You’re preparing for a meeting. You spend half the day researching the company, thinking you’ll be able to use the other half to handle the rest of your day’s workload. Instead you get stuck scrolling through your documents directory searching for what you know will be just the right piece of sales collateral – if only you could find it. It doesn’t exactly put you in the mood to shine, does it?
In a recent survey, 76% of respondents stated that the most important feature of a Sales Enablement tool was a quick navigable/searchable sales collateral repository. Being able to find what you’re looking for quickly and easily saves time (= money) and puts you in the best position to make the most of both your sales conversations and the resources available to you. If you're looking into how to get salespeople to use content, start by fixing these three common inefficiencies.
1. Directories are intuitive, but only for the individual who creates them
If you’re storing sales collateral on the general server and expecting people to access it through a directory, you may have a problem. Finding materials in a directory can be difficult, for the reasons outlined below.
- No doubt you have a filing system on your own computer that makes perfect sense. But would a colleague using your machine find it as easy to navigate? The way we label and file materials is pretty well in line with the way our brain works – which is to say, it’s not always going to be in line with the way your colleague’s brain works. What’s intuitive to one person may be a riddle to another.
- Bad enough when one person is accessing another person’s filing system, but we’re likely talking about one department accessing another department’s stores. Not only are those two departments probably operating on different wavelengths, but within the marketing department you can find that different people are labeling and storing files according to different parameters, meaning there’s no consistency anywhere.
- The search, find or spotlight functions on your computers are unlikely to be much help either. There’s simply too much material on your computer to narrow down searches by keywords – presuming you know what those keywords would be.
2. Nobody wants to be – or go through – a gatekeeper
In some cases the decision is made to store all the files behind a door that only marketing can open. In order to access the resources that were created for them, salespeople must call or email and request them to be sent over. My concern here is twofold. First, I feel for the person or people who have to spend their days fielding those calls. I’m certain they have better things to do. And second, cynical as it may be, I suspect that there are many occasions when salespeople don’t make that call and instead either make up their own materials or do without.
Introducing an extra step in the process isn’t going to make anyone happy. More to the point, if salespeople aren’t given the opportunity to browse materials, how will they know what it is that they’re looking for? There’s a reason it’s called sales collateral. Yes, let marketing create it and control all updates to the content – that is their area of expertise – but don’t make it difficult for sales to access and utilize.
3. Updates only work when people know about them
Sales collateral should be regularly updated. Statistics should be new; case studies should be relevant; branding should be on point. Out of date materials reflect badly on your company, so by all means update them.
However, it’s equally important that your salespeople know what those updates are so that a) they’re not taken by surprise when they see them mid-sales conversation, and b) they don’t continue to rattle off old information, confusing customers and creating mistrust.
Updates in a regular repository are likely not going to be flagged, putting your sales team at a disadvantage. Another potential issue is that your salespeople, wishing to avoid the aforementioned challenges of accessing materials, will start saving files to their computer, and will thus completely miss out on any updates. The consequences of presenting out-of-date or even incorrect information can be serious and far-reaching.
Clearly, you need a quick navigable, searchable sales collateral repository
You need Sales Enablement! SaStoring your sales collateral in a Sales Enablement Platform gives marketing full control of the materials and provides sales with easy access to all the resources available. Because a Sales Enablement Platform is specifically designed for this purpose, the search function works much more effectively, allowing users to search by title and by tags. While sales may not know the title of the documents they’re looking for, they’ll know the general topic. Using tags helps collate all the relevant resources in one place.
Once the results are in, users can choose an action item to take, whether that be to simply open it, add it to a Sharelist to email out to customers, include it in a Playlist for their upcoming meeting, or just add it to their favorites for future reference.
Also included as part of iPresent’s offering is the ability to show where updates have been made to resources, so that users will always be aware of the changes that have taken place. This means that everyone is kept in the loop at all times and helps improve the relationship between the sales and marketing departments.
The simple menu options and instinctive layout makes it simple to navigate and collateral easy to find, whichever department you come from.