This portal technology itself is not brand new; indeed, 59% of all recent 113 survey respondents indicated current use of secure content management spaces for the purposes of internal communications, such as shared folders, intranets, etc. Only 19%, however, reported the use of portals accessible to both selected internal employees — typically sales and customer service personnel — and their prospect / customer contacts that lived outside the corporate firewall. This relatively small niche, more accurately identified when we note that Best-in-Class companies leverage deal rooms in this manner 32% more than All Others (25% vs. 19%). When we note, in Figure 1, how top-performing companies lead others in prioritizing the specific benefits of rich media tools, the natural fit for sales portals is easy to recognize:
- While the majority of all survey respondents agree on the value of empowering their salespeople with at least rudimentary, personalized marketing tools, Best-in-Class firms support this approach 35% more than All Others (89% vs. 66%). While heavy-duty marketing automation deployments focused on mass communications is best left to the marketing team — see Aberdeen’s Marketing Effectiveness research — the advent of do-it-yourself messaging capabilities for individual contributors allows reps to create pre-approved content, deliver it to their contacts, and track the effectiveness of clicks and opens particularly well via portal technology. These enablers also provide sales managers with objective insight into their reps engagement — or not — with accounts and opportunities.
- Best-in-Class firms are also more likely to support their front-line sellers with opportunities to portray themselves as subject matter experts (SME’s) to their potential buyers. In this era of consultative and solution selling, savvy business developers know that their prospects and customers demand, more than ever, their reps truly understand their business. Using a private showroom to regularly add relevant business content and helpful industry-specific information — rather than just e-mailing a proposal hoping to obtain a signature effectively allows a salesperson to demonstrate sincerity, expertise, and the impression that they actually care about their customer’s eventual success.
- The final two items in Figure 1 continue to bolster this opportunity to up-level the typical B2B sales cycle from static email communications into an interactive and personalized rich media environment. Again, Best-in-Class firms lead All Others in supporting the use of multiple media platforms with which to engage prospects and customers, from both a marketing and sales user perspective. Content portals are ideal for this approach, because of their flexibility regarding file types: live chat, animations and video — either professionally produced by the marketing team or simply a webcam hello from a sales rep. Content portals offer strong complementary delivery options that can support a traditional quote or RFP response that has been uploaded by the selling organization for the benefit of a potential buyer.
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