Spring is in the air. Your blossoms are blooming, the chickadees are chirping, and the one dreaded weekend that your spouse circled on your calendar many weeks ago has finally come - it’s time for spring cleaning.
Instead of dreading it, though, just picture that feeling you get every year as soon as your spring cleaning is done.
Relief! Refreshment! Reinvigoration!
Not only does your home feel new again, but you’ve broken the spell of the winter status quo. You feel renewed motivation to take on new projects - landscaping, patio refinishing, kitchen redesigning - that both bring the family closer together and increase the value of your home.
What an inspiring, albeit thinly-veiled, metaphor for your firm’s sales content!
Now is the time to do some spring cleaning for your Sales Asset Library - an effort that both brings Marketing and Sales closer together, and increases the value of your deals.
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Once you have begrudgingly accepted that your sales collateral is in need of some dusting and organizing, the first thing to do is conduct a thorough analysis of your Sales Asset Library. This includes all of the content assets that your Sales team uses to educate, engage, and close a deal, from research reports and infographics, to data sheets and case studies, to capabilities decks and proposal templates.
The best B2B content marketing firms not only help you create great sales collateral, but they also help your team with this first stage of taking inventory, providing you with strengths, opportunities, and actionable insights.
What you’ll undoubtedly find, once you assess your Sales Asset Library:
Zombie Assets: Your firm’s designs, messaging, and branding will have changed over the years, either subtly or drastically, but your Sales team will somehow still have access to older, inconsistent zombie assets, bringing them back into the field, emailing them out to prospects, or linking to them from their social media profiles. Inconsistency is actually the easiest problem to solve during your Sales Asset Library spring cleaning.
Dust Bunnies: In a 2016 report on Sales Asset Management, SiriusDecisions found that “at enterprise-level organizations, an average of 65 percent of content is never used by sales reps.” Without question, a tragic statistic. Unfound and unused content gathering digital dust doesn’t help close deals - even worse, it’s a drain on Marketing resources.
R.A.C. Assets: Some assets that you find, while visually engaging, may not match up with any stage of your Buyer Journey or Sales Cycle. These “Random Acts of Content” need to be scored for their value and relevance to the prospect, either to be massaged into the strategic sales story, or archived and removed from the Sales Asset Library.
Once you assess, score, and map your Sales Content, here are some next steps:
Realign to Buyer Journey: With your an inventory or scorecard in-hand, now you can take all of the relevant sales assets and map them to the distinct stages of your Buyer Journey - from Awareness, to Consideration, to Comparison, to Evaluation, to Decision, and finally to Loyalty.
If you find yourself trying to shoehorn sales content into certain stages where they don’t seem to quite fit, it means that you need to adjust the asset’s messaging.
If you don’t have your Buyer Journey well documented, this exercise is best done through a collaboration of Marketing and Sales leadership, with guidance from an experienced 3rd party consultant.
Realign to Sales Cycle: The Buyer Journey isn’t the only path to consider. Your Sales Cycle is also unique, and it requires assets specifically mapped to each phase - from Interest, to Qualification, to Solution Building, to Buy-In, to Closing, your assets need to be aligned to your specific sales conversions.
At this point, also consider how seasonality of purchase and duration of contract and renewal impact the Sales Cycle, and what that means for your sales content messaging today, and for tomorrow.
Update Design & Messaging: At this point, you should have a great understanding of which sales assets need updated design and messaging, based on the Buyer Journey, Sales Cycle, and the evolution of your branding and messaging over time.
Depending on how much of the Sales Asset Library needs to be redesigned, this process could take anywhere from a few days to a few months. Generally, the more assets that are being redesigned, the more cascading efficiencies are created. If you’re redesigning the capabilities deck, it reduces the production time of other asset templates, like data sheets, case studies, etc.
Measurability & Tools: There are many sales enablement tools that help salespeople, managers, and marketers to understand what assets are working, what assets are going unused, and what assets are ineffective. In our own backyard of Philadelphia, there are several great startups that enable sales content measurement in different ways, from Journey Sales (disclosure: client), to PeopleLinx, to SETVI.
And of course, once you have gone through your Sales Asset Library spring cleaning, there are also an array of technologies out there to help you not only manage the Sales Asset Library, but also enable your inside and outside sales reps to educate and engage prospects throughout their Buyer Journey and Sales Cycle.
As the President of Socialight Media, Jed Singer has been keeping his clients at the forefront of social marketing for over a decade. Over the years, he has been lucky enough to work with the world’s largest and most social brands, including P&G, MasterCard, ESPN, HBO, and Facebook. He and his team help firms map their online Buyer Journey and design strategies for content marketing, community building, and lead generation.