5 Benefits from Consolidating Access to Trusted Content

Businesses of all sizes are investing more time, resources, and money into content than ever before. According to this 2017 study, most successful B2B marketers dedicate around 39% of their marketing budgets to content. Furthermore, with B2B marketers enable their sales teams with the right content is a big part of their content spend.

However, with an ever-increasing focus on content, it is not uncommon for marketers to find themselves in a sea of content that is spread across different applications within their organization. Common reasons why companies end up with content in disparate systems:

  • Content Formats: Marketers are investing in different formats. Videos, Slideshares, Blogs, Articles are common formats adopted by organizations of all sizes. To support these varied formats, companies end up with multiple content management systems. You are more likely to have your videos hosted on YouTube than on Google Drive or Sharepoint.
  • Team Preferences: It is quite common to find different teams use different cloud storage apps or content management systems to store their team content.
  • Content Security: Even with the popularity of cloud applications, there could be circumstances where companies don’t publish their content outside their firewall.

Having your organization’s trusted content in multiple systems is a significant drag on your organization’s productivity costing your organization hundreds of thousands of dollars. A  practical approach to address this challenge is to consolidate access to your company’s trusted content.  Here are five benefits you gain by consolidating access to trusted content.

1 – Productivity, Productivity, Productivity

This is a no-brainer. A central place for all the essential and trusted content can deliver a much-needed shot in the arm for your organization’s productivity. Not only this helps scale your content beyond tactical engagements, but it also helps keep your customer-facing team members on message. For one, you will stop seeing those redundant and repetitive requests for content in your email inbox or slack channel. Furthermore, your colleagues can have access to the right content when they need it.

Cloud storage apps are notorious to become dump ground for everything and anything. By centralizing access to trusted content that is on the cloud app, you can separate your valuable, accurate assets from the sea of drafts and half-baked ideas that feed to the clutter.

2 – Avoid Duplication and Leverage Investments

The primary benefit of centralizing access to your content is you don’t duplicate content. Content continues to reside in their original content management system. YouTube videos stay on YouTube and WordPress blog posts continue to exist on WordPress. You don’t move assets. You only consolidate access to those assets.

This also helps align with different team’s preferences. If your customer success team prefers using Box to store its digital assets, it can continue to do so. This non-intrusive approach helps adoption.

3 – Integrations

Companies are investing in providing their sales team access to the right content at the right time. However, when your content is spread across multiple systems, delivering the right content to the sales reps can significantly increase integration costs. A central access point for all your content helps reduce the integration cost. Instead of integrating with individual content management systems, organizations can simplify sales enablement by integrating into one central access point.

4 – Reporting and Tracking

When your digital assets and content is spread across different systems keeping track of those assets becomes a difficult and laborious process. Additionally, tracking engagement on that content is even more challenging. With a consolidated access point to content, marketing can easily address these challenges.  They can benefit from a single application to,

  • measure content coverage across different systems.
  • track and report on engagement to make future content investment decisions.

5 – Content Maintenance

Content maintenance is an integral part of marketing operations. Content maintenance includes,

  • Re-branding content
  • Refreshing content
  • Retiring or archiving irrelevant content

It is much easier to maintain content assets when you can access and measure them from a central access point.

Content will continue to be a focal part of any B2B marketing team. However, the proliferation of content can be overwhelming and result in content chaos. If marketing can centralize access to this ever-increasing and evolving content assets they can not only help their colleagues in sales but can also significantly reduce the time and resources to maintain and scale their content.

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Why storing sales content inside CRM does not pay off?

If you are like any marketer, you are always hounded by your sales colleagues for latest collateral and intelligence that they can use in the field. In today’s world of specialized sales roles of SDRs (Sales Development Reps), AEs (Account Executives), Inside Sales and event Customer Success reps, everyone is looking for information and content to help them achieve their sales goals. Therefore, having one single place where these reps can get all their content and intelligence is essential and a no-brainer. It is also true that for any decently sized sales organization, they are already using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. And today’s CRM systems offer options to manage your sales collateral library in them. Therefore there is always a strong case for having the sales content stored in the CRM content library. Plus,

  • Salespeople are already spending their time in CRM.
  • Your company is already paying for the CRM system. And most CRM systems are not going to charge extra for storing the content. So it makes economic sense.

However, when we speak with marketers, in almost every instance, we find this strategy does not scale. If you step back and look at the entire end-to-end sales enablement process, storing the content inside CRM system is bound to create more work for marketers and not pay the expected dividends.

Here are some challenges that you should consider before you go down this avenue.

You end up creating information silos. 

If your company’s CRM usage is like the majority of other companies out there, a specific segment of your employees has access to your CRM system. It is usually limited to salespeople, marketing, and a select few executives. A very valid reason for this limited access is the cost of the CRM system.

This directly results in silos of information pockets. Your product team starts using a wiki to store their content. Your sales engineering team starts using a cloud storage system to store pre-sales content. Your architects and subject matter experts start creating their own folders on your cloud storage platform or, even worse, on their desktops. Soon, you end up with content and intelligence distributed across different systems and platforms. And this naturally adds a barrier to get all relevant content centralized in the CRM application.

You are missing out on a lot of content. 

When we think of content, we usually think of slide decks, white papers, and case studies. But there is so much more to content than just powerpoint presentations and pdf files. According to a recently published article by Tamara Schneck, only 40% of the content comes from the marketing team.

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Less than 40% of the content comes from marketing – From Tamara Schneck

By storing content inside a CRM application, you make it difficult to capture those different nuggets of intelligence which are not in powerpoint files or case studies.

Sales reps are overwhelmed. 

Here is a message from one of my ex-colleague who is an AE in a growing startup. “All of our content is in Salesforce. My biggest complaint is there is so much content that it makes it hard for me to know what content to use when and what to send to prospects.” Sales reps are after all humans. And they are humans with relatively low attention span. They are not academic and research oriented. Very soon all your content that makes its way into CRM system is too much to handle.

CRM systems are feature poor when it comes to content management. 

CRM systems are specialized in helping with deal flow. They are great at many things to help sales execute. However, they are not built with necessary enablement features that help salespeople succeed.

  • Poor search
  • Poor organization capabilities
  • No quality control
  • No workflow
  • And most importantly there is no analytics to see what is working and what isn’t.

It is resource intensive. 

All the above challenges can be overcome. How? By brute force. If marketing or sales enablement managers can,

  • Ensure all information from different silos makes its way into the CRM application
  • Keep content up to date.
  • Communicate with sales reps when new content is available.
  • Ensure quality control on content

However, these tasks are quite resource-intensive. You are opening avenues for low productivity and inefficiencies to creep into your sales enablement efforts.  And marketers don’t have spare time. Their time is well spent in generating leads and creating top-notch content. Not in organizing and distributing content.

Several organizations do attempt to drive enablement by storing content inside their CRM systems. It may initially make sense for all the right reasons. However, it will hurt your efficiency and will not deliver the desired outcome. We have seen this approach not scale.

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CRM modernization is not a prerequisite to Sales Enablement

“We need to first upgrade our CRM platform before we take on a sales enablement platform”. This is a common sentiment we see in our discussions with marketers. This thinking is based on serious misconceptions on what a sales enablement platform brings to the table. 

  • Data is Data: Data is critical for a Sales Enablement program to work. But the source of that data hardly matters as long as the data is accurate. Every CRM system allows reps to capture data and allows third-party systems to access that data.
  • Process  Vs Tool: A Sales Enablement platform depends on an organization’s sales process instead of the tools. If your sales process is well defined, it really doesn’t matter in what tool that process is being executed.
  • It is Continuous: Sales Enablement is a continuous function that is meant to evolve with your organization. CRM modernization is a logical step in that evolution. The right sales enablement platform will be easy to adopt and align with the new CRM system.

CRM, without doubt, is the nerve center of sales operations. A sales enablement platform with strong integration capabilities that can co-exist with changes in the sales and marketing ecosystem will help organizations reap the long term benefits of their sales enablement investments.

Minimize Sales Barriers with a Winning Content Management Strategy