headsIf you’re not as obsessed with our blog as we are, you may have missed our previous post on automated marketing, a system that uses cool off-the-shelf web and email tricks to reach out and deliver content the user wants when the user wants it, delivering educated and qualified prospects to your sales team. If you can’t see how cool it is, go back and read it again.

But when you specialize in internal and B2B communications like FLIRT does, these kinds of tricks seem about as useful as knowing how to fix space heaters in Arizona. But it’s not true – because we’re big believers in treating internal audiences like customers, giving them the same kinds of consideration even if they already work with and for you.

After reading our example on how to use automated marketing, you might assume that it only works on long-lead sales, where it can take months for a prospect to move all the way through the sales funnel. But if you outline the amount of time between steps, automated marketing can work wonders for communications that happen over the course of only a few weeks.

Take, for example, a new line of products that you need to get your entire sales staff up to speed on. Normally, your product development team and marketing team might get together and put together a booklet on all the new product specs and marketing talking points. These booklets get printed and distributed locally, or they get emailed to remote sales staff as PDFs, akin to putting messages in a bottle. You then deploy a series of sales managers to remind and nag salespeople to read the materials. Sound familiar?

system mapWhat if you broke all that material into smaller pieces, pieces that were very easily digestable? Start with a document that defines the overall strategy and marketing direction, written less as a memo from the director of marketing, but as an invitation to become partners in success? Once that document is read, an email with a quiz is sent to the salesperson to verify that the material was understood, even collecting feedback on how it could have been better. The next email sends more complex material about the differences between the products within the new line. Not only does it not get too technical, there’s a game in which sales people select the best product for a variety of different scenarios. Upon completing the game, the next round of material comes out, this time with more technical specs and FAQs. When this is read, an email is sent asking if the sales person has any questions about a specific product (not just about the line, as that’s way too vague to generate useful responses). These questions are sent to marketing to turn into more FAQs for internal and external use.

Remember, these steps happen at the salesperson’s cadence. They can happen over the course of three days or three weeks, depending on how quickly each person can complete them. And because you’ve broken all the content into pieces, you can track each salesperson’s path through the content, and measure which content gave people the most trouble, information that should influence and improve the process next time.

You can even connect tracking and scores to a leaderboard so that all of your staff can see the competition unfold (how many salespeople do you know who don’t like a little friendly competition?) on the sales intranet.

Treating your internal staff like customers is how you engage them more deeply, build passion and increase outcomes across the board.