80% of material provided by marketing to sales never gets used. It just gets ignored. Of the material that does get used, it’s fair to say that not all of it gets used well.
Part of the problem is that creating powerful sales tools is so hard that marketing teams – and agencies – often don’t give enough thought to adoption. People fall into the trap of thinking that their goal is to create a sales tool – when really, it’s to help people sell more – with a sales tool one good way to do that. An amazing sales tool that sales people don’t like or use isn’t really that helpful – or that amazing. Something that feels like more of a compromise but that gets used with have more impact.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
It doesn’t make sense to create a sales tool and then to throw it over the fence at sales. First, work with sales to find out what they need. When do they talk to prospects? What messages are they trying to articulate? What objections are they seeing? Where are competitors gaining ground? In summary, What conversations are sales people having?
Involving Sales in Creating Sales Tools
Involve sales in creating your sales messaging. They shouldn’t get to write it with no involvement from anyone else necessarily – but sales and marketing alignment ought to mean more than just agreeing what counts as a qualified lead. It also means discussing what conversations to have with prospective customers, and what messages to use at each stage of the sales funnel.
Sales Tool Quality and Sales Tool Adoption
Create something that’s got higher production values than anything that sales reps can create themselves in their hotel room before a big pitch. If you provide text-based slides to sales, there’s no reason why individuals can’t just start making edits and doing their own thing. Which can be terrifying in some heavily regulated industries… On the other hand, if you provide something that’s visual, animated, and generally compelling – most reps are going to realise that they can’t make their own version, and they will want to use what they’ve been given. PowerPoint slides like those in the Brainshark video above are hard for reps to better without spending years practicing slide design – yet they can still be supplied in such a way that text and figures can be updated by users – if that’s what you want.
Sales Presentation Training
One of the things you need to think about when creating and rolling-out sales tools is how you are going to teach reps to use them. At the very least – think about recording narration or a video and sending the tool out accompanied with a guide on how to use it. We like to record narration using Brainshark, attach slides to download from within the video presentation we provide, and to track who accesses the slides and who watches the recording.
Finally, if you can manage it, think about training. If you are providing an awesome new sales presentation, consider actually training your reps to use it. This sort of practical training goes down well with sales people – who would rather learn to deliver their presentation than sit through soft skills training on stuff like body language. More to the point, it’s the best way to ensure that sales people actually get the best out of the tools you provide.