Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Why Your Sales Force Rewrites Your Copy

Ever have the nightmare about standing in front of an audience to speak, and having no idea what to say?

Evidently that's how salespeople feel every day. To stop the nightmares, they are writing their own content, regardless of what marketing provides them. So says a survey covered on MarketingProfs this week, stating that confidence in corporate and sales message is weak. The article states:
Dissatisfaction with sales messaging is so high that many sales teams have taken matters into their own hands: Nearly three-quarters of salespeople (74%) say they rewrite messages and tools created by marketing departments at least sometimes, including 41% who rewrite collateral frequently and 10% who always do it.
The reasons are many, beginning with the age-old misalignment between Marketing and Sales. But a growing danger to marketing is commoditized content: the temptation to churn cheap content to drive a quantity (or automated marketing processes), not quality.

The sales force, in their one-on-one conversations with prospects, has specific questions to answer and objections to counter. Their answers can't be commoditized. Imagine this conversation in a sales meeting:

Prospect: Your company is the smallest and least known of the vendors on our short list. How will you convince our CEO that you'll give us the level of service we need?

Sales Rep: We are a global technology company leading how the world connects, interacts and transacts with business. Our assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, gaming, and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries." [See our Corporate Jargon Quiz for more fun.]

While marketing budgets are tight, it's tempting to churn out copy that doesn't say anything. But the result may be jargony, fluffed-up copy--or very basic stuff that a salesperson would never use.

Successful marketers will avoid the temptation. They will create content, driven by a content strategy, that answers prospects' questions--and stays in the sales representative's slide deck.

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