How many times have you heard comments like this from sales people?
- Marketing never gives us the right information we need to close the deal.
- We have to spend hours and hours creating our own customized content to sell effectively.
- It takes too long to find the right information and get permission to customize it for our prospects.
Chances are you’ve heard those complaints just about as often as you’ve heard the opposite coming from the corporate marketing department.
- Sales never uses the approved materials and the brand is compromised because of inconsistent messages.
- We have to spend hours and hours trying to get feedback from field sales and indirect sales channels on what works, and what messages they want to use.
- We spend too much time searching for the information we need.
Meanwhile, the legal department wants better control and compliance, and management just wants bottom line results. Sometimes it seems as if there’s a war going on within the company over just who’s at fault if sales goals aren’t being exceeded every single quarter.
The truth is that business as usual generally means that there’s a wide gap between sales and marketing, and the wider the gap, the more time, money, and effort is wasted trying to generate leads, close sales, and retain customers after the initial sale. One of the most important benefits of a distributed marketing platform is that it can close the gaps in the marketing communications pipeline.
Companies have been trying to use technology to close the gaps between all those warring priorities for years. In fact, for 20 years or so, the marketing process has gone through a series of evolutionary steps leading to modern distributed marketing platforms (DMPs). It started in the early 1990’s with the rise of groupware, followed by the Internet, sales portals, marketing storefronts and finally, within the last few years, with truly automated marketing platforms designed specifically for distributed marketing.
Groupware came first — it helped, but it was costly and hard to administer, and did little to help with compliance, reporting, or tracking.
When the Internet came along, sales was happy because they were free to pick up information and create their own content — but marketing found itself in the midst of chaos, with no control and a huge potential liability for compliance problems.
Marketing portals and storefronts came next. They helped a lot by making it simple to deliver content to the right people quickly, and even more with asset management and organization. The issues of reporting, personalization and customization, and compliance remained, however.
Each step in the evolutionary process was a step in the right direction. But it wasn’t until the last couple of years that the first true distributed marketing platform arrived to deliver what both sales and marketing needed all along.
What they needed was a platform that streamlined the process with a comprehensive set of capabilities including access management, asset management, dynamic content assembly, campaign management, and reporting and measurement — all with guaranteed brand and regulatory compliance and on-demand access from any connected device.
Unfortunately, many of today’s companies haven’t realized just how much they’re losing (opportunity cost, sales, competitive advantage, potential liability from compliance snafus, etc.) by not abandoning the earlier attempts to automate the creation, distribution, and management of marketing and sales messages for a modern distributed marketing platform.
Where is your company on the continuum? How easy is it for your sales force to find what they need and customize or personalize it for one prospect or a thousand? How easy is it for your corporate marketing department to track every message, and quickly see which messages resonate with sales – and customers – and which do not? How many hours do your sales people spend every month revising, creating, or managing the process of delivering marketing messages to customers?
If you can’t answer those questions, or if you don’t like the honest answers you give, maybe it’s time to take a close look at whether or not technology could help automate and improve your marketing and selling process.