Of the many tasks sales reps have to deal with, one of the most aggravating is to search for, find, and customize the right marketing materials. When brochures are printed as hard copies, it goes without saying that a sales rep has to know where they’re physically kept. This can mean they have to order, store, and manage their own inventory or they must rely on others to do it for them. Printed brochures are costly to design, print, and ship.
With the price drop of high-quality color printers, it’s now just as affordable to print them on-demand. When sales reps print their own marketing materials, they have the added benefit of personalizing or customizing the information to suit their sales situation.
Marketing is also able to update the collateral as often as needed with limited additional costs. However, it becomes burdensome to track different versions. Say marketing has posted one version on the network while a sales rep is still using the old version. Before you know it, multiple versions of the same piece of collateral are circulating. That’s why you’re starting to see CRM software with collateral management — sometimes called “Asset Management” — built in.
Marketers need only to post the new version into (and remove the old from) the central repository that feeds the sales software. Sales reps love it because it’s a huge time-saver. And that’s why we love it, too.
If your CRM software doesn’t have collateral management or you don’t have a CRM system, there are other options. One in particular is FastPath by Sant Corporation.
Content is uploaded into the FastPath system where users have access from anywhere via their Web browser. You use familiar “Google-like” searches to locate the relevant content. That content can be immediately downloaded, e-mailed or added to a FastPath Project.
Content items in a FastPath project can be personalized, merged and converted to a PDF file, which users can deliver to recipients by e-mail.
It’s a great way to protect the 215. It gives both your direct and indirect sales teams a way to locate, personalize and deliver relevant sales materials quickly and easily to prospects. FastPath can be used for sharing expertise as well. The latest product “cheat sheets” and FAQs (frequently asked questions) can be published and stored in the system. In addition, you can find people who have the expertise by a simple search feature — the same way you search for content. The cost is $20 per user per month.
iCentera also offers collateral management. It uses the tagline “Portals for Mortals” which explains the focus – keeping the system easy so sales reps will use and benefit from it. A good collateral management system provides information and knowledge at the point in the sales cycle when it’s needed. Reps have access to only the most current marketing materials because they’re stored digitally in a centralized location on the portal. This, of course, gives marketing more control over the messaging as well.
iCentera’s software allows marketing to track usage, which helps determine which items are most useful. Marketing materials can be updated across the organization in minutes. Again, the reason to centralize your marketing materials online and to consider products like FastPath and I Centera is to protect your sales reps’ limited selling time – “the 215.” The rule of thumb is a task that eats up 2.5 minutes of each day translates to one full day of lost selling time per year. iCentera does not publically disclose their prices.
Kadient also offers a system for collateral management called “Dynamic Sales Content.” The system provides a central library for all content and the ability to search, browse and find. Kadient’s system also guides your salespeople through the process of creating deliverables tailored to each prospect’s needs. Sales reps not only save time, but they can respond to prospects quicker; they use the most current marketing materials; and they’re quickly off to work on the next potential sale.
However, Kadient’s system3 is designed for more than collateral management.
For the longest time, great salespeople were seen to have been born with the ability to influence others – the “art” of sales. Now we realize that great salespeople are great because they have a mental playbook from which they select the best plays for each situation.
Kadient’s Sales Playbooks are meant to help transfer that knowledge and success rate to others and institutionalize successful practices across the organization.
A Sales Playbook aligns sales activities, content and coaching with the customer’s buying cycle and it’s served up within a CRM system so the salesperson knows what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Sales Playbooks can be developed for any recurring selling situation where you want to drive repeatable behavior.
They consist of a series of plays that are based on what proved to work in previous sales engagements. These questions can help you decide whether sales playbooks would benefit your sales team:
- Can your salespeople get the information they need in the right place, at the right time?
- Can your knowledge be tailored to specific sales situations?
- Are you drawing insights from real-life sales processes?
- Can you take advantage of what’s learned in the field?
- Do you have a process for collaboration and continuous improvement?
Kadient does not publically disclose its pricing.
Nancy Nardin founded Smart Selling Tools after a prestigious career in high-tech and IT market research sales. She is considered the leading expert on sales productivity tools