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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A cloud storage app is not a content portal.

With the advent of cloud storage applications, organizations increasingly use them as storage systems for all their digital assets. Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, etc, have made it very easy to securely store documents and other digital assets on the cloud and make them available to your company/team.

However, these cloud platforms are not an ideal destination for sales content. These cloud storage apps are nothing but a better version of Windows Explorer or Mac Finder on the cloud. And it is not their shortcoming that they are not suited to be your sales and knowledge portal. They are not meant to be a sales portal.

We love these apps. We use them at Enablix. They offer lots of storage, provide a decent search capability, and because of their popularity, there is (almost) zero learning curve for your team members. But using these apps as content portals for your customer-facing teams and expecting them to drive any value is a far cry.

Here are some negatives that render these cloud storage apps less desirable when it comes to helping your customer-facing teams with their content needs.

Too much content

  • We are a small team at Enablix, and in the last 18 months, our very small team (less than 7 members) has managed to accumulate more than 1000 files on our Google Drive folder.
  •  When we talk to marketers and team leaders, we often hear “we don’t have a lot of content.” And while that may be true, it is also true that even with very little content, you don’t have it organized in one place. It is somewhere in the clutter of your cloud storage along with a sea of drafts, and half-baked artifacts.
  • You don’t need a whole lot of content to start making a measurable impact on your customer-facing team’s productivity and efficiency. Read The 80/20 rule of enabling sales with content. But if you don’t do a good job of managing those few vital assets, then clutter is going to take over.

Only files

Most of us are using cloud storage to store files. But increasingly our content is in different formats. We are investing in blogs, press releases, articles, videos, slideshares, etc. Cloud storage apps are not the ideal platforms to store videos and URL links to your blogs and news articles. This means your customer-facing teams now need to access different applications for different types of content. An absence of centralized access to all the digital assets dilutes the value to the end user.

No control on quality

Just take a look at your cloud storage app. You are bound to find stale and irrelevant content in less than a minute. Files from last year that are no longer relevant are still lingering on your cloud storage application. You are also bound to see draft versions of the files scattered across the cloud file system. There is no way to control quality. There is no way to ensure that trusted and current content is available for your customer-facing teams.

No ownership

Cloud storage apps have democratized information sharing. Anyone and everyone in a company can contribute to the content stack. However, in the absence of centralized control, these storage apps become a playground to dump anything and everything. Restricting read/write access to folders is not practical. Such restrictions become the bottleneck to maintaining quality content.

No insights

The cloud storage apps provide you no insights on the usage of your content. Measuring internal and external content engagement helps you make informed decisions. It is very hard to manage and drive a content library without measurable feedback.

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Tips for managing Marketing and Sales Content on Dropbox

Marketing and sales collateral is essential to your company’s success. And for young and small organizations, using Dropbox to store their sales and marketing content becomes a natural choice. Most of us already use Dropbox in our personal lives (and love it). And it is a handy tool for storing your sales and marketing content since it is on the cloud, you can provide mobile access to your sales and customer-facing teams on the go, and keep everyone on the same page when it comes to content.
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But things can really go out of hand quickly. You wouldn’t realize, and within few months finding content on Dropbox will be a nightmare. Your sales team will stop using it, and they will start coming to you to request content.

But it doesn’t have to be this bad. Here are some useful tips for managing your sales and marketing content on Dropbox:

Filter Your Content

Not all content in the organization is relevant to your sales team. But in this age of hyper-communication, everyone wants everything to be available to everyone. This strategy backfires. Instead, take a disciplined view of what content is relevant to sales success. Sift away everything else because to your sales team it is NOISE. Following the 80-20 rule, you will realize that 20% of the content is relevant for 80% of the scenarios. Focus on that content then. Don’t try to fit in every piece of content. Start small and then grow your content catalog.

Dedicated Folder

Continuing with the idea of filtering, you want to have a dedicated folder on your team’s Dropbox repository to store content. Pick a name for that folder that is easy to identify and stands out. Some easy to identify names that we have seen are:
  • Sales Collateral (or Content)
  • Sales & Marketing Content
  • Sales Enablement
Even better, start that name with a “_.” This way when Dropbox displays the folder list, this dedicated folder will be on the top and not get buried in the midst of all other folders. Make it easy for your audience (sales) to find the folder.

Read Only

Make that folder and its content read-only. Dropbox allows you to control read/write permissions on folders and its content. Use this feature and provide write permissions only to select few in the organization whom you trust will not create a mess of that folder by dumping everything and anything that comes through their email inboxes.

Folder Structure

It is important that your folder structure makes sense and remains consistent. Don’t worry too much about boundary scenarios. Think about 80% of the use cases and create a structure for that.

Folder Structure: Define Your Business Dimensions

You need to define your business dimensions. Business Dimensions are parameters of your organization with which you go to the market. For, e.g., commonly used business dimensions in B2B software companies are:
  • Products
  • Solutions
  • Industries
  • Partners
  • Competitors
I hope you get the point. If you are confused, refer to your website. You may have already structured your site with similar business dimensions. Also, do include a General folder for content that does not fit into one single dimension. Say you are a B2B software organization with a couple of products selling into few different industries. In that case, your folder structure will look as below:
  • _Sales & Marketing Content
    • Solutions
    • Industries
    • Partners
    • Competitors
    • General
Inside each of these folders have folders for different business dimensions of your business. Something like this:
  • _Sales & Marketing Content
    • Solutions
      • Solution A
      • Solution B
      • Solution C
    • Industries
      • Industry A
      • Industry B
    • Partners
      • Partner A
      • Partner B
    • Competitors
      • Competitor A
      • Competitor B
      • Competitor C
    • General
Important Note: Even if you do not have content for some of the folders, we encourage you to create a folder to set the stage when content is available.

Folder Structure: Store By Content Type

Now that you have your business dimensions in place start uploading your content. But before that start segmenting your content by its type. Say you have two Case Studies, one Data Sheet and one Battle Card for Solution A, you should store it as follows:
  • _Sales & Marketing Content
    • Solutions
      • Solution A
        • Battle Cards
          • SolutionA_BattleCard
        • Case Studies
          • SolutionA_CaseStudy
          • SolutionA_2_CaseStudy
        • Data Sheets
          • SolutionA_DataSheet
If this makes sense to you, then follow a similar structure for rest of the dimensions. You will come across scenarios where you have a Case Study for Solution A, and it is for Industry B. That is quite likely. In fact, this will happen more frequently. Rarely documents will belong to a single business dimension. That is where the General folder helps. So if you have a Case Study for Solution A in Industry B, you should store it in the General folder as follows:
  • _Sales & Marketing Content
    • General
      • Case Studies
        • SolutionA_IndustryB_CaseStudy.pdf
Two important points to note here. First, any Case Study that is relevant across multiple dimension should find its place in the Case Studies folder in the General section. Second, the name of your Case Study should include your business dimension value. I know we are asking for longer names. But if you want your sales team to use this content and make it easy for them to find this content, you need to make these names simple to follow even at the expense of making them longer.

File Naming Convention

A few valuable tips here for naming your files:
  • Follow a strict naming convention.
  • Include the business dimension values consistently in the name of the files.
  • When you name files consistently, Dropbox’s default sorting will work for you. And it will be easier to search for them in Dropbox. Imagine you naming a file SolA, and the Sales rep is searching for Solution A. You want to avoid that. Be consistent. It will pay dividends.
  • If there are shorter names for your business dimension values, use them from the beginning. If your product name is Awesome Reporting Product, then use the name ARP when naming folders and files.

If you are reading this post and you are already suffering from a weak structure on your Dropbox instance, you must be thinking “How the hell do I get from where I am to this structure?”. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. But there is a silver lining. Start small. Anyway, your current mess is not helping anyone. So if you have 100 documents strewn across your Dropbox file system, start moving 10 files every day. It will take you less than 10 minutes to do this task. 10 minutes a day and in 10 days you will have a good set up to build your future content structure on. Your sales team will appreciate this structure and the consistency.

Dropbox may not get you to your goal of getting your content perfectly organized. But that is not an excuse to make a complete mess of it. We hope you can follow these steps to reach a more useful and easy to navigate structure for your sales and marketing collateral.

We at Enablix strive to help B2B marketers effectively organize, manage and distribute sales and marketing content to enable sales. After facing challenges in our professional lives using commonly available content management systems, we built Enablix to help marketers address this content chaos and simplify sales content management. If you are ready to look beyond homegrown processes on Dropbox, please contact us at support@enablix.com to find out how Enablix can help you get to a state of simplicity and efficiency. 

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.

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