We recently posted blogs about how the Medical Device and Franchise industries were using marketing automation. That technology is also helping marketers to better establish trust through customization, multi-channel campaigns and brand consistency. In business environments so heavily dependent on personal relationships and traditional sales models, it is that much more important to target your messaging and be visible wherever your customer is looking.
While each of these industries have their own nuances, many of the pain points that we see are not unique. In fact, we see some of the same pain points between sales and marketing departments as we do in almost every other industry. Both the Medical Device and Franchise industries face a major marketing challenge of quickly scaling materials to locations and teams across the world. Communication and organization are essential in that case–without it, salespeople and field teams would be left to figure things out on their own. We will look at 4 ways to successfully accomplish this and reduce confusion amongst your own teams.
How Marketing Automation Improves Communication
Protection from legal liability – Regulation is ever changing and marketing materials constantly need to be adjusted accordingly. If disclosures, legal language or other required verbiage is not added, your sales teams can be left vulnerable and at risk. With marketing automation, all requirements can be built into design templates and automatically populated based on specified parameters.
Your marketing department benefits by no longer having to manually add all of the fine print and, if positioned right, your sales team will see this as a means of ensuring they are safe from potential legal liabilities.
Collaborate during content creation process – A longstanding issue between sales and marketing departments is that sales demands more materials without looking at what is already available, and marketing doesn’t involve the sales team or find out what the field really needs. The result? When someone doesn’t feel involved in a process, they are less likely to promote the outcome–marketing is no different.
Break down the communication barrier and incorporate feedback from sales early on. Integrate their feedback into your materials and let them see that they are being heard. Make sure to look at what’s currently working, what isn’t working, why it’s not working and, once they see that you are actively addressing the pain points of their clients, you’ll net increased trust and a better ROI on your marketing materials.
Be open to customization, but establish limits – Centralizing a brand is a huge benefit to both your sales and marketing departments, however, we don’t want to ignore the importance of adapting to local markets and specific needs of customers. Your sales reps know the intricacies of their markets and will, at some point, have a need for customizable templates. And we all know what happens if they don’t have access to a branded piece that meets their needs–they’ll create one themselves.
A huge benefit of marketing automation platforms is that they can allow for customization while, at the same time, allow you to set limitations on what can be altered. Marketing departments can develop pieces that meet the overall brand standards, but also give field teams the power to customize according to their local needs. This avoids the risk of a rogue and non-compliant piece of collateral floating around and also reduces the number of one of pieces the marketing team has to create. Everybody wins.
Communicate when new material is produced – Once the teams are talking and new materials are produced, marketing cannot assume that sales will automatically know about them. There must be clear communication that highlights what has been added. Your platform can be structured so that it features all new materials on the homepage, which makes it easy for users to immediately find the latest assets available to them.
Conversely, when pieces expire and are taken down, your sales team should also be notified. If they are used to using a specific tool in their pitch, they need to have enough time to plan and make changes. It might add a meeting to the calendar or an email to the inbox, but the more you communicate, the better the overall relationship will be. Sales will become more confident that you are looking out for them and will be more likely to adopt the platform you are building for them.
Trust is a big a hurdle between sales and marketing departments no matter what industry you are in. Communication has been both limited and minimal, resulting in resentment and missed opportunities. Fortunately, marketing automation platforms make it easier to overcome these challenges. Marketers can create quality collateral that address the needs of the field, and sales teams can get the support that they need.