Marketers have egos, which is why sales material focuses on either company information or offering features whatever is being offered. Prospects, however, have needs, and ego-driven sales collateral doesn’t address those needs.
This may seem obvious, but 80% of the marketing and sales executives surveyed by Corporate Visions indicate their demand generation programs are ineffective, and poorly constructed sales material is a big reason why.
The survey found nearly four in ten marketing and sales people say the content of their marketing messages isn’t engaging or provocative. And of those, 60% indicate the material features the company’s features and services, while only 40% say it acknowledges customer pain points.
Based on the way sales material is written, marketing executives seem to assume their prospects will make a change or a purchase merely because a marketer has launched something new, says Tim Riesterer, Corporate Visions’ chief strategy and marketing officer.
“Salespeople say their customers live in their pain, needs and opportunities, and that is what [marketers] have to focus on,” Riesterer adds.
Fully 37% of salespeople who doubt the efficacy of their marketing material attribute its failings to unengaging content.
Business to business marketers are especially prone to flawed messaging, according to Riesterer.
“[Collateral in] the B2B world is caught up in industry jargon. It focuses on making sure there is a lot of information and domain expertise represented,” Riesterer says. “[B2B marketers] don’t realize they are flooding the marketplace with a message that sounds like everything else. B2B firms lead with innovation and assume customers will know what to do with it.
“B2B has an inflated sense of importance,” he adds. “They assume everyone wants 40 pages [such as in a white paper] on a topic. The problem is that they have made an assumption that everyone knows where the gap is, and why they need to consider fixing that gap.”
Salespeople are taking action to counteract the ineffectiveness of their collaterial – albeit not action marketing departments would endorse. Nearly two thirds say they simply aren’t using around half or more of the demand-generation content they’re provided.
Riesterer believes part of this may come from salespeople augmenting – or, in some cases supplanting – central-office-provided material with efforts such as personalized emails which are generated from the salesperson’s desk. This may be easier, he notes, than going into a company prospecting or CRM system and using a pre-established campaign.
Missed pain points in marketing collateral isn’t the only factor respondents say make their demand generation efforts less than effective. Nearly one third cite a lack of alignment between sales and marketing. Another 12% mention budget constraints, while 9% say they simply don’t have enough content and 8% don’t believe executives back their efforts.