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We Marketers spend a ton of time, money, and effort creating digital sales collateral for our sales teams.

In fact, I would argue it has never been easier or more cost effective to generate videos, images, PDF brochures, mini-apps, etc.


Yet, despite all the systems and repositories…time and time again the sales guys ask us if we have a brochure for X or case study that is an example of Y.

Are you kidding me?  Yes, we gave you that 6 months ago.  Why are you emailing me?


We’re all in this together

If your sales team is not using the collateral you are creating, you are not alone. In fact, according to SiriusDecisions, 60-70 percent of content created by B2B marketers is never used by sales. If you haven’t read that article, I highly recommend it. The facts are stunning although the data is perhaps biased a bit.

However, the conclusion reached that companies need to “overhaul” their content machine seems flawed and overly aggressive to me.  What do you think?

I mean, if everyone that went to Starbucks started leaving 65% of their coffee in the cups and kept asking the baristas if they could have more coffee should Starbucks “overall” its coffee creation process?

That’s nuts. Of course not.

What Starbucks would do is start asking consumers why they were only drinking 35% of the coffee?

And what do you think they might hear?  A bunch of different answers from which they might begin to uncover the real reasons before they spent billions overhauling their process.

So in that spirit, I suggest you start asking the sales team why?

And since, we sell sales tools to help your sales team find the right collateral here’s the amazingly simple, if slightly self focused reason, I bet you might uncover.


Reps can’t find the right collateral because we made it hard for them

Duh.  Sometimes the simplest answer is the easiest.

Just two days ago, I emailed one of my teammates asking them for a case study. Turns out it was on my phone, on my iPad, in my Salesforce Library, and on my computer.  Yet, I couldn’t find it.

Whose fault?  Mine.

casestudy12400_120418.pdf is amazingly uninformative and doesn’t come up in any search queries.

I didn’t tag the case study or name it well.

So as you add new product lines, expands globally and new divisions are brought on, chances are you’re creating a ton of collateral and the two questions you should be asking yourself are…

Where do you store it and how do you insure reps can find it?

Stick it on your sales portal? Ok.

Put it on your website? Worse.

Or email it to the team? Lost forever.

The hard cold reality is your reps won’t play ‘Where’s My Collateral’, especially not in front of a prospect.

We live in the mobile age.  Everyone is glued to their phones.

50% of your fellow employees have lived in the digital world their whole lives. They expect everything to be easy to find (Google), easy to use (Facebook), and at their fingertips (iPhone).

If it is not already, it will soon be a requirement soon for every Marketer to start thinking first about, how they are going to make their collateral easy to find before we even create it.

We Marketers can’t put a PDF on our consumer facing websites and expect our sales team to access that during a sales meeting.

How can you improve digital sales collateral usage?

Here’s a very abbreviated overview of what we’ve seen that works:

  1. Take inventory of your digital collateral.  Where is it? How do you find it? How is it titled and tagged?
  2. Make finding your digital sales collateral easier. Optimize for reps that are ‘Browsers’, ‘Searchers’, and make it available across all devices. Is it titled well? Have you added keyword tags?
  3. Gather regular feedback from your reps on existing collateral. For example, what collateral is titled poorly? Use that information to create a feedback loop and make everything easier to find and use.

More to come in the next article…

About J. Rusty Bishop, PhD

I've spent the last 5 years helping great brands create amazing experiences for their sales teams during one on one sales interactions. Helping sales people do their job is my passion. When I'm not working, I am on the ocean fishing in San Diego, Ca.