As much as 70% of the content that marketing teams produce is ignored by salespeople, who also spend more than 30 hours per month creating their own marketing collateral. Every B2B technology marketer can relate to how frustrating it is to invest time developing materials, presentations and tools for sales teams that only end up collecting dust. So why does this happen? The most common reason is misalignment between your sales team’s approach to selling and how your materials could or should be used in those selling situations. To see how this alignment issue manifests itself in different ways – take a look at the most common reasons why your sales tools don’t get used.
You are Building Tools for Every Possible Sales Situation
Sales teams consistently aim to build repeatable processes for selling. The challenge that happens for marketing teams is when sales asks for support to try to replicate one large sales win by creating materials that aim at one very specific customer type or niche industry. It makes sense to create sales tools that are designed for specific personas when there is a large enough number of those potential buyers but your marketing efforts will never scale if you consistently build tools that mirror a market of a few people vs. a market of many. Chances are also good that you will end up with a very long list of tools to create that grows with every large sales win and a large library of tools that are used once or never.
Try This Instead: Meet with the entire sales team to align on the highest potential personas they sell to and the common sales obstacles that each of these personas may present. I call this “Process Mapping”. Alignment will enable marketing to focus on building the tools that support the most common buyer personas vs. the infinite number of outlanders.
Your Sales Team Doesn’t Believe Your Tools Add Value to Their Sales Process
The sales team has customer interactions every day that hone their understanding of who their buyer is and what they care about. If Sales doesn’t believe the marketing team has built relevant messages in their sales tools that will really sell customers, they are likely to create their own materials that support a sales process that works for them.
Try This Instead: Bring customer data to the table by conducting win/loss analysis interviews with people that have been through your sales process. Capture feedback on why they bought or didn’t; who influenced the decision internally; and what motivated them to decide either way. Aggregate the information together, look for trends and share it with the sales team. You can use this data to create tools that overcome the sales objections you commonly heard. One of the most overlooked aspects of a marketers role is to bring insight about the customer. It is also a critical aspect of producing relevant sales tools.
Your Tools are Messaged Toward a General Audience with Vague Value Propositions
Some of the best sales tools I’ve ever seen are great not because of how many things they say, but because of how focused they are on a small number of messages. Trying to communicate too much by itemizing every valuable aspect of your solution to all of your buying influencers will commonly not connect with anyone. If sales teams use your tools but the message consistently doesn’t resonate with their buyers, it’s likely they will try to support their own needs before they will ask for something new.
Try This Instead: Define the problems your solution solves for each of the personas that influence your buying process. Then build unique tools for each of these personas that articulate the benefits of your solution to them specifically as well as counter arguments to their potential sales objections.