In part one of this series, we discussed how marketing resource management systems can be used to enable Sales to demonstrate thought leadership and help nurture leads through to close. In part two, we discuss strategies for getting your distributed sales channels engaged in using marketing technology systems to their full potential.
Whether you have a direct sales channel or sell through partners and/or distributors, it can be a challenge to get Sales to use new marketing technologies. However, your distributed sales channels play a key role in ensuring the success of your marketing technology solution, so their support is critical. Here are some ideas for mobilizing your distributed sales force to adopt your marketing technology system.
1. Consider consulting with your most engaged sales people and distributors before purchasing your marketing technology solution to give them a sense of ownership in the technology evaluation process, and solicit their ideas and consider their feedback as you evaluate systems. There may be stakeholders in your distributed sales force (and even in other departments) who have experience with various marketing technology systems, and you may be able to leverage their knowledge to help guide your technology acquisition decision.
2. Choose systems that are easy to use and have an intuitive user interface. This will improve knowledge transfer during training and minimize the time spent training users over time.
3. Mobilize your most engaged sales people and distributors to help with the technology rollout. Train these power users first and ask for their ideas to help make the rollout successful. If this group has questions about certain features or benefits as you initially explain the solution, this is a good indication that you may need to do more diligence in preparing training resources prior to the formal rollout. Field questions from this group first in order to prepare for the questions you may receive during rollout from all stakeholders.
4. Train your users. A formal training plan – whether conducted by internal administrators and/or in coordination with your marketing technology vendor – is a critical step in rollout. Be sure to direct your users to any online training and resources they can reference following the initial training, and ensure your users know whom they can contact for help with the technology when they get stuck.
5. Establish reliable support channels. Sales uptime is critical. If a sales person is stuck on a process in the system, they need to know who to contact for support, including the timeframe in which they can expect to hear back with a solution. Make it quick and easy for your distributed sales force or distributors to get help so they don’t spend their time troubleshooting when they could be selling.
6. Make it fun. Run a contest with prizes for the most engaged users. For example, offer an incentive such as an iPad to the first salesperson or distributor to upload a target list and distribute a print or email campaign through your marketing resource management system.
7. Demonstrate results. Showing is telling. Have top Sales people present their success stories to their teams and colleagues during departmental update meetings. For example, if a marketing resource management system helped your sales rep to localize a corporate campaign and generate new business, this example can help communicate the value of the marketing technology system, while sharing best practices internally. The easier it is for third party sales channels such as distributors to locate and utilize branded marketing materials, the more likely you are to be the brand of choice.
Selecting a marketing technology vendor is just the first step in a successful rollout. Engaging distributed and third party sales representatives in using your marketing technology solution – with training, support resources, and contests – are critical steps to ensuring adoption. To set your rollout up for success, leverage your most engaged sales people and distributors to help with the technology rollout and advocate for the system internally. Finally, keep enthusiasm for the platform growing by sharing success stories and best practices.
What are your successes in engaging your distributed sales channels in using your marketing technology solution?