digital assetsSales leaders, meet digital asset management.

The brainchild of Michael Moon’s work with Apple Computer in 1996, digital asset management is the “management, organization and distribution of digital assets from a central repository.” What we call content could also be labeled “digital assets” – in both cases we’re talking about design files, videos, images, documents, presentation files, and the like. DAM systems help you categorize types of content so they’re fast and easy to find and deploy – that’s why version control, taxonomies and naming conventions are vital to success.

While sales teams have specific needs when it comes to their content, there is plenty that can be carried over from the world of DAM. Now that you’ve been formally introduced, let us give you a bit more information on digital asset management and what you can take from it to make your sales content processes better.

  1. Hire for the position. There is a science to DAM – but that doesn’t mean that it can be managed or fully automated with a technology solution. Just as the human element is important in crafting engaging sales content, if you want to make sure the right digital media assets are being created and then distributed at the right time to the right people, you’ll need someone to oversee the process. A quick Google search of recent job postings will show you that there’s overlap in the qualities valued in DAM professionals and those important in a good content curator; both should be detail-oriented (“OCD behavior” welcomed!), process-driven, innovative, have a love of efficiency and an understanding for optimizing workflows.
  2. Start with a strategy. Implementing a system for organizing your digital assets, like implementing any new company or department-wide initiative, comes with risk. What’s at stake? Not just the people and technology investment but your company’s digital property, customer satisfaction, and reputation in the marketplace. An asset library, like a sales performance support system, is not something you can or should build overnight. Instead they require careful review and analysis of existing systems and content – a content audit is a good place to begin. From there you’ll want to consider what workflows make sense for your organization, what technology you will use to manage your database or content library, and how you will achieve 100% adoption of your new program.
  3. Don’t underestimate the importance of metadata. In our Search is Dead infographic, we illustrate how the explosion of content is making it more difficult than ever to find the information we need. In fact, more than 30% of workers spend upwards of 5 minutes looking for any single document or file. Imagine the time wasted on search in one business over the course of a year! Metadata is the key to making your content searchable and accessible. Having a plan for how you tag each piece of content is the only way to ensure your reps can find the information they want or need, and only the content they want and need, when they want or need it – whether they are using a phone, tablet, or laptop. Michael Moon calls this idea Content Eureka!.
  4. Governance can make or break you. Here at The Value Shift we haven’t been shy in proclaiming a strictly anti “random acts of sales content” message. So it makes sense that we would be pro content governance. Experts agree that having a set of rules and policies surrounding your digital assets and how and when they’re used will reduce content misuse and user confusion, improving the overall efficiency of your organization.
  5. When it comes to creating the best possible workflow, know your user. Digital asset management systems are built on workflows – and when the workflow is, well, working, it’s invisible. Everything should be “humming along nicely, nobody actually noticing,” as DAM Learning Center blogger Jim Kidwell put it. What’s the best way to achieve that seamlessness? By building the workflow into your user’s existing routine. With sales content, there are multiple user streams you want to consider – the sales rep is one (how is your team finding and accessing documents and videos vital to the sales process?) and the prospect is another (how is content being delivered to prospects and in what format?). Make sure you’re considering each set of users’ needs and goals before developing your content workflows.
  6. Do your research before throwing your money at technology. At this point there is plenty of  management software out there – take the time to find the right fit for your company. When it comes to any kind of CMS, you should consider general ease of use, compatibility with existing systems, mobile-readiness, and the quality of content analytics and reporting the technology offers.

The goal of digital asset management is simple: streamline business process to save time and money. Using these practices in conjunction with an overall sales content strategy is the best way to eliminate sales rep inefficiency and boost your team’s performance.