Organizations have been “enabling” sales teams with collateral and sales tools to the point of burdening them with too much information, never mind where to find all that content. There is a multitude of sales and marketing collateral loaded into a sales portal or intranet site, and countless hours are put into creating, editing, and producing this content. It becomes incredibly difficult to know if sales teams have even used the content and how effective it really is. Every sales organization has a similar story:
“When I first joined the company, I got a couple of documents and presentations from my sales manager. Every time I have a meeting, I take these files and modify them for the current opportunity. I now have a hundred of versions of these documents and presentations on my laptop. The sales portal? I don’t remember how to get to it or what my login is.”
Effective use of collateral doesn’t always come naturally to sales reps. Organizations create more and more content and post in a sales portal somewhere – all in an effort of “enabling” reps to have conversations. But fundamentally, they are setting sales teams up for failure. Why?
1. Too much information. Most sales portals have become dumping grounds for all types of collateral – usually high-level, one-size-fits-all content and is way too hard to find or keep up-to-date. It requires the salesperson to search for what they need but how does a salesperson know what to use?
2. Not aligned with sales rep thinking or the current selling situation. Sales portals or content repositories tend to be organized by those posting the content, such as by file type, type of content, or by product line. It isn’t organized by the situation, such as attempting to qualify the opportunity of selling to a CFO in a manufacturing firm who’s worried about managing cash.
3. Disconnected from daily reality. Sales portals and content repositories require salespeople to log in to a separate system that is disconnected from the tools and applications they use every day. It’s cumbersome and distracting from daily workflows.
What we should be having is a natural, dynamic, give-and-take, back-and-forth, you-and-me approach to selling and communicating value: in other words, a conversation.
Conversations require the rep to know how to leverage collateral in the context of their customer or prospect’s business challenges and desired outcomes. Without this, reps risk misleading or losing the attention of the customer since the customer is left to interpret what the collateral means to them.
If we stop this death by collateral approach to sales, we not only clean up inboxes, but demonstrate value to prospects and will ultimately win more business.
Download our free eGuide to learn how you can go from Enablement to Execution.