Sales to Marketing: TMI! Cutting Through the Clutter to Work Smarter

The key to reinvigorating sales and marketing productivity is through mobile content enablement. Organizations that learn to leverage technological innovations to their advantage will be better positioned to reap the benefits.

A majority of today's sales and marketing professionals are in an uninspired funk. Both teams need and feed off each other; however there seems to be less and less effective communication between them. Things are moving fast, new presentations, brochures, product datasheets and thought-leadership whitepapers are being created each day, but most aren't being used. Many sales teams think marketing is inundating them with information, while many marketing teams feel put off that all their hard work is sitting in a multitude of different repositories not being used. There is no feedback funnel as to what content is working, how often it's being used and who is using it. This is not a new problem, per se, but one that seems to plague just about every organization on the planet.

A research report by IDC magnifies the problem saying that as much as 80 percent of the content that marketing generates is not used by sales, even though most of it is created specifically for sales and channel enablement. Add to that, sales teams are by nature, mobile. One of the primary obstacles the mobile workforce faces is the inability to easily access to the right information, at the right time on their mobile devices. Sifting through countless presentations, collateral documents, and marketing research content across a multitude of content repositories is frustrating and counterproductive.

For marketing departments to create content that doesn't get utilized is a monstrous failure considering how much time and budget it takes to produce it. Research from the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) published in August of 2013 revealed that single largest budget item for major B2B organizations was collateral.Companies spent 16 percent of their annual dollars on creating and distributing marketing content-more than any other category.

But, what if there was a way for marketing to have greater visibility into the content that sales is using, how often they were using it, and how they were using it? This insight would enable marketing content producers/publishers the ability to optimize content that's not being utilized and to understand what content should be prioritized for creation. This is where the importance of intelligent measurement comes in. Centralizing on a single access point to all content with a means to measure the real-time usage of marketing content is the analytical insight that will make sales teams more productive and marketing teams to be able to achieve success.

In the early stages of sales, it is critical to understand which messages are resonating, and which presentations are being used most often when there is a sale involved. Yet, that feedback loop from sales to marketing is almost non-existent. But, what if you were able to find out that your top sellers were all using just one of those presentations and just five of the 20 slides? Wouldn't that be valuable insight into how the field sales organization actually engages with their content? The ability to see the changes that a top sales representative makes to a marketing PowerPoint presentation and share that knowledge with the entire field organization is invaluable.

Rich Vancil, vice president of IDCsExecutive Advisory Group, recently noted: "More than ever, process improvement is the path forward to better alignment between sales and marketing. This year, large technology companies are seeing sales and marketing expenses grow faster than revenues."

As a result of measuring content usage and delivering only the most effective content to mobile workers, organizations can expect increased productivity and revenue. Getting the right information to mobile users, at the right time and location, improves the effectiveness and efficiency of a mobile workforce. An auto group, based on the east coast, was plagued with content-overproduction while lacking crucial insight into sales field habits. Upon deploying a heightened content usage insight strategy, this organization calculated that across 100 mobile field users they have eliminated large amounts of administrative overhead, resulting in more than $100,000 saved annually in lost time and productivity.

With continuous measurement of sales teams' activities in the field, marketing can gain clarity and insight into what is working and what isn't, helping them to spend time producing content that makes sense. Unlocking the "tribal knowledge" regarding content that is most effective in selling situations and transferring that expertise across the field sales organizations through expert networks will increase performance of the entire team.

The key to reinvigorating sales and marketing productivity is through mobile content enablement. Sales and marketing teams can work smarter. However, enabling your workforce extends beyond merely supplying a device to knowing that they have the most compelling content at their fingertips right when they need it. Organizations need to stop creating content for the sake of doing so and leverage analytics to identify the content that's closing sales. Technological innovation brings the promise of working smarter and boosting sales. Those organizations that learn to leverage these innovations to their advantage will be better positioned to reap the benefits.