The Importance of Marketing Visibility into Outside Sales Activities
Have you seen the recent video in the Huffington Post that showed the first day of kindergarten from the point of view of a new student? A curious and proactive father strapped a GoPro on his daughter and was able to see all of her adventures unfold. This father was curious of his daughter’s experiences, similar to how marketers feel when their outside reps go out into the world. Without visibility into reps’ activities, marketing is left wondering what sales materials are working, which ones aren’t, and whether the outside sales reps are adequately equipped to succeed. But since marketers can’t strap GoPros on everyone, this curiosity is left unsatisfied.
Marketing should have visibility into the activities of all their sales reps. The importance of visibility is doubled for outside sales reps because they are rarely in the office and don’t always have the availability to establish a cadence of regular face-to-face communication with marketing. However, creating visibility for marketing should still be a priority. Here’s why:
1. Understand how sales reps use content
According to a study by SiriusDecisions, about two-thirds of the content that marketing creates goes unused. But marketing has no idea what content is irrelevant and what content is simply unfindable by sales reps. With visibility into the activities of outside sales reps, marketing knows what content reps use the most often, and what isn’t used at all. This kind of information allows marketing to focus their efforts on the types of content that resonate with prospects and eliminate ineffective content.
2. Create tailored content for specific selling situations
Forrester Research shows that 78% of executive buyers claim salespeople do not have relevant examples to share with them. But an informed marketing team can create an arsenal of personalized content to keep buyers interested. Adequate visibility into sales activities can also help marketers determine which parts of the sales cycle are relatively unsupported by existing collateral and focus their efforts accordingly. The days of not having quality collateral for each specific buyer and stage of the sales cycle are over!
Achieving visibility doesn’t have to be difficult. While strapping on a GoPro to each of the outside sales reps is a bit unrealistic, other methods are just as effective in making outside sales activities transparent. An adequate sales enablement strategy provides a wide array of tools and capabilities to facilitate visibility. Some important ones are:
1. A single content repository
With a single content repository, sales reps can find what they need in one place, allowing marketing to better control what sales reps are using. Marketing can rest assured that sales reps aren’t using ad hoc, outdated or irrelevant collateral. A single content repository lets marketing know that sales reps are only using on-brand and on-message collateral, boosting company consistency and credibility.
2. Content usage analytics
With detailed content usage analytics, marketing can tell when and how sales reps use each piece of collateral. These analytics are the key to helping marketing understand which types of content sales reps find the most useful, giving marketing the ability to focus on creating only effective, valuable content.
3. Open lines of communication
Open lines of communication allow outside sales reps and marketers to collaborate through continuous and direct feedback loops. The two teams can communicate which strategies are working and which ones need to be improved. When sales reps have ways to see how prospects interact with content, such as automatic notifications when prospects open and view email attachments, both sales and marketing have a better idea of how specific pieces of collateral are performing. This automatic feedback provides an additional layer of visibility that allows sales and marketing to collaborate, communicate and increase effectiveness.
Visibility into the activities of sales reps allows marketing to provide them with better collateral, and through this alignment, better support them in the field. During a time when companies need to effectively differentiate themselves from their competitors, improving marketing visibility into outside sales activities may provide the marketing and sales alignment your company needs to get ahead of the competition.