Last week, I wrote a blog about leveraging content for sales partners and consumers. I talked about the importance of understanding sales training content and repurposing and repackaging it for marketing communications.
On the surface, sales partner content and end-users content seem to be totally different segments without commonalties. In reality, their content requirements are very similar. Sales partners want to educate and influence their customers to close sales, consumers want to have information about your products before making a purchase. Some content such as “Why buy this product?” “What are the new features and user benefits?” apply to both sales partners and end-users.
In my previous blog post, I didn’t discuss how to scale sales partner content to different regions. Before you determine the list of content to scale to various regions, you need to understand three elements:
– Your company’s products and services
– Your company’s sales distribution models
– Current content creation and deployment processes
Products and Services:
If the product or services are fairly homogenous, it’s easy to create content for several regions. You may still need to localize and translate, but the degree of localization is manageable.
If the products are highly localized and customized, it’s pretty challenging to scale content across regions. You may be able to use some corporate content to leverage the master brand equity, if your brand is fairly well known. But product-specific information and usage needs to be created locally.
Sales Distribution Models:
The sales content requirement is highly dependent on the distribution model. In the US, your company may have a direct sales force. In big cities in Asia, you may rely heavily on channel partners. In some rural regions of China, Mexico and South Africa, you may rely heavily on feet-on-the-street or village entrepreneurs.
Different distribution models require different sets of content. They are all your sales force, yet their content requirements are vastly different.
For feet-on-the-street or village entrepreneurs, you may need to train them to increase their business skills beyond product selling. It’s beneficial to educate them on how to use computers to optimize inventory and order new stock, basic branding and marketing or even conducting customer satisfaction surveys. Understanding the distribution model is vital for determining content recommendations.
Current Content Creation and Deployment Process:
Once you understand your product offering and the sales distribution models across regions, you need to examine current content creation and deployment processes.
You will discover some regions have no processes and some have fairly established processes. I have found it useful to have conversations with the local teams.
Collaborate with them to determine the best ways to create and deploy content. If you are a one-man show, work directly with your sales partners on the ground to determine what is needed from a content perspective.
I came across an article, Unlocking the Wealth in Rural Markets by Mamta Kapur, Sanjay Dawar and Vineet R. Ahuja from the June 2014 edition of Harvard Business Review. This article is not about content marketing, but they discuss extensively the five distribution models to reach rural markets in India.
They make it very clear that the first step to reach India’s rural dwellers is to establish a multi-pronged distribution model from a direct sales force and local influencers to feet-on-the-street.
I wholeheartedly agree. Based on my experience, distribution model is “THE” key determining factor for sales content recommendations. Although the company may sell the same products, the different distribution models create different content needs for different types of sales partners. The distribution models also heavily influence different promotions and product offerings. In my personal opinion, it’s challenging to scale sales content across regions. Understanding local products/services and sales distribution models will help you determine the appropriate content to scale and localize.