Outside Sales: Your Marketing Blindspot

Filed in Marketing Ideas on January 27, 2017 by

Fix_Blindspots_HEADER_01272017Outside sales is a black hole. You produce the best content and it’s getting forgotten, lost, or just sits unused. Wouldn’t it be great if that’s all that went wrong with your fractured sales and marketing teams? You’re also blindsided by lost data, bumbled messaging, ignored brand guidelines, and personalization is a distant memory.

According to Gleanster, visibility into field marketing is one of the top concerns of top performing marketing teams. What’s a squishy word like visibility mean?

We help marketers get their content into the hands of outside sales teams and we’ve been digging deep into these pain points for a while. We think we’ve got a good handle on what is going wrong with outside marketing.

If you feel like outside sales is dropping the ball, but you can’t quite figure out why or how they’re doing it, this quick post may help.

Tools Everywhere, No One Uses Them

Chances are you’ve got a ton of tools to get your content to your sales teams. Those tools may help track attribution, make it easier for outside sales to engage prospects and (supposedly) feed great data back to you. The truth is, these tools are probably sitting unused.

Pull reporting data and see if only one or two pieces of content are being utilized – if so that’s a sure sign that sales isn’t even bothering to check in to see the best and most updated marketing content.

What about other tools? Is data coming back in spits and starts rather than a solid stream? Are there holes in your attribution after a deal is closed? Outside sales are an independent bunch, they don’t like being forced to use tools and frankly don’t have time to learn new systems.

Try reducing the number of tools they’re using or streamlining, automating and simplifying interactions. By reducing the number of tools your teams are using, you are directing all their efforts into one place. Make sure those tools are great and you’ve increased adoption and effectiveness by reducing options.

Lack of Personalization

You know personalization is key to engaging prospects at every point in the funnel but it requires diligence and time – two things that aren’t at the top of sales’ list when it comes to sending your emails, direct mail, and video assets to prospects.

Try to build in as much automated personalization as possible with tokenized emails and personalized landing pages (if you’re using a marketing automation platform (MAP) this shouldn’t be hard).

Sales reps know more about the people they’re selling to than you may, so empower them quickly customize (and personalize) assets. Provide them with a simplified style guide or use templated assets to keep them within brand guidelines.

Outside Sales & Post Purchase Blues

Outside sales can drop the ball when it comes to post purchase follow-up. They’re not customer service, they’re closing – so when the deal is done there’s a tendency to shift the client to a different team.

Can’t blame them, really – sellers already spend 64% of their time doing admin tasks, advocacy marketing shouldn’t be up to them either. Check to see how many of your clients are being properly on-boarded, what they think of you 30, 60 and 90 days in.

Do you have an automated advocacy plan in place? Send a follow up from your MAP. Set the cadence. Set the tone. Don’t leave this up to outside sales, especially if you’re like us and you’re hyperfocused on customer success. A MAP lets you make sends appear to come from your sales reps, and with some outside help (our own Personal Marketing Center solution) you can keep your sales team in the loop about what you’ve sent.

One-Way Data

This is maybe the biggest blow to a marketing department that relies heavily on outside sales: marketing data, like true love, is a two way street. If there’s no data coming in from the field, you can’t really market. You can just shoot from the hip.

This is also the hardest problem to solve. Outside sales only cares about your carefully crafted, personalized landing page loaded with a tracking code if they think it might work. They only care about adding notes about leads if they have the time.

They don’t have the time.

Make your content smart. It’s your trojan horse to get behind your customer’s walls.

One way of doing this is to leverage interactive content. Interactive content is not only a great way to get customers to engage, but is a great way to get information back about a prospect’s pain points, goals, etc. You can then fine-tune your lead scoring and nurturing with this information.

We aren’t going to shy away from our own solution: Personal Marketing Center lives right inside of Salesforce and bridges the gap between marketing automation and CRM data, letting both teams get the data they need to fine tune content and sales execution.

Outside sales is overworked, they spend less and less time with customers and more and more time doing admin tasks. They aren’t marketers but they’re expected to market. Take as much as you can off their plates, automate it – if you don’t have a marketing automation platform yet – you need one as a modern marketer.

Make it easy for them to get your latest content. Make your latest content smart enough to be your eyes in the field. Remember that you can’t do your job without sales and (despite what they may say) sales can’t work with an empty funnel.

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