Sales Content Management: Why most sales content goes unused

The Dock Team
April 13, 2023
February 14, 2024

Today’s buyers spend only 17% of their total buying time talking to sales teams.

The remaining 83% of the buying process happens behind closed doors. So supporting those internal conversations and empowering your buyer champion has to happen largely through sales content

There’s just one problem though: most Revenue teams struggle to get their content into the hands of prospective buyers.

  • Sales reps can’t find the latest content when they need it. 
  • Product marketers don’t know which assets are actually driving sales. 
  • Sales teams send content to buyers via multiple channels, so the buyer can’t find the info they need to move the buying process along.

The Revenue team that wins the content battle wins the sale. 

If you can figure out how to get your best sales content into the hands of your Sales team and your prospects, to stay top-of-mind during the buying process—well, let’s just say your team will all be getting their big fat bonuses this quarter. 

Making content that actually gets used comes down to better sales content management. In this guide, we’ll break down: 

  • Why sales content management should be one of your top priorities this year
  • Why your sales team can’t find the content they need—and what you can do about it
  • How to improve your sales content management, so you can get high-converting sales content into the hands of your prospects 

What is sales content management—and why should you care?

Sales content management is the process of getting your best sales content into the hands of your sales team and your prospects. It’s one of the core components of sales enablement (along with sales coaching and buyer enablement). 

Sales content management isn’t just about tidying up your internal wikis, or using a content management system (CMS). 

It’s the way your business can capture mindshare by: 

  • Creating compelling sales content for the entire sales journey 
  • Making those assets easy to find
  • Keeping all your sales content up-to-date and relevant 
  • Sharing relevant content with prospects and customers 
  • Identifying which content marketing assets are most persuasive and engaging
  • Using that information to create better sales content 

The benefits of better sales content management

A strong sales content management system has immediate benefits for your sales team and your buyers.

1. Discoverability

Instead of digging through spreadsheets, rummaging in Google Drive, or hunting for an email, sales content management keeps all your assets in one easily searchable location so your sales reps and your prospects can find and use it. 

2. Consistency

If all your reps have access to the same great sales content, they can provide every customer with the same level of follow-up and standardize the information they’re giving out. This is particularly important as you scale up, as it also allows you to onboard new reps more quickly.

3. Alignment

With shared access to a single content management system, your Sales and Product Marketing teams can easily collaborate to create the right sales content, optimize existing assets to make them more persuasive, and keep all your content updated with the latest features and developments. 

4. Personalization

A well-organized system of sales assets lets the Product Marketing team see what content they’ve already created, and identify opportunities to build tailored content for specific client segments. 

5. Buyer enablement

Effective sales content management leads to more informed buyers. You can quickly get content into the hands of your buyer champions, remove any barriers faster, and provide the right information to the right person at the right time. 

Why does most sales content go unused? 

The vast majority of today’s businesses are aware that their sales performance depends heavily on their sales content. 

After all, 44% of buyers consume 3-5 pieces of sales content before engaging with a salesperson, and the typical B2B buyer’s journey involves consuming a whopping 13 pieces of content

And yet, most companies struggle to manage to get content into the hands of the Sales team, let alone into the hands of prospects. 

Many a product marketing team has wept quietly over the fact that only 1 in 3 sales leaders say their teams are actually using digital content effectively. 

You might assume that the issue is that the sales content isn’t good enough—not aligned to customer pain points, or aimed only at the top of the funnel, for instance. And there’s certainly a lack of alignment between Sales and Marketing in many businesses. 

But Kathleen Pierce, a Principal Analyst at Forrester, suggests the real reason why Sales teams aren’t using sales content is that they simply can’t find it when they need it. She reports that most sales collateral is used fewer than 10 times, but that this isn’t because the content isn’t good. 

Source: Forrester

Rather, it’s one of two issues: 

  1. The content is what Pierce calls “mystery meat”—the Sales team doesn’t know about it, and can’t work out what it is from the file name. 
  2. The content library is an “overstuffed pantry.” Pierce says, “there’s a ton of stuff in there, and it could be anywhere. What’s the standard content asset type for comparative insights? For third-party proof points? For ROI data? They appear in many places, making it harder for buyers, customers, sales, support, and channel partners to find what they need.” 

Real sales enablement treats content as an asset

To solve this issue, you need to stop treating sales content like documentation. 

Too many Revenue teams store sales content assets in knowledge management systems (such as file storage systems or internal wikis) or a sales enablement platform

But these spaces are built for internal collaboration—not for dazzling sales prospects. Your top sales assets—the latest case studies, ROI PDFs, and pitch decks—are lumped in with your internal policies and commission plans.

What your Revenue team really needs for their sales content is an asset management platform. They need a space that's dedicated to quickly finding sales assets, and then sharing those assets with prospects throughout the sales cycle. 

This isn’t just about making it easier for your Sales team to find the information they need quickly—although that’s a big part of it. 

It’s also about making it easier on your buyers. 

Your buyer champion needs to be able to find the information they need to make their case internally. They don’t need to be searching confusing Google Drive folders or combing through their inbox to find that great PDF you sent them three weeks ago. 

In the next section, we’ll look at different approaches to sales content management, and why they aren’t currently serving you. 

Then we’ll walk through how to build an asset management system that will empower your Sales team, inform your Product Marketing team, and support your buyers. 

Sales content management platforms: What are your options? 

Here are a few different sales content management tools you can use to organize and share your assets.

1. File-sharing platform or company wiki 

Most small businesses start out sharing sales collateral via a file storage system or an internal wiki-style solution. These systems are usually low-cost, familiar to most users, quick to set up, and cloud-based, making them a logical first step. 

Popular options 

The problem

File sharing or knowledge management systems can work well when you’re first starting out. However, issues start to arise as businesses scale, particularly when it comes to sharing sales content assets with customers: 

  • The space quickly becomes disorganized and overrun, making it hard to find the assets you need when you need them. Each new file gets updated (Pitch Deck V1, Pitch Deck V2, etc.) and it soon becomes difficult to even know which asset to send to customers. 
  • Sales reps get fed up digging around for the information they need and start to save copies locally—meaning that assets keep getting shipped to prospects even after they’ve become outdated. 
  • These file-sharing systems also muddle up internal documentation with customer-facing assets. Wikis work well enough for cross-company projects but aren’t built to share information with your clients. 

2. Sales enablement software

Some companies use their sales enablement software for both content management and sales training. 

These are a major step up from a file-sharing or wiki-style solution:

  • They’re built specifically for Revenue teams. 
  • They offer far more advanced content features, like AI-driven content recommendations to help sales teams find the right content when they need it.
  • They help to standardize content management across reps. 

Popular options

The problem

These tools are excellent at sales enablement. However, there are three issues that make them less helpful for sales content management: 

  • Because they’re feature-rich, it can take a startling number of clicks to find an asset and share it with a customer. They are also prohibitively expensive for small and mid-sized businesses. 
  • Many of these solutions, such as Seismic and Showpad, are based around an old-school folder structure, making them harder to search. Given that Sales reps use search to find the information they need 99% of the time, that soon becomes a deal-breaker. 
  • Sales enablement tools aren’t designed for buyer enablement—they don’t help the buyer find the content they need. 

After all, it’s not just about enabling your sales team to sell—you also need to make it easier for your buyers to buy. That means making it low-effort for your buyer champions to find the collateral they need to make their case for your software internally. 

3. Dock: Content management for Revenue teams

You knew where we were going with this, right?

We built Dock’s new Content Management platform specifically to address the issues with the existing sales content management software market. 

Dock’s content library is an asset management system that’s designed for small-to-midsize Revenue teams. Our goal is to make it easier for Sales reps and prospective buyers to find the content they need when they need it. 

Dock supports sales content distribution from a few angles:

  • Product Marketing can upload assets organized into collections and boards to make them discoverable by Sales
  • Sales can share assets from the library with clients in one click
  • Product Marketing can track how often Sales is sharing content
  • All Revenue teams can track what content performs best with clients
  • Any library content can be embedded in a Dock client workspace

Here’s a quick walkthrough of Dock’s Content Management platform by our CEO, Alex Kracov:

📚 Learn more: New in Dock: Content Management for Revenue Teams

How to build a sales content management process

To be truly effective, your sales content management process needs to: 

  • Help Marketing develop the best possible content 
  • Make it easy for Sales to find that content and share it with prospects
  • Ensure that prospects can find the content they need to help make internal buying decisions and shorten the sales cycle 

Here’s how to build a system that works for both your revenue team and your customers: 

1. Align Sales and Product Marketing on content strategy

To state what should be obvious, but clearly isn’t, your sales content strategy should be a collaborative effort between Sales Enablement and Product Marketing

Sales has the customer insights to create meaningful, persuasive sales collateral. Product Marketing has the know-how to take those insights and pain points and transform them into compelling, story-driven assets. 

In practical terms, this could look like: 

  • Involving Product Marketing in sales training, communicating messaging and positioning statements, and offering guidance to key content assets for each stage of the buyer journey 
  • Involving Sales in marketing strategy discussions and consulting the Sales team during content creation 
  • Creating a shared Slack channel where Sales could share client questions that could be used to create great content assets 
  • Having your product marketing manager (PMM) sit in on sales calls and coach sales reps on how to pitch the product to a particular customer segment

2. Map your sales content to the buyer journey 

Your Sales team needs content resources for every stage of the buyer journey. 

Map your existing content to the sales cycle to identify where you have gaps. Talk to your Sales team to find out which questions keep coming up during discovery calls. 

Source: Total Product Marketing

You also need different types of content for each job to be done: 

  • Marketing collateral to raise brand awareness: e.g., blogs, whitepapers, and case studies
  • Internal content to train and empower your Sales team (a.k.a. Sales enablement content) e.g., product one-pagers and pricing sheets
  • Content to make it easier for your buyer to understand and decide on your product (a.k.a. Buyer enablement content): e.g., buying guides, checklists, industry reports

📘 Read more: For more on mapping content to the sales cycle, check out our Product Marketer’s Guide to Sales Enablement

3. Make it easy for your Sales team to find sales enablement resources. 

To make sure your Sales team actually uses the content you’ve made, make it easy for them to find it. 

  • To start with, you need to make sure you’re working with a content management system with a great natural-language search function. 
  • You also need to think about how you organize your content assets. Create content clusters that group together your content assets by the job they do (e.g., customer stories, competitive positioning), by the product they relate to, the teams that might use them, or any other grouping that makes sense for your specific Revenue function. 
  • You might want to group multiple clusters together into a Board, to make sure that they’re even easier to discover. 

For instance, here’s how that looks if you’re working in Dock: 

4. Create a content experience for each prospect

Now for the fun part: getting content into the hands of your buyers. 

You could send it out as a follow-up email with too many links and attachments that inevitably turns into a never-ending email thread. Because who doesn’t need more email in their life, right? 

Or you could send them a single link to a Dock workspace rather than sending each piece of content out individually by email. 

Instead, you can give each customer their own personalized content platform, containing all the information they need in one place, from product explainers to security documentation to pricing quotes. This way, your prospects always know where to go when they need something.

Embed content, mutual plans, and pricing quotes in a Dock workspace

5. Templatize and standardize 

Most content management processes break down at scale. If you're adding hundreds of assets and working with hundreds of clients, things spiral out of control.

One of the great things about using Dock's content management system to curate your sales content is that it allows you to personalize at scale. 

You can create a personalized workspace for a buyer with all the content they need pre-loaded—then save that workspace as a template that you can modify for each new prospect. 

To guide the buyer through the sales process, your Sales reps can create sections within the workspace that they can hide, then unhide as the buyer reaches a particular stage in the deal cycle. 

Or, if you have some awesome new content that you want to get out to all your prospects and clients, you can use the synced sections to share new content instantly across all your Dock Workspaces in real time. 

Even if you aren’t using Dock, you need to look for ways to create this balance between personalization and standardization.

6. Track performance and optimize 

Sales happen because of your content. So you can’t track your sales performance without tracking your content performance. That means knowing how each content asset is doing, the same way you know how well each sales rep is doing.   

Set up a regular schedule for your Product Marketing team to dive into your content management system and review: 

  • Which of your content assets is performing best? 
  • Which ones are your reps reaching for again and again—and why is that? 
  • Which ones are resonating with your buyers? 
  • Which aren’t getting any use—and why is that? 

For example Dock lets you track a number of metrics for each sales asset:

  1. Views: the number of times an external person viewed the asset
  2. Shares: the number of times an internal person shared the asset 
  3. Downloads: the number of times someone downloaded the asset

For your PDFs (those high-cost, high-potential long-form resources your Product Marketing spent months on!) you’ll even get a breakdown of time spent per page, and a drop-off report (for when people stop looking at your content) — so you’ll know exactly what’s speaking to your customers. 

Dock's Content Management platform shows you how your sales content is performing

Level up your sales content management with Dock 

Dock’s new Content Management platform has been built specifically with Revenue teams in mind.

Instead of trying to manage your sales content in your internal Wiki, sales enablement platform or your CRM, you can use Dock to share it internally and externally with just one click. 

Want to try it out? It’s totally free for the first 10 assets, so give it a whirl and see if it might be the solution to your sales content management nightmares. We’d love to hear what you think!

The Dock Team