We’ve all been there – you finally get your content organization right… only for it to be useless 6 months later.
In Part 3 of our content enablement miniseries, Nick sits down with Gaurav Harode, Founder at Enablix, to discuss:
- Why typical folder and storage systems aren’t great at organizing sales content
- Why even the best content libraries eventually go bad without intervention
- Easy steps to improve the quality of your content library
This episode is perfect for anyone in sales or content enablement trying to control the amount of sales and marketing content in their library without spending a ton of time or energy doing a complete audit.
Why Storage Systems Fail at Organizing Sales Content
How to Keep the Sales Content Library Fresh
Nick: Hello, everybody, and welcome back to Mind The Gap, a podcast talking sales and marketing alignment, in part three of our four-part mini-series on content enablement workflows. Our guest today is the man himself, Gaurav Harode. How’s it going?
Gaurav: Good, how are you?
Nick: Doing very well. It’s been some time. You’ve hung around the Mind The Gap periphery for almost a year now, but we decided to bring you on. For people that are just coming in at part 3 of our 25-part podcast, could you tell the listeners who you are and what you do?
Gaurav: Sure. My name is Gaurav Harode. I am Founder and CEO of Enablix. I started Enablix five years ago in the sales enablement space, and I’m very familiar with the B2B selling and buying space in my career.
Nick: I think the podcast theme of today being quality touches at the heart of what you do at Enablix. If I get it right, the idea of Enablix is to have the highest-quality content library that you can. Is that right?
Gaurav: Sure. I think when we started Enablix, and even to this day, we work with different prospects, and we always try to suggest, recommend and instill this notion that it’s not a quantity game. A lot of marketing and sales enablement teams approach content enablement and sales content management as a quantity, like they need to turn up content and they need lots of collateral. We believe that it’s not a quantity game, but a quality game. Sales reps don’t need 10 decks, they need maybe two or three. And how you can help them get there is all about quality and relevance.
Nick: And there’s nothing wrong with a lot of quantity. You can have a lot of a good thing. It’s just incredibly unlikely. For anybody listening that’s used SharePoint, or any large file system – this can happen anywhere – tools are really good for storing stuff. And so, everybody puts something in, and soon your storage gets – in my experience, at least – unmanageable. I imagine you’ve seen some pretty bad deployments. In the enterprise sales enablement space, how does it get bad? Everybody starts with a great folder structure – how does it get bad?
Gaurav: There are a couple of ways. One way it gets bad is that there is no separation between what is work in progress, and what is done and available. So, the advantage of SharePoint or Google Drive is that there is a very low barrier to entry. Everybody knows how to use Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and similarly Google Docs. But because of this low barrier to entry and everybody having access as part of this office suite, everybody is a contributor.
You and I are working on a proposal, and version 1 to version 20 is on the platform. So, as a result, it requires extra effort for enablement teams and marketing teams to separate the wheat from the chaff. So, you need to separate what is done, what is relevant, what is vetted, to what Gaurav and Nick are working on for a specific project. So, that’s one big thing.
And the second thing is, even after separating it and making it relevant, I think people just assume that putting stuff there is easy. But we are humans, our attention spans are dropping like crazy, and that’s where the problem arises, all sorts of incorrect stuff, invalid things, duplicates, redundant content gets pushed into the platform. And that’s where it just becomes unmanageable on an ongoing basis.
Nick: And I think part of it is the idea that there’s nothing wrong with having that extra content. We’ve all met people that think that more is better. You were talking about working on a proposal – we’ve all seen ‘proposal v1’, ‘proposal final’, ‘proposal final final v5’ or whatever. I think the idea is, there’s no downside to adding in what is potentially good content, but potentially not. There’s no barrier there, and so, why not?
But as we’ve seen, it doesn’t take much to go from something that’s really useful to something really not useful. This is how I think about it: how much milk would you have to add to water to not wanna drink it anymore? If you had a big glass of water, it does not take much milk to be like, ‘I don’t know, that’s weird’. You had mentioned duplicate content. Before we get into the quality of workflow, what do you mean by duplicate content? Isn’t there just one version of a thing? What is that?
Gaurav: I think what happens is- and I’m not even talking about big teams. I have done this myself. I will create a sales deck, I will add it to the repository, and then two months later I will recreate the same sales deck and add it to the repository. Or, I will take a version from my desktop and re-add it. So, I think duplicate content means I have multiple versions of the case study, and they are all floating around for the sales reps. And that just throws the reps off because they are saying, okay which one is the right one?
Now, there can be cases where you need different versions of the case studies, and those don’t qualify as duplicate content. But, you would have the same case study with maybe some little different wording, or maybe a different version, and they are loaded into the platform, and the reps are scratching their head, ‘should I share this or that?’ And they just stop trusting the source.
So, it’s not only about that specific asset, it’s about their trust in the source. It’s like going to a shop and not finding what you need, or getting confused and therefore not wanting to go there. ‘Hey, Nick, can you give me what is the current case study for this customer?’ Because that feels like a more trusted source then self-serving the content from the repository.
Nick: Effectively, going to any content library and not being able to find what you need, or finding what you think you need and having it be wrong, is effectively bad customer experience. If you think of it as your cell phone or internet provider, and you call in, you have options, and the option is just ask the next person, or keep it on your computer, or go around the system.
I’m a big fan of going around the system in any system. So, I will do that at the drop of a hat. But that’s effectively what it is, and I think we need to see it as such. We talked about duplicate content. There are few kinds of bad content outcomes that we talk about when we talk about having a clean content library. It all comes back to purpose-driven content, which is something that you mentioned.
What is the purpose of this asset, and how do we keep the number of things that serve that purpose as low as possible, to reduce the overhead? Let’s go one by one. The second one is invalid content. Can you explain what that is?
Gaurav: So, invalid collateral could be as simple as – this is a very common use case we see – you have a Vimeo video, or a YouTube video, or some asset from your website that you add into a content library. Most modern sales enablement platforms provide URL-based content, so not everything is filed. And then that target URL is not available. That target YouTube video is taken off, which happens in the business. You are pointing to sources, and then some change happens within the organization, and that target asset is no longer available. That’s one example.
Another example is, you upload a corrupted file. Maybe it worked on your desktop, but it was a corrupted PowerPoint file, and you uploaded it. Or you uploaded an incorrect file, with a 0 KB size. So, there are these cases where invalid collateral goes into the platform and it leads to a poor experience for the sales rep. It’s akin to the 404 URL on a website. You are browsing a website, and then you click on a link, and it goes to a 404 URL. that just kills your brand by a certain percentage.
Nick: The New York Times did a really good study of their own content. If you trace every link on their website by year, it just falls off. If you go back to the first year they started contributing web content, which I think was 1997, only 15-20% of it is there. The rest of it is just dead. It’s not there anymore. But, to your point, a tip for everyone out there… And maybe this isn’t relevant anymore, but you used to have to mail in Word or PowerPoint files to your professor or your high school teacher.
And what they don’t teach you in school is, if you save that file in PowerPoint, but then edit it in a text editor, and then remove the last few lines, it will look like a perfectly good file. Maybe the file preview will even show up. But it’s gonna be corrupted, and you’re gonna buy yourself anywhere from three to 12 hours to get that assignment actually done. And you’ll say, ‘I emailed it to you’.
Gaurav: I should tell my daughter about it. She’s heading to college. I think this will be a good hack to have in her back pocket.
Nick: No, Don’t do that one. But your point about it working from one machine to another machine, Mac to PC, some content just doesn’t work. So, people understand duplicate and invalid. Let’s move on to the stuff that, outside of sales enablement practitioners, I don’t know that people are thinking enough about. The third one is assets with low engagement.
We’re starting to get into the world of having an engagement platform, but you can absolutely measure this without one. Whether you’re on Docs or SharePoint, they keep an audit. Can you tell me what a low-engaged asset is, and why it matters?
Gaurav: Sure. There are two parts to the engagement. One is, this is a sales deck and none of the sales reps have ever accessed it in the last one-year period or six-month period. And there are other sales decks similar to this sales deck that have high engagement. So, it’s also a relative concept. So, you’re not just looking at it in the absolute sense. So, you are looking at it in comparison with other assets.
You have five case studies for one of your solutions, and one of the case studies has really low engagement. Not only that people are not accessing it, but if they are accessing it, nobody is sharing it with the prospect, whereas the other four are shared regularly, and there is external engagement. So, that’s what would qualify as a low-engaged asset. In relation to other similar assets, they are not showing the same level of engagement.
And I think that becomes important because it’s a learning opportunity, but also an opportunity to decide next steps on what to do. And with case studies, maybe they are low-engagement and sales enablement managers will still keep it around, but with sales decks and stuff like that, you may keep an asset thinking that it may be needed in the future. This is the whole Marie Kondo kind of thing. You are going through your clothes and you have a shirt which you haven’t worn in the last three months, but you still keep it, thinking you’re gonna get back to it.
Imagine if someone went in your closet and said, ‘here are the clothes that have been there for one year, and you haven’t worn them. It just puts things into perspective, and gives you that much more data and confidence to either get rid of them or archive the assets.
Nick: The thing that many people miss is that every unused piece of content, or any low-value thing you have in your library is effectively another decision you’re making your reps make. And this is gonna lead to decision fatigue in one way or another. We’ve all worked with people that don’t understand the value of not having a bunch of crap sitting around. And they have the best of intentions. But, what you’re effectively making people do is take extra effort to find a thing they need, which takes the value of the library down.
Gaurav: Exactly. And there’s also discovery fatigue. You may be searching content, navigating to the collateral through different links. And yes, the platform will tell you what is high and low-priority, but it’s still showing that many more things on the screen that take a little bit of attention off the important stuff.
Nick: I know we make the closet parallel a lot. The difference here is, no one is throwing new, better clothes into your closet all the time without you knowing. And that’s exactly what’s happening in a sales content library. You have an entire team of people that are constantly making new stuff, and by keeping old, bad, unused, low-engagement stuff, it’s harder to find the stuff that maybe you haven’t seen, but could be useful.
And that’s why quality is so important. When we talk about a quality workflow- The first part is approving good content, the second part is giving feedback, and the third part is quality. We’ve identified the bad assets or the things to look for. Can you give us tips on building in a workflow. How should you be thinking about reviewing this? Or if it’s automated, at what cadence? What are some best practices for people, either with a solution or without one?
Gaurav: I think if you don’t have a solution, and you don’t have it automated, I think you should do this exercise quarterly. I would like to say monthly, but I know that sales enablement managers and marketing teams are super busy. At least if you can do a quarterly… And it’s not usually time consuming if you have the data with you. You could spend half a day or a few hours and look at your content library, and get the obvious ones addressed.
If you have a system, I would recommend that you do it at much more regularly, maybe every two weeks. The best part about having the system is that if it can find the stuff for you, then you just have to make decisions. So, it’s like Gmail giving you- you are coming to the end of your storage capacity, and here are the top 20 emails that are taking up the most storage space. Now that it has already unearthed the issues for you, it’s very easy for you to decide which one stays and which one goes.
And that’s the motivation behind automated quality checks. Find the stuff so that the sales enablement managers don’t have to go hunting for it. You find the stuff for them, and let them make the decision. It still has to be a human decision on what actions to take, but get them to 80-90% there.
Nick: If you went through quarterly, yearly, whenever- and SharePoint and Docs have ways to tell you this. If you just removed, or at least looked at, all of the times that haven’t been opened in the last year, you’re 80% of the way there. And I think for most people it’s gonna shock you how many things that is. But especially in SAAS selling, you really don’t need that much.
It kills the marketer in me, but when we talk about a sales content library, that’s one use of content. It’s a very specific use of content. And it doesn’t have to involve everything, but it does have to be really easy to find and look through, and that’s where the quality comes in.
Gaurav: Exactly. And again, we are implementing in these large enterprise organizations with almost 1000 global market team members. So, this includes sales, pre-sales, marketing. And their SharePoint instance had these two spaces, Showroom and Go Down. The Showroom part was the vetted, right format, right version part, and the Go Down part was the archived and…
Nick: Is it because you go down a rabbit hole when you try and go in there?
Gaurav: I don’t know, maybe that. But it was still available to everyone. It wasn’t like the Go Down part was restricted. People have a hard time deleting stuff. A lot of folks don’t wanna delete content assets because they always think, ‘what happens if I need it?’ If not for sharing with a prospect, just as inspiration material. So, there are ways to archive assets and make the experience much easier and cleaner for the sales rep, without giving up optionality with content that is- and this is all talking about content that is lightly used. As far as invalid content is concerned, either you fix it, or you should delete it. There is no excuse for keeping broken links and invalid files on the platform.
Nick: Unless you get really caught behind on your homework one day, but that’s another use case.
Gaurav: That’s the only use case. And I don’t want to pick on sales enablement managers, but they will just say, ‘the deck is ready’ – and it’s just like you said with the professor – the deck is ready, and it’s just a corrupted file.
Nick: As an SE practitioner, I’m doing that to see how long it is before the sales team actually checks it. But as we come to the end of the podcast, we’ve covered common quality issues, why they matter, and ways to remediate or ameliorate them. Anything else to touch on here? Anything to plug?
Gaurav: I think one of the things is, the quality issues that we talked about, there are some generic ones, but every business has their own quality issues. So, every business has processes and best practices that they want their content library to adhere to. For example, it doesn’t make sense to have case studies if the relevant customer information is not available.
If you have a case study, that case study will belong and be labeled with the customer for whom that case study is. It doesn’t make sense to have a sales tag that does not belong to one of the sales stages in the sales funnel. So, why would you have a sales tag that is not relevant for a persona.
Nick: Maybe an old sales process that’s no longer relevant.
Gaurav: Exactly. So, the question is- you have automated quality checks, organizations can add their own layers of quality checks. If I am Enablix, I can say that every customer story should have a solution, a buyer persona, and integration tags attached with it. If those things are not available, those assets should surface, and we should rectify them so they are easily discoverable and reportable.
So, I think there is a big opportunity not to just use the generic quality checks, but also have enterprises that want to standardize their content library to say, if these conditions are met, we want the system to tell us, so that we can rectify it.
Nick: Do you know any platforms that might do that?
Gaurav: Of course.
Nick: Thank you so much for the time, I appreciate the discussion. Ladies and gentlemen, Gaurav Harode. Thank you very much.
Gaurav: Thanks. Bye.