SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

December 19, 2007 14:23 ET

Access to Marketing Content Results in Increased Sales Effectiveness

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - December 19, 2007) - The relationship between sales and marketing departments has traditionally been a fragmented one; however, as companies focus on ways to increase sales effectiveness, the mutual sharing of content and information between sales and marketing has emerged as a method to increase sales productivity. A recent survey of over 250 companies by Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), found that 78% of Best-in-Class companies provide sales with access to a centralized repository of marketing materials. As a result of this shared content between sales and marketing, Best-in-Class companies have improved time-to-close rates by nearly one day, compared to the increase of one day in time-to-close rates experienced by Laggards.

Aberdeen's latest report, "Sales Effectiveness: Leveraging Content to Close Deals," revealed that the top pressure causing all organizations to devise ways to increase sales productivity is the constant need to increase market share. Despite the fact that Best-in-Class companies are 1.8 times as likely as others to rate themselves as "extremely aligned" in the area of branding and messaging, there is still a heavy implementation of technology solutions on the part of Best-in-Class companies to assure that an increase in sales productivity results in an increase in market share. For example, Best-in-Class companies utilize sales analytics (61%), content feedback solutions (39%), and closed-loop marketing (35%) to ensure that the processes designed to optimize sales win rates are successful. Furthermore, 0% of Best-in-Class companies fail to measure lead conversion rates, compared to 4% of the Industry Average and 14% of Laggards. Best-in-Class companies are leveraging their organizational processes, technology enablers, and performance measurement insight to achieve compelling results.

"Besides ensuring consistency, automating access to marketing content saves sales time," explains Gretchen Duhaime, a research analyst at Aberdeen. "If sales does not have collateral readily available, they are burdened to create it themselves or work with marketing to draft it, which either takes sales representatives out of the field or adds to their support staff workload. Also, the documents they create may not have tried and true messaging designed to prompt prospects to take action and close the deal."

The report demonstrates the value of implementing key process, performance, and organizational capabilities to ensure that valuable content is shared between marketing and sales. By utilizing dedicated operations resources (83%) and processes for generating customized customer documents (57%), Best-in-Class companies are able to reduce the amount of time sales representatives spend on administrative and non-selling tasks.

The research educates readers on how to combine strategic actions, organizational capabilities, and enabling technologies to define consistent sales processes and make institutional knowledge readily available to and easily accessed by the sales force. The report also provides the results that Best-in-Class companies achieve across key sales metrics after employing certain processes and technologies and compares these companies to the Industry Average and Laggards who have not yet pursued a similar strategy.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: Big Machines, Apttus and Dow Jones SalesWorks. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit:

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to

© 2007 Aberdeen Group, Inc., a Harte-Hanks Company
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