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All marketers know sellers customize content. But there’s a common misconception among marketers that content is their domain, and that sellers who edit or customize content have ‘gone rogue.’ A recent report from Forrester Research walks through why this view is outdated and how you can enable sellers to customize content effectively.
To create an effective content customization strategy, Forrester recommends focusing on:
1. How your sales processes affect customization needs
2. How to create processes that help manage content customization
3. Using analytics to improve strategy and alignment
Customization Needs Vary Based on Your Sales Processes
Business needs and your sales processes should be driving how much customization your sellers do. In transactional sales processes with price-sensitive or feature-driven buyers, there may not be much need for customization. In these scenarios, sellers typically only need simple customization options such as editing email templates and reconfiguring slides. In consultative sales processes with multiple stakeholders and complex products, reps will need to anticipate and respond to buyer needs. Tailoring and personalizing content will be necessary for the solution sale.
Management is Critical to Effective Customization
Many of the concerns that marketers have about content customization are actually more related to poor customization management. According to Forrester, effective management requires leaders to address four areas:
1. Making customization easy for reps — The best, most relevant content should always be front and center, but it’s especially important when reps are tailoring it for buyers. Solutions such as ClearSlide that incorporate a single content library surface the best content with recommendations and tags, allowing for simple content remixing and seamless customization.
2. Ensuring sellers understand when and why to customize content — Many customization mishaps occur because reps are tailoring content that doesn’t need to be or shouldn’t be tailored. Content permissions set at the group, role, and user levels reinforce management processes and ensure sellers only use and customize certain content.
3. Creating processes for review and approvals — Simple changes such as slide reconfiguration may not require much review, but sellers should seek approval on more substantive changes to avoid misrepresenting the product and brand, jeopardizing deals, and creating legal exposure.
4. Optimizing content for how sellers share it with customers — Platform solutions with cross-channel communications (online meetings, email, mobile, social, in-person) make it simple for reps to customize and share content no matter how they interact with buyers.
Content Analytics Improve Visibility and Insight
By leveraging the content analytics captured by Sales Engagement Platforms such as ClearSlide, sales and marketing leaders can get new levels of insight into how content gets customized and used. Content analytics reveal who is succeeding with customized content and what they’re doing to identify and replicate best practices across teams.
Read the full Forrester report for more details about how to put these recommendations into practice — and consider how a Sales Engagement Platform can enable your sales and marketing practice in the “age of the customer.”