In one of my previous posts, “The Death of Collateral as We Knew it”, I lamented the fact that sales portals get jammed full of monolithic documents.
Portals are stuffed with dozens of versions of presentations, whitepapers, datasheets, case studies, analyst studies, cheat sheets, ROI & TCO spreadsheets, and many, many other document types; and this does a tremendous disservice to salespeople and other customer-facing personnel when they are trying to find critical information fast.
I say this from the standpoint of a high tech marketer and seller who has been struggling with “the portal problem” for over 20 years. I not so fondly remember when many years ago I built what I thought were incredible TCO and ROI spreadsheets intended for salespeople to use with their customers.
There was a “no email to sales” policy in place at the time as the “portal police” tried to force people to use it, and my only option was to upload the material and pray that sales would see it.
Predictably, these high value tools were rarely used, and I knew this because the one redeeming feature of the portal was that it tracked downloads.
In my last blog post, “The Blind Men, the Elephant, and Componentization of Content”, I used a parable to further explore the inherent limitations of monolithic documents when trying to arm sellers with the right information at the point of sale.
You see, it’s not all the sales portals’ fault. While the portal is the gun, monolithic documents are the ammunition. So I thought to myself, “how can I somehow put this ‘portal problem’ into context using a historical reference, parable, or some other popular culture phenomenon?”
The last two lines from Death Metal Group CHASM’s “Portal to Nowhere” are;
For all those Lost Years, I evoke eternal Solitude an infinite search of Empty Answers is my future,
Left in shadows with a flickering candle, I’m entering into this Portal to Nowhere.
Especially relevant is; “For all those Lost Years, I evoke eternal Solitude an infinite search of Empty Answers is my future”.
Sounds exactly like what a seller faces when doing a search on some sales portal and getting back 20 documents, that they then need to wade through in a pitiless struggle to find just the right information to address a customer question, respond to an RFI/RFP, put together a solicitation, build a custom presentation, and so on.
So how did I even stumble upon The Chasm?
I simply thought of the most accurate term to describe a seller’s hellish world of sales portal purgatory, and into my mind appropriately popped, “Portal to Nowhere”. I then typed this into Google, and the above lyrics were the first search result.
When I read the lyrics, I saw just how the last two lines perfectly apply to this discussion!.
I’ll refer you to my previous posts on how to get around the Portal to Nowhere phenomenon, but for those organizations looking to arm their sellers with the right information at the right time, posting content to a sales portal will very likely cause your sellers to, as The Chasm so aptly puts it, follow an “Eternal twisted path”, and experiencing “Never-ending pain…”