The Crunch: When businesses finalize their marketing budgets, a sizable portion of spending is usually earmarked for content — such as data sheets, videos, or training materials. But if that content is not being used effectively by the sales department, it may not be money well spent. KnowledgeTree is a platform that brings sales and marketing together by consolidating relevant content for use in selling to prospective clients. The platform also analyzes what assets help most in closing sales, giving marketing departments the data they need to create engaging content. KnowledgeTree enhances the ability of sales associates to deal with consumers and prospective clients while helping bridge the divide often seen between marketing and sales departments.
The sales and marketing departments within a company rely heavily on each other, but a disconnect can often be evident between the two. For businesses trying to find efficiencies, a void between two important departments can result in plenty of lost revenue.
One of the biggest problems in the sales-marketing relationship can be a lack of communication. Frequently, salespeople don’t communicate their needs for updated material to the marketing department, meaning they continue to use product documentation, case studies, and data sheets that are outdated and, sometimes, irrelevant. What’s more, marketers can’t tell what content is most useful to close sales.
KnowledgeTree understands the importance of getting sales and marketing on the same page and is built to support both departments. First, the platform consolidates all of a company’s relevant content, making it readily available to the salespeople who need it. The platform also helps businesses analyze content usage and find what works best to close deals.
“Companies have assets that may be stored in a lot of different locations, and if you have material spread out, how do you get it in the hands of a salesperson?” Peter Mollins, Vice President of Marketing for KnowledgeTree, said. “They could ask marketing or sales enablement for it, but that isn’t efficient.”
KnowledgeTree works to bring that information together for the sales department, then provides marketing with reliable analytics not only on what content is being used but also what content is helping to close deals. And KnowledgeTree can predict what the right content will be, so it can be recommended to salespeople the next time a similar situation comes up.
This approach makes each department more familiar with the other and drives sales because everyone is on the same page, removing a barrier to increasing revenue.
Consolidating Resources Gives Sales Reps The Information They Need to Close
When a sales rep is working with two-year-old marketing content saved on his or her desktop, a company may have a problem with its data consolidation process. KnowledgeTree strives to put all of the relevant information necessary to close a deal in front of a salesperson in a natural, intuitive platform.
“When a salesperson is trying to communicate value, there are a lot of different types of resources they can access to do that,” Peter said. “That could be sending a data sheet or video, over the phone, in person, or connecting to a product expert. Content is very broad in that sense.”
There are different applications for that content, as well, because helping out a consumer with product questions is far different than selling to a business.
KnowledgeTree recognizes the distinction, and its platform is responsive to both types of sales.
“In both cases, it comes down to value,” Peter said. “And buyers have to believe that sellers are providing value.”
A company’s content also stays where it currently resides — whether it is on a web page, YouTube, or in Salesforce — and KnowledgeTree pushes it from there to a representative. The platform is not just a repository for content and data, instead, it is an intuitive software that provides easy access to content — and also pushes it where it needs to be.
Consumer Questions and Concerns Can Be Addressed More Efficiently
Consumers expect sales representatives to have an in-depth knowledge of what they are selling, but as product lines shift and new marketing strategies are deployed, those salespeople can often get left behind with a cache of outdated materials.
When the most updated, relevant information is at a representative’s fingertips, they can answer a consumer’s questions quickly and more accurately. And, many times, a customer who contacts a company is highly engaged, looking for one or two answers that can lead to an immediate purchase, which is why timing and access to information are critical.
“On the transactional side, a sales rep is aiming for efficiency,” said Peter. “They want a data sheet on a product or the answer to a very specific question.”
KnowledgeTree provides fast access to those answers, giving a sales rep a better chance of satisfying the consumer’s need. And on the more nuanced side of selling — consultative sales — KnowledgeTree is equally as effective in delivering results.
Knowledgeable Consultations Provide Added Value to Prospective Clients
The sales process is made more difficult if the potential buyer is unsure of what they want — or are not in the market to make a purchase.
“About 95% of consumers aren’t in-market right now,” Peter told us. “Whether it is a car, a refrigerator, or a B2B solution, a person or business may be open to being convinced, but isn’t actively looking for your product.”
This scenario plays out every day in business-to-business sales. A company may be experiencing a problem but doesn’t know why, so it reaches out for answers and solutions. That means salespeople must make a case for their product, and they require access to all necessary information — wherever they are.
KnowledgeTree grants associates that access — even away from the office through email or on an iPhone — and the company realizes how different the consultation approach can be. Instead of focusing on the product itself, a company may want to know what kind of ROI it can expect or need help understanding the long-term value of a solution.
KnowledgeTree provides access to a variety of documents — including training manuals — that can help a sales consultation go more smoothly. The company also provides insights into what content produces the most sales and predicts which salespeople will need to close future deals.
Using Analytics to Predict What Content Will Drive Performance
When a salesperson has to go searching for information, efficiency, authority, and even revenue can be lost. To provide the most value, a sales rep must be knowledgeable and communicate effectively with a consumer or business.
KnowledgeTree goes beyond just presenting documentation, the company uses analytics to predict what content will work for a future prospective client based on past cases. And when marketing departments are supplied with that data, content becomes more compelling.
“We analyze content to see if it will be effective for similar prospects in similar positions,” Peter told us. “In the past, marketers produced content because of a new product launch or because a salesperson asked them to. When you can look at analytics on the usage of content — and its performance — then you have a lot more to go on.”
And the right content can be pushed automatically to a salesperson at the right time — through email, on a mobile device, or through a CRM, like Salesforce — providing content that is relevant to that client.
“If you’re sitting in a boardroom across from the CIO of a bank, and his principle concern is security, you’re probably not going to remember the security section from your onboarding manual,” Peter told us. “That is why KnowledgeTree is contextual and recommendation driven. We can put together all of the security training materials and past successes then push them to a salesperson.”
The ability to analyze content use for the marketing department and push predictive recommendations to salespeople make both departments more efficient and helps them work better together.
KnowledgeTree Bridges the Gap Between Sales and Marketing
What happens in the sales department is often a mystery to those in the marketing department — and vice versa. But when analytics are brought in to identify materials that perform well, more relevant content can be produced, meaning the departments can work in better harmony.
“Our approach is to equip the marketing team with data on how content is being used in the sales funnel, so they can answer questions about what performs best and generates the most revenue,” Peter said. “And when you have marketing focused on revenue, they are more likely to be in sync with sales.”
KnowledgeTree’s platform helps bridge the gap between departments organically by consolidating information, tracking its use, and making predictions on what content will be needed.
This approach enables a company to maximize efficiency and serve its customers — and prospective clients — better by answering all of their questions. In sales and marketing, it isn’t about knowing everything; it’s about knowing the right information at the right time to close the deal.