About 65% of sales marketing content is never used. Many companies struggle with this issue, leading to wasted time and inconsistent product information and messaging. One primary culprit: Sales representatives don’t know enough about available assets or how to leverage them.
Sales executives recognize the problem – 84% report content search and utilization as the top productivity improvement area. So how can managers motivate their reps to use sales marketing content? Try these three tips.
The person delivering the message matters. Many organizations traditionally turn to product marketing managers to share new content. While these individuals are subject-matter experts and excellent resources, research shows their presentations had the least impact on use intentions.
Recruiting a successful seller to present new collateral to other sales reps increases use by 61% compared to a product specialist’s presentation. However, a senior sales leader will likely provide the most motivation if you have an inexperienced sales team.
Content activation is key to inspiring sales reps. Content introduced with a simulated conversation or a case study is 30% more likely to be used than material presented with basic information only. Demonstrations and case studies exhibit ideal use cases and strategies.
Keep in mind: The optimal delivery method depends on who shares the information. If you enlist a high-performing sales rep to present the content, add a role-play demonstration. Sellers are 111% more likely to use content introduced this way. This type of content activation builds credibility because sellers have seen their colleague’s success and trust their judgment and experience.
A case study works best for sales leaders and product managers. Interestingly, simulating a conversation is the least effective presentation strategy for executives.
Most of us hated school homework assignments, but they reinforced the lesson. The same concept applies to motivating your sellers.
Ask your higher-performing reps to strategize how they would use the new content in their sales process. Engage new or lower-performing sellers in visualizing what they might lose by not using collateral. Recent research shows that those who focus on losses are significantly more likely to use the material than those who think about what they might gain.
These results line up with the decision science concept of loss aversion. The idea states that, psychologically, losses loom larger than gains – even when equal. For example, people tend to weigh the loss of $100 more heavily than a $100 gain.
Engaging in thoughtful planning makes sellers 98% more likely to use the collateral than those who aren’t asked to complete any learning activity.
Three other elements also play key roles in enabling your sales team to leverage collateral: applicability, availability, and accessibility. To optimize the content’s value, include seller and buyer input as well as analytics. You also want to make sure reps know what content is available and where they can find it. A central, easily searched repository satisfied both those needs.
Sales materials are powerful. Don’t let the time and money that marketing has invested in creating the content go to waste. The presenters you choose – and the story they tell – can enhance collateral’s use and positive impact. Be mindful of sellers’ preferences and get creative in your presentations. Challenge your employees to apply the concepts. This strategic approach will give your sales team more firepower to close deals.
Mark Magnacca is president and co-founder of Allego, and the co-author of Mastering Virtual Selling: Orchestrating Sales Success with Yuchun Lee and Tony Jeary.