In last week’s piece on sales enquiry management, I briefly touched on the merits of managing sales collateral within the CRM system, and this week I wanted to explore that topic in a little more depth.

In most CRM systems there’s the capability to store sales collateral documents such as brochures, case studies, and price-lists within a set of centrally managed folders that allow users to quickly find the latest version of the material they need for a customer and append it to an email.

This might not sound so exciting, but, when you dig into it, it’s a pretty powerful capability for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, and having worked in and around many sales teams over the years, I’m pretty clear what happens when you don’t have strong collateral management. In my experience salespeople tend to build up their own collections of collateral which they store on their local hard drive and use it as needed.

The problem with this, is that these individual collections of files aren’t necessarily comprehensive, complete, up to date, approved, or in line with corporate branding. Which means that when collateral is sent out it may be inaccurate, misleading, or not your most powerful content, which in turn, may undermine the effectiveness of their sales approach, as well as potentially cause reputational damage and regulatory issues.

The other consideration is that these sorts of capabilities improve sales productivity. This is an area that I don’t think companies consider enough. Let’s say you have a salesperson who achieves £1M in sales per year. If we keep it simple in this example and ignore margin and commission aspects, based on 240 working days year, they are earning £4,166 per day for the company, or around £600 per hour.

If that salesperson has to spend half an hour chasing around to find the latest specification sheet for product X, then the cost of that lost time per above example is £300. Do that a few times a week, then the cost per salesperson per year can be tens of thousand of pounds, and then multiply that across the salesforce and you can be looking at a very sizeable hidden cost.

Salesforce productivity is something I will dive into in more detail in another post. Suffice to say salespeople end up spending a lot of time doing ‘stuff’ that isn’t selling. If you can do things that reduce the amount non-selling stuff, then you can achieve big gains in sales, which, because your often not adding additional costs, flow down to the bottom line.

So, the intended takeaway from this post is that, if you’re not using it already, that rather innocuous collateral management capability may be powerful source of increased sales effectiveness, productivity, and profitability.

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