To accommodate four distinct generations of sales people, companies must implement an omni-channel approach to content delivery.
To accommodate four distinct generations of sales people, companies must implement an omni-channel approach to content delivery.

Content management and delivery, especially when delivered through a distributed sales team, can be exceptionally challenging. According to IDC, upwards of 80% of all content produced by marketing goes unused by sales. To put that into perspective, if a company is spending $500,000 on sales collateral, nearly $400,000 is wasted. It is no wonder marketing budgets are being scrutinized and slashed like never before.

To complicate the matter, sales and marketing leaders have a new challenge – developing and delivering content used by four distinct generations of sales people. Whether a sales team is made of Silents, Boomers, Gen Xers or Millennials companies need to accommodate the way they work in order to be successful. And, not only are their sales people ranging in age from 20 to 70, their customers are too. From print to email to mobile and more, each generation wants to engage with marketing messaging in the say they want to or they will move on.

Sales content management tools, often called through-channel marketing automation or sales enablement can help companies with their content delivery challenges. To ensure the system will actually be used by sales, the key to success is actually the way these systems are implemented. There are six essential keys to implementing and using a sales content management system to support omni-channel marketing content delivered through four generations of sales people who work in very different ways.

  1. Centralize 100% of marketing assets into a vendor agnostic and intuitive sales content management system with robust search capabilities.
    A successful sales content management solution will manage and deliver print collateral, personalized and co-branded content, digital content, mobile friendly content, multi-channel campaigns, promotional products, signage, trade show displays, presentations and more. The right platform will consolidate existing vendor portals into a centralized solution, allowing sales people a single point of access for all of the content they need.
  2. The centralized sales content management solution must be built using responsive design.
    In order to really support all four generations of salespeople, the centralized sales content management solution must accommodate desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile. Without this functionality, companies are inherently dictating to sales how they will interact with the content that is offered. This philosophy almost always ensures low adoption rates of the technology deployed.
  3. A successful sales content management system will deliver a single piece of content in multiple formats.
    In order to minimize content bloat and maximize marketing budgets, the ideal sales content management solution will allow a marketing asset to be re-purposed through the software in the format requested by the sales person to best suit their audience. Marketing should not be required to create an additional title or SKU for every delivery method available.
  4. A sales content management system embraced by all generations will offer easy customization produced on they fly by the sales person.
    The sales person is always closest to the prospect and/or customer; therefore, it is sales who should customize marketing content before it is delivered. The right sales content management system will allow sales to customize content through the system gaining immediate access to the asset – even in regulated industries. By using data and pre-approved templates, marketing is able to scale tenfold to support the entire field while keeping the Chief Compliance Officer happy.
  5. Sales content management systems equipped with ratings and content effectiveness scores will guide veteran and rookie sales reps to the right content at the right time to assist with the situation at hand.
    Silents and Boomers likely use the same sales content over and over because there is proven track record of what works at each stage of the sales cycle. Likewise, Gen Xers likely reuse favorite content but will generally try something new if it has been proven by their peers. And finally, Millennials likely have very little experience with the available content and need real-time information for immediate assistance. A sales content management solution offering weighted effectiveness scores, peer-to-peer reviews, and user ratings will allow your team to quickly find the content needed to move the sale to close.
  6. Implement an automated feedback loop through your sales content management system to determine how content is being used most effectively by the field.
    A best in class sales content management solution will track every touch point of content’s lifespan. Robust analytics regarding who is using the content; how the content is being delivered; what configuration of the content was used; and how the customer engaged with the content should be made available to marketing. These analytics will allow marketing leaders to offer more relevant content to maximize its usage and ultimately increase ROI.

When researched, chosen and implemented carefully, a successful sales content management solution will help support all four generations of salespeople. At the same time, these systems will allow your sales people to deliver content to their prospects and customers in the format most relevant to the audience. With the right combination of features, these systems will help not only help companies improve sales and marketing alignment to increase quota attainment, they will also improve customer engagement with the brand.