Author: Oliver Sharp

Oliver Sharp

A Modern Sales Portal for Faster Sales

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There are many types and uses for sales portals, but the one we run into the most is the ‘sales content portal,’ the place where internal sales teams and external partner organizations manage their sales content–product sheets, sales presentations, FAQ’s, sales playbooks, videos and more–that fuels the sales process.

We’ve talked to hundreds of companies and what we’ve heard is remarkably consistent. If they have a sales portal, they hate it. If they don’t have a one, it’s because they are pretty sure they’re going to hate it.  …and in most cases, for good reason.

Everyone knows that there must be a better answer…and it’s true. We live in a time when sales technology has gone through a revolution in effectiveness and design, making it incredibly easier to implement, manage and use a sales content management platform–the modern answer to yesterday’s sales portal.

A modern sales enablement platform connects sellers to the most effective content and makes sure that it is working hard to deliver the sales results you need. You can take advantage of the same techniques that Internet services use to connect millions of people to the information they want. The right solution also integrates with and enhances the tools your company already relies on – services that track your sales activities (like Salesforce), that manage your files (like Box), and that you use for Web conferencing (like join.me).

Why do traditional sales portals so consistently fail to deliver, even really expensive ones and what can be done to fix them?

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Engage More Effectively With Your Customers

effective customer engagement

Engagement is the lifeblood of the sales conversation — an indifferent customer is a deal waiting to fail. And in our hyper-informed age, you can’t deeply engage your customer without content. Every interaction with customers involves content and more content — pitch decks, whitepapers, case studies, and on and on. To meet the insatiable need, marketing teams are churning out a sea of material. Sales teams are overwhelmed by it all and feel like they are drowning … but still don’t have exactly what they need.

Everyone knows that their content isn’t moving the sales process forward as effectively as it should, but nobody is sure exactly why or how. We have met with many, many customers to understand how they use content to drive sales. Virtually all of them complain about three problems that constantly hold them back from closing more deals.

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5 Keys to a Powerful Sales Playbook

5 keys to a powerful sales playbook

A sales playbook sounds like a great idea — capture the best practices and most important content for your selling process to turn every rep into a closing machine. But it doesn’t always work out that way. Too many sales playbooks rest comfortably on a shelf, gathering dust, while reps use whatever content they’ve managed to pull together. What does it take to create a playbook that is a valuable tool for closing deals? We’ve found that there are five keys to making a playbook that works.

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Making Search Work

making search work

We all use different ways to find what we need online. One of them is to browse through information that has been organized for you. When you go to the business section of the New York Times, or you look at the items for sale from a particular vendor, you are using a structure that somebody set up with lists or tags. It works well for managing content that is uniform, where everything is controlled by a single person or group. Inside of a company, for example, maybe you have a set of case studies and you organize them based on the product line, geographic region, and customer industry they cover. But, as we discussed in the last post, this model breaks down over time when you apply it to all the information in a dynamic organization. The structure gets more out of date, content isn’t put in the right places, and it gets increasingly impossible to find what you need.

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The Trouble with Tags

trouble with tags

Have a lot of content you need to manage and share, but nobody can find anything on your internal network?

Maybe there is an easy solution — if you could just tag each item the right way, then everyone can quickly find exactly what they need. It doesn’t sound that hard. First, you have to figure out the right tags to use. If you are dealing with marketing material, you might label everything with a type — “pitch deck,” “whitepaper,” or “price sheet.” You might label it with the set of products that it covers. And the relevant technology trends. And regions where it applies. And so on. Now you have to tag all your items. Well, not all of them — that would take way too long to be practical. So, you choose a small subset and hope that you picked the right ones — did you leave out anything that somebody might really need?

Even with just a small fraction of your content, it takes a lot of time to do all that tagging. But just maybe, with a little discipline, your problems would then be over.

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Machine Learning in the Workplace

machine learning in sales enablement

Why is it easy to find the information you are looking for on the Web, and so hard to find it at work? I continue to be amazed that you can find the diameter of the moon, or an inexpensive yet highly rated TV, or the largest city in Ohio, with just one or two queries and a few clicks. Now contrast your experience on the Web with your experience at work, where finding a spreadsheet, or the latest planning memo, or the most applicable sales deck, can take forever and a day.

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