Careers in technology sales are very enjoyable, rewarding and challenging. Sales and marketing leadership must recognize the challenges experienced by their revenue generating colleagues. Major shifts in buyer behavior have led to customers gaining more control over the sales process than ever before. This is due, in large part, to the amount of company, product and competitive information that can be acquired without any human interaction. It’s now the responsibility of Sales to adapt to this new behavior by approaching prospects and customers as consultants. Becoming thought leaders via effective messaging and marketing resource usage is now the name of the game. Sales and marketing leadership collaborating to provide technologies that enable sales professionals to easily become content experts is paramount to adopting a Content Selling approach to revenue generation within the ultra competitive B2B technology marketplace.
Many technology organizations are increasing their investment in the creation of marketing collateral without providing tools that enable sales to easily discover, share and track the right assets for each interaction. Marketing often drops content into a shared drive, intranet, or internal-wiki, without any guidance towards it’s effective usage. It is far too commonplace for sales professionals to only share resources they are familiar with, despite the fact it’s often out-of-date and will not resonate with the intended party. Marketing may step away from their daily tasks to play content traffic cop, send out weekly emails with collateral updates or be directly approached by sales to help find the right content for each engagement. This is not sustainable and will keep sales and marketing from attaining their full potential.
To solve these universal pains, sales and marketing must align to create a Content Selling environment. As a Sales Professional, I have been on both sides of this problem. Previously, I was with a large technology hardware manufacturer. Hours of my week were lost to searching for marketing assets, which were stored in as many as six different web-based locations (none of which were my CRM!) I often resorted to sending the same high-level company content that had been saved on my hard-drive for months. My productivity and messaging effectiveness were severely limited and I frequently turned to my marketing colleagues to direct me to the right collateral locations, which was often time consuming and frustrating for all.
I am now with a SaaS company that has pioneered a Content Selling approach. Updated and relevant collateral is automatically recommended for use within my CRM. Those assets are aligned and based on important attributes to our sales process, such as customer industry, sales stage or solution of interest. Sales professionals here are notified when sent content is viewed by customers, and our marketing team creates reports about which assets are being used by sales and what assets are helping to advance campaigns and close opportunities.
Invest in Content Selling. Assisting sales professionals, like myself, to discover, share and track marketing collateral will only help to enhance the messaging and productivity for your entire Sales organization. Make your buyer’s journey more enjoyable and help your sales teams have an easier time selling for you.