Sales people are under constant pressure. They need to respond quickly to customer demands for information. So, they should find and use the right datasheet, case study, or presentation at the right time to answer prospects’ needs.

But when you have lots of products to sell it’s not easy to know which content to use. And as sales cycles get more involved and complex, it’s tough to know what messages work best at different stages and versus different competitors. How do sales teams often find the content they use to respond to prospects?

1. Find it on the Desktop.

Due to time pressures many sales people will default to collateral on hand. This could be great content that had been very effective. At best it leads to a Swiss Army knife approach where the same case study is used again and again – even when better collateral exists. At worst it means using out of date, inaccurate, or ineffective collateral that harms the sales cycle.

2. Find it With Search.

Sales people know that content tools are often a great place to get content. And typically this is where marketing stores current collateral. So, they’ll visit a document management tool and search for content. But what search terms should they use? It’s a struggle to narrow results, and users often end up with dozens or hundreds of results. That means lots of time spent filtering through collateral.

3. Find it in Email.

Marketing regularly updates the sales team on which collateral is available. New, revised, and effective collateral might go out by email. But as each update comes in, it promptly disappears from view. Sales people have to search through email or feeds to find the content they’re looking for. Again, more time wasted hunting for the right content.

4. Asking Colleagues.

Peers are often a great source of information. By asking colleagues what they’re successful with, sales teams can sometimes find collateral that’s proven. But asking around is simply not a scaleable option. As your sales team gets larger and product sales more complex, you need a more robust approach to finding great content.

5. Asking Marketing.

When in doubt, when you don’t know which piece to send, you can always ask Marketing. They typically produced the collateral and know which element to suggest. But always going back to the team also isn’t scaleable. You need to find the right content when you need it, and that could be 11:46 the night before a major presentation.

5.5 Not Finding Any.

When it’s difficult to find the collateral you need, there is always a default option. And that’s not sending anything. But you’re competing for business, so that means that you need to always put your best foot forward. Sending nothing when your competitors are sending great content is a recipe for a loss.

With options that are less than ideal, how should sales teams discover the best collateral for a given sales step? Content discovery answers that need. Let’s see how.

Content discovery tools surface relevant, related content when sales people need it. What does that mean? Imagine looking for a datasheet related to the banking industry. While there, the tools suggest financial services case studies. Not just relevant content, but content that others succeeded with, content that generated closed business or new prospects.

How does this compare with the classic way of discovering content?

Find it on the Desktop: When sales people find it easy to find relevant content, they’re less likely to rely on their desktop as a collateral manager. That means that marketing gets increased control over which content is used and sales teams are simply more effective because the optimal collateral is used over general.

Find it with Search: Rather than browsing through folders or getting large volumes of search results, it’s more effective to get narrowed results. Content discovery tools group content by categories like product, place, company, etc. That means that it’s easy to find collateral that supports your financial services pursuit.

Find it with Email: Marketing needs to make sure that users get the right content. So, curating content is needed – that means removing bad content and promoting successful collateral to sales. Content discovery tools let marketing highlight and remove content simply by changing descriptions. That makes it easy to keep great content in sales people’s hands.

Asking Colleagues: Content discovery tools use social elements to suggest content based on how your colleagues have been using collateral. So, I can see which tags and documents my colleagues have been relying on. That way great content doesn’t get pushed down to the bottom, it gets surfaced to users.

So, with content discovery tools you get a positive result. Sales people use the most effective content, and because they’re getting benefit, they keep coming back. And marketing and managers can feel comfortable that sales is using the most current, accurate, and effective content available.