The growing importance of aligning field sales with complete and uniform marketing & sales content

The B2B marketing & sales process is profoundly being reshaped

B2B companies operate in an era where the B2B marketing & sales process is profoundly being reshaped. The main driver for this is B2C behaviour which is now spreading over to the B2B arena.

B2B buyers now look for the same digital experiences and features that they encounter as consumers. The new buyer’s experiences and expectations are shaped by B2C leaders such as Apple, Amazon, and Netflix. In these expectations, themes such as branded experience, immediate supply of relevant information and a seamless professional experience are key.

Prospective buyers are increasingly conducting research themselves online (outside their contact with a sales rep) through third-party websites, buyer reviews, blogs, social media and more. The impact for Sales is that it is consulted later and less frequently in the buying cycle and that when consulted, prospects are better prepared and have higher expectations of the commercial meeting. So, in the new B2B marketing & sales process, content, responsiveness and providing a branded experience are key in delivering an optimal Customer Buying Experience. In order for this to happen, both Marketing & Sales need to step up their game in order to stay ahead.


82% of decision makers think sellers are unprepared.
Source: Sirius Decisions.

So what needs to be done?

Companies need to provide their prospects a seamless transition from online engagement to offline interaction, and they need to do this by working on the following areas:

  • Content needs a far more prominent place in offline interaction. This means that Marketing needs to work on providing Sales with more and more impactful content.
  • For Sales this means that it is paramount to have immediate access to all digital content (complete and up to date) and being able to effortlessly and interactively bring this up during any commercial meeting.
  • Every offline interaction represents an opportunity to establish your brand. In a world where products differentiate less and less on features, it is your brand which sets you apart. The content and the way it presented and shared need to be an integrated brand experience.
  • To 'close the loop', Marketing needs to understand which content is used and not. This will help to invest more in content that impacts revenue. Measuring the ROI on how content is used by Sales is key.

How is change secured?

An absolute requirement for change to happen is that Marketing and Sales need to work from shared objectives and goals and a culture of mutual alignment. But what can also move both departments together is a shared digital platform that both Marketing and Sales can use to create, share, and measure the impact of content. Choosing such a Sales Enablement Solution with the right mix of functionalities for your company’s requirements is key. The challenge is not to overengineer the solution with excess functionality, thereby increasing the risk that the solution is not adopted.

The 5 requirements of a Sales Enablement Solution

What would the requirements of such a digital platform be?

  • Turn the concept of how alignment on content takes place around: from pull to push.

    In traditional solutions, sales people need to go to content. Think about file servers or intranet solutions where sales people need to take action. They need to log in, check for themselves if new updates are available or prepare content for meetings and then pull these to their own device. Of course this is not the most efficient process, since each sales person needs to do this individually and marketing is often consulted if content cannot be immediately found.

    In a research it was shown that 58% of sales people found it very difficult, sometimes even almost impossible to easily find the content that they needed. In the same survey it was confirmed that sales reps spend a staggering 31% of their time to search for content, and curate materials for meetings.

    But more importantly the result of this, is that sales works with often not updated and incomplete material all of which has a profound impact on the Customer Buying Experience.

    In the new world, content is automatically pushed to sales people on any device and offline available. They are effortlessly aligned with the latest and uniform content and can spend their time maximizing impact during sales engagement and closing deals, not aligning themselves with content.

    Sales reps spend up to 43 hours every month searching for information.
    Source: Aberdeen.

  • Enable cross selling and knowledge sharing.

    Companies are positioning themselves more and more as solution sellers rather than product and service vendors. Also propositions are increasingly integrated beyond traditional business units. As a result, sales people need to work with more comprehensive and complex propositions and perform more cross selling. This development makes an effortless alignment of marketing content even more important, as sales people need to constantly accommodate themselves with a broader and more complex proposition portfolio.

  • Your brand sets you apart.

    Brand sets you apart: when content is accessed, presented and shared, it needs to be from a branded environment.

  • Let sales content follow conversation and not the other way around.

    Sales is used to traditional methods of interacting with customers: One-dimensional slide presentations. However, in the current B2B Sales process, prospects are better informed and have higher expectations of a sales meeting which means that very rarely, sales meetings will take place via a linear storyline. Therefore a digital platform if this age should enable Sales to present in a non-linear way. So: enable the seller to let the content follow the conversation and not the other way around.

  • Analytics will get you there.

    How sales is using content is currently a black box. Marketers extract insight from the analytics to determine which content is key for motivating customers to purchase, and which content is no longer relevant.


Conclusion

The B2B marketing & sales process is profoundly being reshaped. Sellers are selling to buyers who are expecting an optimal Customer Buying Experience. As a result, in order to be succesful in this new arena, Marketing & Sales need to align. Content, provided through a branded framework, becomes the binding factor and differentiator. Selecting the right digital platform that both Marketing and Sales can use to create, share, and measure the impact of content is key.

Scaura: Sales Enablement made easy.

Scaura is the Sales Enablement Solution which is tailored to the requirements of SME companies.

In a minimum of time you can supply your sales team with a visually stunning Application which will bring all your digital sales content effortlessly to their fingertips, ready to support them in closing deals.

Scaura Value Proposition

  • Optimal Sales Enablement to make sure Sales Teams are always prepared and switched on: all digital Marketing & Sales content available: complete - up to date - at the fingertips
  • Efficiency in Marketing & Sales alignment: instantly deliver updates with one click from the CMS. Content is pushed to the Sales Teams
  • Professionalism: Visual Application customizable in corporate brand

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