CMOs invest great energy in marketing collateral, yet it really risks zero exposure unless intelligently managed.
Here's a scary thought - research tells us that only TEN PERCENT of marketing materials ever get used by the sales team. What's more, over 40% of sales staff feel ill equipped with the right information prior to making important sales calls. No wonder there's such a lag between marketing lead generation and sales conversion.
What's the solution? Well, one thing that can help with the heavy lifting is ensuring your sales and marketing collateral is safely online, where people can find it instantly when they need to. With the right security measures and access controls in place, this seems like something of a no-brainer to those on top of their game.
Here are the Top 10 reasons why you should be managing your marketing materials online:
1. You've already invested time and money in valuable marketing materials - share them!
In 2014, marketing teams will spend $135 billion on new marketing collateral. That's a lot of money, time, energy and effort! With the ability to demonstrate the ROI on marketing expenditure coming into ever sharper focus, the pressure will be on to ensure this valuable, custom asset is being properly leveraged. Why spend a fortune creating something powerful if it only gets used once? Make it count.
2. Your sales force should be ready for the perfect pitch - any time, any where
How often have you scheduled a conversation with a potential client to show off your depth of understanding and the discussion has played out entirely to the script with no interruptions, no left-field questions, no parallel examples? Exactly, it doesn't happen. At least, not if you want the buyer to be wowed by your grasp of their situation. Sales in the year 2014 and beyond are more than ever about building deep and insightful relationships with customers. To do this, your salesforce should be equipped to handle any conversation with the most up-to-date, accurate and powerful information at their fingertips.
3. You need to speed up your lead conversion
Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor who responds first, yet 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales at all due to a lack of lead nurturing. Poor response rates and low lead conversion can cost businesses millions of dollars per year in lost revenue. It's a common story that the chain can break between marketing and sales, and anything that can strengthen these links can have a direct, positive impact on the bottom line.
4. Silos are damaging your organization's culture and performance
It's a natural phenomenon within large companies that cultural bias springs up between teams and departments, but that's not to say it's a good thing. When people work together consistently on the same set of objectives, over time they develop their own cultural idiosyncrasies and even language. Team culture is good, but when it comes to teams working together, or trying to get information to flow freely within the company, it can be another story altogether. As Jacque Vilet explains, establishing common platforms and systems across the company can help overcome a toxic hoarding of valuable information, which is so damaging to company performance.
5. You need to keep control of your brand integrity and appearance
Sales managers using their initiative and creativity is a good thing. Playing fast and loose with your brand appearance is not. In this day and age, it is increasingly important for sales reps to be responsive to the needs of potential customers and flexible, heavy hitting and up-to-date content is key. But what happens to a brand when sales staff are building custom client presentations, often on the fly? Brand and compliance-ready software solutions such as Sidebank enable sales reps to borrow and build presentation content from a pool of approved material, and apply a brand-approved template with a single click, helping brand managers to sleep at night!
6. It'll help you keep a handle on what's popular
OK, so you're tracking every single metric of your inbound marketing campaign to within an inch of its life. You get it. But do you know what content is being shared with potential prospects in face-to-face client interactions? Like it or not, face to face engagement is still a critical component of the marketing mix, and the ability to track how your marketing materials are performing in this arena is a valuable thing. By managing your presentation files centrally and creating a secure online database of PowerPoint slides, you'll have the power to track what gets used the most often, and in many cases be able to view a complete audit trail of slide use. This means you can focus your energies on creating more of what really works.
7. You'll be able to find old and new content in an instant
Imagine being able to tap in a single search term and instantly see all presentation content related to that keyword or phrase, regardless of which department it originated in? Exactly, how refreshing!
8. Legal and compliance teams will love you
If you choose wisely, using a single platform for managing marketing materials across the business will mean that legal and compliance requirements are automatically supported, without adding to your workload. Which means, no more angry emails from Tim in Legal - always a bonus!
9. Keeping track of content updates and file versions is your nightmare
You're managing a busy team with tough deadlines, and collaboration is a priority. As is keeping presentation slide content up to date as data, brand messages or regulations change. Using a shared drive to save presentations to can be a nightmare, as making sure people use the latest presentation version or save over the right one can be another thing you don't want to have to think about. And that's before you even consider sharing presentations with sales teams.
This is why online presentation management solutions like Slidebank were developed - to help you keep track of the right PPT slide versions by automatically preserving, date stamping and stacking older presentations. You can also push out slide content updates to sales teams when a master slide is changed, which is pretty game changing.
10. You have better things to do than worry about systems security and software updates
Let's be honest, this is not your job. Managing systems security, installing software updates and checking for viruses is critical, but could easily be filed under "boring admin" and is ideally not the responsibility of a sales or marketing team. This is probably why you want to look at a Software as a Service solution, where all you need to think about is the number of users you want to pay a subscription for. With the SaaS model, software upgrades and security patches are part of what you pay for and are automatically rolled out, which is what makes it such a powerful solution. If you're not sure a hosted service is for you, take a look at this high level breakdown of Cloud vs On-Premise Software.
All things considered, it's tough to see why a business would deliberately choose to store and manage their presentation files locally, given how easily they can be lost without a trace. For what's the point of investing so much in content if it can only achieve a fraction of its potential reach?
Have you seen any benefit from managing your marketing materials online? Let us know below!
Image by Dieter Weinelt CC BY-ND 2.0