’s important to give salespeople a “single source of truth” for accurate, up-to-date collateral to ensure potential customers aren’t getting outdated information. This can be done by adding all your sales collateral into a digital asset management system, sales enablement platform or content hub. It’s not enough to keep all your collateral organized on hard drives or other hard-to-reach locations – if the process to get the collateral is too complicated, salespeople will likely choose to use old versions of brochures that they already have saved to their desktop.
3. Categorize your collateral in a meaningful way
Once all your collateral is in a central library, you want to make sure it’s as easy as possible for your sales team to find the resource they need. While getting your collateral in the library is important, if your sales team is spending hours hunting, it’s only a matter of time before they give up altogether. To make the process easier, you need to add intuitive categories that make logical sense to your sales team. Should you categorize it by stages in the buyer journey? What about by collateral type? The choice is ultimately up to you and your sales team, but a smart category structure is necessary to get sales finding and using your content.
4. Go a step further by keywording
While categorizing helps for easy browsing and searching, if your salesperson has a particular piece of content in mind, the ability to use a search bar can be a huge help. But searching should go so much further than just the title of the document. After all, how can you expect a team member to remember that your brochure is titled “Summer_2016_MVBrchr_V3”? This is where keywording comes in. By adding a few instinctual keywords to each piece of collateral, you’ll allow your sales team to easily find and use their favourite content. Take it even further by choosing a system that gives more robust searching options, such as by date added, file type and photographer.
5. Integrate with their existing tools
While we can do everything to get our collateral up into a DAM system or other repository and can tag and categorize all day long, let’s face it, it can be a pain to actually go and get the collateral from a separate system. From logging in to downloading PDFs & PPTs to your own files, the system can be long and dreary. That’s why arguably the most important step in getting your sales team to use your collateral is to integrate your library of assets into systems they already use for day-to-day interactions with prospective clients. Integrating with productivity solutions, such as Office 365, will let your salespeople insert videos, documents, and photos without leaving the platform, allowing them to easily draft media-rich presentations and send product information over their email. Providing direct access through these tools will allow salespeople to use your corporate-approved materials with minimal changes to their behaviour, reducing any resistance they may have.
Creating relevant content requires bringing your sales & marketing teams together both during the creative process and after the content is generated. When you get the sales team involved, you increase the likelihood that you make what they need and that your content actually gets used. By consistently following this process with your content marketing, you will be able to provide your sales teams with a healthy stream of collateral that will ultimately lead to opportunities and sales.