5 Ways to Use Data to Improve Field and Channel Marketing Efforts

According to a recent CMO Study​, nearly 8% of today’s marketing budgets are going towards marketing analytics and this number is expected to increase over the next three years. In the age of big data and the growing number of business intelligence tools out there, this statistic is not surprising.

However, there still remains a gap in marketing analytics when it comes to field or channel marketing.  Most marketers who are responsible for serving their field sales representatives and/or channel partners, have very little insight into what content or marketing tactic is working or is not working. This lack of insight is likely the key reason SiriusDecisions reported up to 70% of marketing content goes unused by sales. ​ 

Attributing to the problem are a few key factors. First, many field marketing departments rely on third-party technology suppliers and have a multitude of portals for the field to interact with. This poses a challenge because these vendors may not be tracking who is actually using these tactics, let alone how the tactics are used by sales and received by customers. The second challenge is pulling the data together from all of these vendors in a meaningful way.

Another challenge for missing field or channel marketing data is the lack of adoption by the field to these technologies. Therefore, it is easy to conclude that if there is no activity, there is no data to report.

There is good news, however, for field and channel marketers hoping to gain access to the data and analytics needed to improve the effectiveness of your marketing tactics. By consolidating your vendor portals into a single sales content management solution, you benefit from data coming from a single source of truth and can move towards real-time content engagement tracking.

There are many ancillary benefits to a robust sales content management solution beyond actionable marketing data and analytics – which I have written about in previous blog posts – but the ability to understand what is working in the field to convert sales has to be high on the list of benefits.

In order to make sure that a newly implemented sales content management solution is configured to generate the analytics needed to be successful to raise the bar on field and channel marketing efforts, there are five segments to consider.

1. Get the entire marketing team on board with your initiative.
In order to begin the process of tracking the data to take action on, you may need to rethink the way things have always been done. For example, graphic designers have the ability to add a plethora of metadata inside the marketing assets they are creating. By having the graphic designers do this during the design phase of your project will save a tremendous amount of time and energy of manually entering meta-data into your sales content management solution.

2. Define the goals of your key marketing strategies and create KPI’s to measure success.
Lots of data, even when it is visualized into pretty graphs and pie charts, means nothing unless it is measured against a goal. Sure, a robust sales content management system can track lots and lots of data, but it could all be worthless if the wrong data is tracked or key data is missed. By taking the time up front to define what actions should be taken from the data, will save a lot of heartache down the road.

3. Think outside of the box when it comes to what is able to be tracked and measured.
Simple statics of site usage or shopping cart abandonment rates should not be considered actionable marketing insights – especially for B2B marketing. Instead, think about creating personas of the various sales people within your company and track the usage against the personas. Then, implement the sales content management solution to track the configuration of the personalized content used by each one of your personas.

This will measure the headlines that actually being used, the offers that are most effective, and even the graphics that trending. Analytics of this nature, when provided in real-time, will permit field and channel marketing professionals to instantly swap low rated messaging with high rated messaging and push it to the field. Now sales can engage their customers with relevant content before the competition even knows what hit them.

4. Implement a sales content management solution with an embedded BI tool.
Collecting lots and lots of data can be overwhelming if not done right. Parsing through a million spreadsheets will not provide the real-time analysis needed to make informed decisions quickly. The best in class sales content management solutions will offer you not just data, but intelligent data displayed graphically in a series of online dashboards and widgets. These dashboards will help you instantly uncover a story the data is trying to tell. And, these solutions will allow data visualization to happen without the need for IT’s involvement.

5. Be ready to take action!
When done right, the data visualization will likely tell a story that many field and channel marketing managers haven’t seen before. In fact, many of these managers feel a sense of personal failure when failing marketing tactics are uncovered. Although it might be a natural first response, it is important to learn from these mistakes. The good news is that with real-time data that is easy to understand, field and channel marketing departments can make decisions quickly to course correct and improve effectiveness.

Clearly a robust sales content management solution can close the field and channel marketing “visibility gap” by tracking which content resources are actually used by sales reps and which resources are creating engagement with potential buyers. This enables sales reps to make data-driven choices regarding what content resources to use in interactions with prospects, and it provides insights that both marketers and sales professionals can use to improve the effectiveness of their content resources.

You can read more about the five other key components of a successful Sales Content Management Solution by downloading a free copy of my white paper or by reading my latest four blogs​ which take a look at each component more closely.

About the Author

Tami Marek-Loper, President and Chief Visionary Officer for The Marek Group, Inc., a visionary thinker, pushing the envelope of what is possible in order to achieve greatness for both her company and her clients. "Thinking outside of the box is where you will find the ideas that change the world", is a living and breathing mantra found everywhere inside the company she helps to lead.

Field Sales Enablement is where her 20+ years of printing, marketing and technology have culminated. Providing frontline sales people with the right content, at the right time and in the right medium to maximize outcomes. By using data and predictive modeling, The Marek Group's Field Sales Effectiveness Platform can recommend to sales the exact piece of content needed to move the sale forward.