Consistency in the context of data refers to the process of making sure that stable, uniform and updated information is available to all levels of a company. Most often it is the marketing materials and sales collateral that need to maintain data consistency. Most sales representatives in a company are spread geographically in different states, areas or even globally. These representatives spend a lot of their time in field. They need to carry around all the materials, not knowing when the need may arise for them to use it.
Receiving the content should not be a difficult task for the sales reps, but when it comes to managing it, all goes haywire. For example, a medical sales rep during a sales meeting was asked for the price list of medications. While he rumbled through his briefcase, filled with samples and brochures, he could sense the impatience rising in the doctor sitting next to him. The sales rep hurried to find the latest price list which he had received that morning. He finally picked one out and handed it over to the doctor. The doctor immediately placed a large order for all three clinics that he runs. Unfortunately, the sales rep did not realize that he had given the old list. When the doctor was informed about the mistake, and that the prices had been raised, he was unwilling to pay more than what the list he had been shown stated. Imagine the impact of this minuscule mistake for the company. Loss of revenue, customer frustration and sales person frustration Because of situations such as this, content management is one of the biggest problems faced by sales and marketing teams.
Studies shows that up to 60% of the collateral generated by marketing is never used by sales. A wide gap of miscommunication between marketing and sales is the glaring reason behind this. In response to an inquiry from a potential lead, a sales person usually sends the prospect the standard sales package prepared by the marketing. This package consists of a gorgeous folder: a corporate brochure, datasheets, an annual report, recent press releases, a white paper, a CD ROM and a personal cover letter. Most of these materials go unread and the sales team ends up frustrated with the marketing team for creating monotonous content.
For years, traditional sales and marketing collateral were mostly in these forms. These have been important tools for most B2B marketing and sales departments. It came as no surprise that collateral distribution had to find a better way.
The traditional forms are no longer viable because of the following drawbacks:
Stale information: Every now and then, the marketing team will update the content to be used by the sales team. The sales team will many times overlook the revised content when the need arises. A presentation sent to the customer is outdated the moment a change is made. It becomes more and more difficult for a sales rep to track which version was sent to which customer, because the information is no longer uniform. This could lead to loss of potential customers.
Multiple versions of collateral lead to chaos: As mentioned above, the marketing team comes up with new versions of documents. Every change leads to a new version which does not get revised on its own. The sales rep has to keep track which often creates chaos since multiple versions are created. The team needs to have the most recent collateral handy in the heat of the moment with no hesitation.
Tendency to skip the latest version: Each time a change is made in the content, it is sent out by marketing. Even if it is a small change the sales people have to update their sales presentation with the newest version. It is only natural for a sales person to inadvertently skip some of the collateral provided, or get mixed up with the versions. Each time the sales person has to swim in and ever deepening ocean of files.
Companies have begun to realize that a key to sales and business success lies in the efficient management of their digital content. It is understood that collateral sets in any industry have grown so large that they are awkward to work with using standard content management tools. Therefore, companies are moving towards cloud based technology for storage needs.
There are many benefits of bringing sales and marketing data storage into the cloud age:
- The content of marketing and sales can easily be revised by the marketing team and accessed anytime and anywhere.
- Cloud based content can be confidential and highly secure.
- Recovery of content in an event of loss of it is no longer a problem
All content is automatically synced to all devices for instant updates.
- Cloud technology reduces the budget needed for IT infrastructure.
- Cloud based storage is invisible; it won’t take up valuable space in a sales reps briefcase.
- Cloud technology allows teams to collaborate on all updates and share it with any number of sales or marketing people in just one click.
- Data consistency is no longer a challenge; therefore the gap between sales and marketing is covered.
There are many players in the market that offer cloud technology, a few among them are: Box, Dropbox, Google Cloud Storage, Microsoft OneDrive, ownCloud, FireDrive and more. These are targeted for different operating systems and devices and come in handy for storage purposes. But, there are very few who are tailor made, keeping the sales and marketing challenges in mind. There is no doubt that sales and marketing teams have a single aim- to increase revenue for the business, however the approach and focus of each is quite different.
Therefore, sales and marketing must use software that will fit their individual needs. They need software that not only gives storage feasibility but much more. They must have cloud based sales enablement software that helps with centralizing the digital content. Sales enablement software can solve the data inconsistency issues. It will also bridge the miscommunication gaps between sales and marketing teams, since sales enablement software will not just take care of all the content storage but also management needs and more.
If your company is keen on bridging the gap between sales and marketing, visit Brandificant- sales enablement software. Brandificant not only facilitates content management but also provides interactive presentation features with real time analytics.
For more information on how Brandificant can help, contact us.