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What Is the ROI of Your Sales Asset Management Solution?

February 20, 2014 | By Edge Coble

  • Organizations face increasing pressure to justify every dollar spent and describe how expenditures contribute to the bottom line
  • Consider measuring the value of your sales asset management (SAM) solution without trying to calculate an ROI
  • A SAM solution can provide benefits for many groups within the organization

Clients often ask me how they can justify the cost of a sales asset management (SAM) solution. They sometimes want a magic formula to show them that after purchase of the SAM solution, they will see a payback period of X months based on a Y lift in sales. No such thing. This is not to say there isn’t a benefit to buying a new SAM, but equating it with ROI is the wrong approach.

In the past decade, organizations have faced increasing pressure to justify every dollar spent and describe how each expenditure contributes to the bottom line. On the surface, this approach seems logical and practical. If the company is going to spend money on a new solution, it should realize a financial benefit.

But consider the following comparison: What is the ROI of your company parking lot? It is poor use of real estate, it is not a green solution, and it requires a high cost of annual maintenance. Based on the numbers, there seems be little value in having or maintaining a parking lot. Sure, the costs of its upkeep come out of the building and maintenance budget, but how does that help the department? It doesn’t. The answer is that the parking lot is part of the organization’s infrastructure – a part of every company that’s just as essential as furniture, lighting and electricity. 

So, here’s how to measure the value of your SAM solution without trying to calculate an ROI:

  • Take a baseline of opportunity activity. What success metrics are you currently using? Pipeline velocity? Opportunity win/loss rates? These become the foundation for measuring change after the SAM solution has been put in place. Because any improvements can be attributed to a number of different factors (e.g. changes in the market, new product introduction, etc.), any change can only be considered correlative, as proving direct causation would be extremely difficult and time-consuming.
  • Quantify and track your assets. Determine the number of assets currently under management, where they are used in the sales process, and the adoption (popularity) of each asset. If these metrics are difficult to capture today, having a SAM solution in place will provide this data going forward. These analytics help focus efforts on assets to be improved and duplication to be remedied, and identify asset gaps in relation to your sales process.
  • Measure productivity. With digital production tools, the creation of sales assets may appear to be free, but each asset requires hours of labor for ideation, creation and curation. If the volume of sales assets is disproportional to the number of products or solutions you sell, a SAM solution will help highlight the issue. After a SAM solution implementation, most companies see an 80 percent reduction in the volume of assets available to the reps, which directly translates into productivity improvements for those who create and manage sales assets.
  • A SAM solution solves many groups’ problems. For marketing, it helps reduce the volume of content built by analyzing the usage data for each sales asset. For IT, it decreases the maintenance and continual enhancements required vs. a homegrown solution. For sales, it reduces the number of administrative hours spent attempting to find content. It allows first-line sales managers to monitor whether reps are using content at the appropriate sales stage, and if not, to reinforce training. For training personnel, it helps reinforce the steps in your sales process. A SAM solution even saves your customers time by getting them the answers they need from your reps to help them make a buying decision. Just like a parking lot, a SAM solution benefits far more than one group.

 

Edge Coble

Edge Coble is Research Analyst, Sales Enablement Strategies, at SiriusDecisions. Throughout his 15 years of experience, Edge has focused on optimizing operational processes, improving personnel effectiveness, and implementing change management strategies to bridge the gap between sales and marketing teams. Follow Edge on Twitter @gecoble.