For most of the companies I’ve worked with, the Marketing Communications department is often the group to spearhead DAM within the organization. DAM is a no brainer for MarCom because staff benefits by quickly finding and reusing rich media for ads, graphic design, web, packaging and other communication projects. Some MarCom departments limit use of DAM to department staff only, but others further increase efficiency by enabling catalog access to the Sales Department.
When Sales has self-service access to collateral in the DAM, customers get information faster and sales close sooner. MarCom benefits by spending less time responding to requests from Sales for images and documents. In addition to sales material for customers, DAM can also be used to distribute information specifically for Sales such as product information sheets and sales training materials.
Before DAM, providing Sales with direct access to MarCom files can be problematic. If a salesperson is focused on making the sale, things like brand guidelines, file formats, expiration dates, copyright and usage terms may not be their highest priority. Inconsistent branding, outdated materials, quality issues and legal liability can result when someone unfamiliar with a digital asset catalog has carte blanche access to brand materials. For competitive reasons, you also want to restrict certain materials to qualified prospects or vetted partners, like information on an unreleased product.
Due to the reasons above, MarCom is often reluctant to provide direct access and often becomes the gatekeeper. However, with DAM here are some ideas/ways MarCom can allow some direct access while maintaining control over the catalog and branding.
Self Service Web Portal
While the group maintaining the collection often uses a DAM client application to manage the catalog, Sales can be provided with access using a self-service web portal. The web portal allows easy searching, converting and downloading of collateral via an Intranet or Extranet. Rules are setup for which assets appear in search results, to ensure that only appropriate assets are used. For example, only files with the keyword “approved” appear in search results. This allows MarCom to publish current appropriately licensed materials. If Sales can find it, they can use it.
Many DAM systems enable automation of sales collateral using macros and scripts, which allow users to perform a series of actions on one or more files. For example, Sales can use automation in DAM to create a custom brochure for a prospect. The salesperson simply selects images of different products a particular customer is considering and runs a script that automatically combines the images into a PDF file. The PDF automatically includes a branded front and back page. Product information associated with the images as metadata, such as price or part number, appears on the page with the image. This type of script can save time for both the Sales and Marketing department and help ensure consistent branding.
Ensure the Right Format
A best practice in DAM is to catalog a single copy of a file, and use the highest quality file available. However, high quality files can be large or in the wrong format for everyday use. For example, there will be problems if 100-megabyte Tiff files are being used in PowerPoint presentations. DAM can avoid problems by providing files in the right format and at the right quality level. Conversion presets can allow a salesperson to easily obtain the correct format by choosing a “Download for PowerPoint” option within the DAM that automatically converts the 100 meg tiff into a reasonably sized JPEG to avoid PowerPoint bloat. Other presets like “Download for Web” or “Download for Print” can provide correspondingly appropriate files.
Enable Field Access
Outside sales representatives often rely on printed materials for use in the field, which can be expensive to create and become quickly outdated. DAM can provide access to collateral on the go, allowing salespeople to quickly access product specifications and flyers during sales calls. Newer DAM solutions are offering mobile and tablet access, allowing easy access to sales materials in meetings and over coffee without having to lug around a laptop. Items of interest within the DAM can be selected for later action back at the office.
Everyone wins when Sales has access to MarCom catalogs in DAM. MarCom has less work to do, Sales gets what they need faster, and the customer gets relevant and customized resources that help make buying decisions to create efficiencies within their organizations. If allowing Sales to access to your catalogs isn’t already part of your DAM strategy, the preceding ideas may be compelling enough for you to consider it. However, don’t rush into it. If Sales access isn’t critical to your desired DAM workflow, you can always tackle it in a later phase. To be successful in DAM it’s important to build on small successes, and avoid scope creep.
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