Recently, our CEO, Russ Heddleston, sat down with Megan Tonzi, Marketing Director at Monetate, Inc., to talk about content creation for sales teams and how to approach “adaptable content,” content that’s created by marketing for sales to modify and personalize for individual sales situations. They also discussed:
- Issues that adaptable content (aka skeleton decks) can create for sales and marketing teams.
- The difference between content that’s meant to be presented by a rep in person and content that’s meant to be sent over email.
- Why organization is a critical skill for all marketers that want to work well with sales team.
A transcript of the conversation is below. It has been edited for clarity and brevity
Russ: Thanks for joining us today. Before we get started, I’d love if you could give us a little background on yourself and your role at Monetate?
Megan: Sure! I’m the marketing director at Monetate. We power multi-channel personalization for brands. Our platform is built for speed, it’s easy to use and allows marketers to create, test, and deploy a number of different personalized digital experiences. It’s a really interesting technology. I’m responsible for integrating marketing programs. Every marketing team has a lot of different programs and campaigns running all at once and I make sure that we have a pulse on every single program and that we are maximizing the amount of time and effort to ensure every program is efficient and provides the most value possible.
Russ: Great! Today, we’re going to discuss the topic of adaptable content, content that you create for the sales team to alter on their own. To set the stage, how do you work with the sales team at Monetate today?
Megan: When it comes to working with Sales, it is imperative to sit down and have conversations with them that maintain an open and honest dialogue. When you are honest with each other, Marketing can help Sales by providing them with great content and different selling techniques, and Sales can provide Marketing with feedback from prospects and clients. Sales gets to experience all these interactions that marketers don’t have day-to-day, and learning about those interactions can be so valuable for Marketing. There’s always been some hesitancy around sales and marketing being friends. If you are going to be realistic, Marketing needs to be friends with Sales because Sales talks to the prospects, and you need to understand those conversations to make content that helps the sales process.
Russ: One see that reps want to create and alter their own content. But this can get tricky. Have you ever seen collateral a rep has produced create problems in a company?
Megan: I have seen this throughout multiple companies and it can become a real problem. Unless there is a very clear and organized process, adaptable content can cause major problems for both marketing, sales, and the client success teams. You always want everyone on your sales and marketing teams to be using the most up to date content. That’s why there needs to be a single repository where all content for sales and marketing is saved and stored. Some companies have different places where you can grab content. This tends to cause issues when some updates aren’t pushed to one or more of the content repositories. It gets confusing, especially when your team isn’t sure if they are using the most up to date content. It leads to a lot of unknowns, which is never good.
If there are updates that need to be made, they should always be reflected in a single, central repository. And for every presentation or piece of content that gets sent out, reps should be pulling the info from that single place rather than saving it on their desktop and sending from there. That’s pretty much where the trouble starts.
Let’s use an example: if a rep alters something in a deck for one meeting and then they try and use that same deck for another meeting, it can be unclear what the standard is for that deck and what can be tailored by the rep. So if they end up altering that saved content on their desktop for the fourth or fifth time, then they’re just asking for trouble because that whole process snowballs. Most importantly, as marketing or product pushes an update, if a rep is using outdated content they may not be offering the prospect the most up to date information.
Russ: Got it. Do you guys use skeleton decks? And could you walk through what that means to you and how they’re used?
Megan: Generally, I try not to offer that to the team. I want to make sure we’re all using comprehensive and cohesive messaging across the board. I do know some teams use skeleton decks where they’ll have blanks for their sales teams to fill in the information for every prospect. I particularly don’t like that, it’s not very tailored, not very personalized. Or there’s a skeleton deck where Marketing will just have an outline of the presentation that Sales is going to give and they expect Sales to fill in the details. Well, Sales usually doesn’t have that much time to make sure that everything is cohesive, up to date, and relevant – they are busy selling.
So no matter what rep on the team is presenting, with us, you’re going to get a pretty standardized presentation that’s tailored for each individual prospect. Because skeleton decks can be a little tricky, to add some constraints, I use a content library. If reps need to build out a lengthy presentation or maybe just a couple different slides, they can pull from a variety of decks from this library that I built. And then they can tailor each individual slide to that prospect. However, the messaging stays consistent.
Russ: Sometimes points of contact for a target account are going to be presenting your collateral to other people in their company. How do you coach through reps so that prospects effectively use your collateral when presenting to their coworkers?
Megan: After a rep leaves a meeting and they send a presentation to prospects, usually prospects are going to take that presentation and forward it to additional stakeholders. It’s very common. You want to be sure you have outlined your solution in an organized manner that gives readers enough detail and context of what you’re presenting, but unique enough that it sets you apart from the competition. Granted, you don’t want to put every single detail in the presentation either. You still want the presentation to lead to reps taking questions from prospects.
Russ: How do you differentiate between content that’s meant to only be presented, content that’s meant to be sent afterwards, and content that’s meant to be passed around?
Megan: There is a very large difference between the content that you present and the content that you send. Content that is meant to be presented is more sensitive, for example, something that deals with pricing or speaks to a specific client’s needs. That type of content is meant to create a dialogue, and it’s very difficult to have one in an email chain. That’s the type of content that should be presented to the prospect on the phone or in person. Content that I would send via email tends to be more more tech heavy and educational. The content that you present is meant to spark conversations, to create dialogue and fuel a back and forth and it’s Marketing’s role to make sure Sales knows what content is okay to send and which pieces they should reserve a spot on a prospect’s calendar for.
Russ: Great. Any advice for product marketers or marketers in general who are just starting out on how to deal with adaptable content?
Megan: Just be organized. I find that a lot of marketers are flying by the seat of their pants and making it up day-to-day. However, if they build processes and become organized, things become more efficient. People depend on process. They understand them. They can be repeatable. When you are organized, people know where to go for specific one pagers or webinar recordings because it’s either all labeled or you have a process for it. When there’s no dedicated process and no organization, that’s when marketers scramble. It pays to be organized or you’ll just end up making more work for yourself.