Here’s what Irwin Hipsman, Brainshark’s Customer Community Director, said in Antwerp recently: “Research has shown that American companies spend 25 percent of their sales and marketing budget on content production and distribution. We’re not quite at this stage in Western Europe yet, but perhaps we should be preparing ourselves for an enormous tidal wave of content marketing linked to CRM and marketing automation software. The challenge is two-fold; not just to create more relevant multimedia content, but also to ensure we continue to manage all produced content properly.”
Hipsman wasn’t exaggerating when he referred to the CRM situation ten years ago: either you didn’t have CRM software at the time, or it was a mess. It’s easy to compare this with today’s situation: either you don’t have a content strategy yet, or it’s a mess.
Ten years ago there was no talk of centralised management of prospects, leads, opportunities, customers and former customers, and this had lots of consequences. Now we are seeing the same thing in another area of sales and marketing: product documentation and recent or old PowerPoint presentations are used haphazardly; all social media activity stops if individual employees stop using it; new customers and contacts have to wait an age before starting to receive the newsletter; local marketing departments avoid using the international website because it takes too long to change anything; each department keeps its own separate record of visitors to client events. And so the list goes on.
Just like all sales information has to be recorded in CRM software, so does all information about marketing communication activities. There’s no operational reason for not doing it; with a vast range of add-ons available for all major CRM packages. We also think the planning is relatively easy to resolve: select the client’s purchasing situation and willingness to buy as a reference point, and let sales and marketing communication work together in harmony.
The more CRM and marketing automation is integrated in organisations, the more important content management becomes. Various employees creating content here and there will eventually lead to problems. So what’s the challenge? To standardise content and its associated workflow. Hipsman concluded that in order to achieve this, you have to start by setting up a ‘content department’.
PS: Brainshark’s Irwin Hipsman came to speak with us and Marketo at a LeadFabric event. We then met him again at his hotel and got him in front of the camera.