When it comes to sales and marketing types, they want to like each other. In fact, in my experience, they want to love each other! After all, sales and marketing work towards a common goal — generating more revenue. But the fact remains that as long as sales relies on marketing to help close deals, and marketing relies on sales to get the company message out, there’s bound to be conflict.
Failure to Communicate
Sales wants very specific, personalized content that they can find at a moment’s notice. Marketing feels that they publish volumes of content (and they do — but 65% of it can’t be found), and they’re sensitive to changing content because it changes the company message. In the end, we have two mission-critical groups with a common goal — but different ways of getting there — and mounting frustration.
I think it’s worth mentioning that in the not-so-distant past, the sales and marketing conflict was usually about lead quality. Sales didn’t think marketing delivered high enough quality leads, and marketing never knew if sales did anything with the leads they delivered. Marketing automation fixed this issue, and marketing can now easily see how their programs perform and can have educated discussions with sales around data regarding leads, rather than the subjective views about what’s working and what’s not.
This is where we’d all ideally like to get with content, and with a little effort, it’s possible to get there! A sales enablement solution is to content what marketing automation was to leads. It’s a game-changer, and while many organizations are getting on board with sales enablement, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
How It Often Is
As a marketer, I have direct experience working on the creation side of the content conundrum. In a previous role at a high-tech company, I spent a lot of time and energy (and money!) creating extensive marketing campaigns to target specific accounts with specific demographic profiles. I segmented campaigns by industry, department, even job title, and then developed thorough builds of materials (BOMs) to make sure the message landed as intended. Distribution involved putting them into Box, uploading SharePoint, and emailing sales reps.
The problem, of course, was that once the materials left my hands, POOF! I lost all visibility into how they performed or were modified once they were in the hands of the sales reps. This, of course, was no fault of sales — there simply wasn’t a system in place to methodically track usage and results.
How It Can Be
Now that I’m working at Highspot, I truly feel empowered (and admittedly spoiled). My process for content creation isn’t vastly different: I do the research you’d expect to develop a campaign and work with the right people to create the assets, depending on the target audience.
The difference is in the management and distribution. Now, I load an asset into Highspot — like a presentation or email template for sales rep use — and can immediately measure its impact, even if it’s modified.
This data lets our entire marketing team know where to focus our efforts — what to keep doing, stop doing, or do differently. This has helped end the sales/marketing battles I was so used to having in the past. There’s no need to argue because we can all see what’s working and what’s not, and marketing can snap to what sales needs with confidence because the feedback isn’t hearsay — it’s actually what’s happening in the field.
When you can map content back to revenue results, you can optimize content over time with ease. When marketers know what works, we know where to focus energy and can build a well-informed roadmap of content to better help sales in the future. The content usage report is a crucial tool in my toolbox because it tells me in black and white terms what sales is using — and what they’re not. Sales likes it too, because they have the ability to easily report back client feedback on each piece of content they use. In other words, it’s worthwhile to provide feedback because their voices are heard.
I think one of the most amazing aspects of using a sales enablement solution to manage content is being able to prove ROI on each piece of content. Not only does an ROI report end the content finger-pointing between sales and marketing, but it shows the actual value of content in the sales cycle.
If you’re considering a sales enablement solution, good! Evolution of sales and marketing processes are both inevitable and essential to long-term success. By embracing a sales enablement process, you can capitalize on the power of technology to transform your content engine.