Marketing and sales leaders know their field reps create their own mailers, presentations and sales tools; they’re just not sure what they’re doing, or why. This lack of knowledge means that some really great content goes unutilized, while some really bad content is being presented to buyers.
The New Yorker magazine runs a popular weekly contest that invites readers to submit a clever caption for a single-frame cartoon drawn by a professional cartoonist. The magazine typically receives more than 5,000 submissions. The editors pick the top three, and readers then vote on their favorite (I was fortunate enough to be a finalist a couple of years ago). The magazine’s cartoonists have often remarked that the captions created by these amateurs are funnier than the ones they originally envisioned.
Marketing and sales leaders know their field reps create their own mailers, presentations and sales tools; they’re just not sure what they’re doing, or why. This lack of knowledge means that some really great content goes unutilized, while some really bad content is being presented to buyers. Just as The New Yorker contest uses crowdsourcing, marketing and sales can run regular content collection weeks to “fieldsource” sales content from their reps and sales engineers.
The idea of a collection week is straightforward: Ask field reps to submit for review the materials they create and use, and set up a cross-functional team to review the submissions. Content that is deemed to be worthy can be formally distributed to the field, with attribution and recognition to the author. Make sure reps know it is safe to share their content. If reps suspect ulterior motives (e.g. to root out reps who violate content guidelines), they’ll be less likely to participate. First-line managers must provide feedback to reps whose content is found to be non-compliant, instructing them to make the necessary changes or discontinue use of the content.
Some may argue that running a content collection week sends a message to the field that it’s OK for reps to create their own content. The reality is, your reps probably are creating their own stuff, and it’s a question of either refusing to acknowledge it (the “ignorance is bliss” approach) or using a content collection week to learn from it. One great benefit is an understanding of why reps feel they need to create the content in the first place. The benefit to marketing, product and sales enablement is content they can use to fill any information gaps. For sales leaders, running a content collection week shines a light on inefficiencies (e.g. reps creating redundant content vs. utilizing a central repository).