In many organizations, sales tools are like an iceberg. There’s the 10% that are above the waterline – the tools that everybody knows and uses - and then there’s the 90% that, for whatever reason, never see the light of day. Whether people simply can’t find these tools, or they don’t like them, the end result is the same – it’s expensive and frustrating to create a library of tools that sales just doesn’t use.
To generate the strongest alignment between your sales team and tools that you’re developing for them, three areas are crucial: (1) your content strategy, (2) the sales enablement tools you’re creating, and (3) the sales enablement platform that you use to provide access and track the usage of your tools.
Let’s explore each of these areas in turn.
Developing a content strategy with input from sales and customers
The first step is to consider the way you develop your content strategy.
Start by thinking about all the steps in your customer’s journey, including understanding the needs of your customers; positioning your brand; aligning your sales and marketing efforts; engaging your customers, and measuring your marketing ROI.
Don’t forget to bring in sales. How closely do you work with sales to develop your strategy? Are you involving customers in your research process? In order to create the most compelling tools, you need to map out the sales process, and determine with sales exactly what type of content they need at each point along the way. Find out exactly how they use the content as well. It’s also very helpful to hold listening sessions with customers, to find out what they want to know, and when. Schedule frequent “smarketing” meetings, bringing together marketing and sales, to review progress and share feedback on the content you’re creating.
Adding new tools and new ideas
A second step is to consider the sales enablement tools themselves. Are your tools compelling, engaging and designed to align with the needs of both prospects and your sales team? Or are you still relying on the formats and content that served you well in the past?
Customer testimonials and blogposts are the gold standard in the healthcare marketer’s toolkit, and they’re not going anywhere. But with new digital tools, you can go even further in terms of engaging and interacting with your prospects and customers. Consider adding these types of tools:
- An app – something of interest/benefit to your target groups
- A game – gamify an aspect of your product or solution
- ePubs – as a download, or to read immediately online
- clickable PDFs – let users go where they want to go, and find the information they need
- productivity calculators - allow visitors to calculate a savings, or a price
- interactive catalogues – that allow users to share select page(s) with a their customers
Managing your sales collateral
Third, consider the sales enablement platform you use to manage your tools. If your company and sales teams are spread across different countries or regions, it can be a challenge to manage all aspects of your collateral. It can also be hard to know which elements are being used, and which ones don’t get used at all.
There are lots of great sales enablement platforms out there. Whether you’re looking to introduce a sales enablement platform or you use an internal version, these three aspects are critically important:
- Easy access - your platform has to offer easy, user-friendly access with easy ways to find what you need
- Trackable - it has to be able to track and report on all usage, across all geographies and roles, including customers
- Single version control - it must guarantee single, accurate versions of materials at all times, for all audiences (critical in regulated environments)
And lastly, an emerging trend in healthcare is to involve medical directors much earlier in the process of developing sales tools. By addressing regulatory and compliance requirements during project development, rather than after, this can significantly streamline the process as well as the approval flow.
Cerus turns international symposium presentations into easy-to-access content on Showpad
Cerus, a biomedical products company focused on blood transfusion safety, hosts an ‘International Seminar On Blood Safety’ each year, attended by key opinion leaders in the field. Cerus looked to Living Stone for advice on how to leverage the seminar content and strengthen awareness across a wider audience. Cerus was already using the Showpad platform, so Living Stone created a Showpad app containing video, slides and references to the literature, along with the speakers’ key messages and additional background materials.
“Statistics are overwhelming,” says Alain Segers, Senior Director Marketing and Deployment EMEA at Cerus. “We sent out separate mailings to attendees and absentees so we could monitor their different behaviors. More than 30% of the attendees viewed the content, and more than 10% of them downloaded and shared it within a few days. The same numbers were observed for the absentees. In addition, the sharing of the app by our sales representatives generates a lot more engagement than a traditional mailing campaign would have.”