Everything in One Place
If you are a marketing professional who is relied upon to support a large and far-reaching sales team, you know how difficult it can be to create, maintain, and deliver all of your sales and marketing materials quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively. It can be a constant struggle to keep up with it all and can rule your day-to-day workflow if you let it.
Many of our clients at Graphica have found an online sales support portal to be the answer to their problems. Having everything in one place that is easily accessible can help you do several things:
- Versioning – Ensure that the newest iteration is the one being circulated.
- Access – Give the sales force the freedom to choose and order the items they need.
- Tracking – Provide visibility into who is ordering what pieces and how much these items are being used.
Creating an easy-to-use one-stop shop for your team can free you from managing sales ordering demands, questions around proper versions and give you powerful insight into what items your sales team actually uses. This can help you identify areas of improvement, cost- saving opportunities, and allow you to focus on helping to grow the business.
Building Your Platform
There are many different solutions and choosing the right one can be just as important as the items you decide to post on it. Graphica does not endorse any one solution, but has helped assist our clients in choosing the right one for their needs. Here are some questions for you to consider when selecting a platform for your sales portal:
- What are the security requirements? Your legal or IT department may require that all materials and portals be hosted locally and managed internally.
- How many people will need access to the portal? Many services charge per user with fewer setup and maintenance fees. It may be more economical to negotiate or choose a solution that has fixed costs.
- What kind of storage capacity do you require? It is important to know approximately what images, videos, or graphics you plan to make available for download and/or ordering.
- Who will be fulfilling your printing and/or picking and packing? If you have a preferred vendor to do your printing and fulfillment, they may have a solution for you, or have a recommendation for types of solutions to integrate with their systems.
On-demand vs. Inventory and Pick-and-Pack
Once a sales portal has been created, it is important to consider whether you want to go with a print-on-demand model, a print-and-hold model, or a combination of the two.
On-demand Printing is a process where once a piece has been ordered by a sales individual, it is printed digitally in the exact quantity desired and then shipped. Below are some of the pros and cons of print-on-demand.
- No inventory storage fees
- Eliminate waste – New versions mean pitching outdated inventory
- More expensive per piece costs
- Can require a minimum order to justify printing
Inventory and Pick-and-Pack is a process where a predetermined quantity is produced in bulk and stored for future needs. Once an item is ordered, the item is pulled by fulfillment and shipped to the desired location.
- Bulk print pricing
- Can make ordering single pieces logical
- Quicker turnaround since the item only needs to be picked and shipped
- Can create waste if new versions come out
- Storage costs
All the Other Stuff
Online sales portals are not only for sales literature. There are many other marketing assets that your team may need on a regular basis that would benefit from a single source access point. These items include the following:
- Business cards
- Stationery, envelopes, and thank you cards
- PowerPoint presentations
- Logos and stock images
- Trade Show components
- Access to an apparel vendor
Keys to Success
If you build it… they still might not come. The key to maintaining a successful sales portal is reliant on the marketing team’s ability to promote and actively manage the portal in the daily workflow.
Getting the most out of your investment and ensuring that the sales team knows how to use it and does not create work-arounds can be a challenge; however, this can be overcome through some easy steps:
- Frequently refer to the portal. When on calls or in email communications, constant reference and links to the portal are vital to its use. Never assume that sales managers have promoted your project. Be your own advocate.
- Alert the team when new items are available. One good way to build frequency in mentioning your sales portal is to alert the team when new items or new versions have been uploaded.
- Create a teaching mentality. For many, learning a new tool can be uncomfortable and scary. Create an environment where your staff teaches people how to use the portal, rather than doing it for them. Setting up learning sessions or quick “How To” videos can be a big help as well.
- Highlight wins. Nothing motivates other sales team members to try new things like competition. Showing the team how someone has used the portal to win a key piece of business or to make their sale process easier is a great way to get others on board.
Building a sales literature and marketing asset management system can be a daunting and complicated task, but knowing what questions to ask, what the options are, and what makes a project successful can ease the process.
If you find yourself looking for a way to manage your sales and marketing assets and don’t know where to start, drop Graphica a note and we’ll be glad to help.