Last week, SiriusDecisions hosted more than 1,500 attendees at our annual Summit, held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. As a new member of the SiriusDecisions team, it was a wonderful experience to watch my colleagues in action as they presented our latest research and insights to the entire crowd.

The presentations covered a wide range of topics important to B2B marketing, sales and product leaders, from the rearchitected waterfall to the unified integration model. But sprinkled throughout each presentation was a subject that is near and dear to me – sales enablement. As I made the rounds and introduced myself, the conversation consistently turned to sales enablement, even before I mentioned that I cover this area.

Here are my answers to three of the questions I encountered most often during those discussions:

What is the best way for our company to manage all of our sales content? Simplify! Most people I spoke with told me they have hundreds of assets for each product line. Anyone who had the opportunity to hear Jim Ninivaggi and Jay Famico present their presentation “Science, Not Art: Calculating the ROI of Sales Enablement” would have seen powerful heatmaps and charts that help identify low-use assets, content gaps and outdated material. A cluttered office does not increase a person’s productivity, nor does a stuffed sales asset management solution.

Our sales reps continue to call field marketing for content. How do you get reps to use the sales portal? There must be inherent value that motivates reps to use the sales portal – if there’s no value, there’s no activity. The portal should be stocked with content that help reps move buyers through their journey (e.g. industry trends, competitive analysis, competitor news feeds). Also, companies with high adoption have made it easy for reps to access the portal. Do you still require reps to use a virtual private network to access the portal? Then work with IT and eliminate that barrier. Does the rep need to remember a different password to access the portal? Eliminate that hurdle with single sign-on through your sales force automation solution.

We have a way for reps to rate content, but none of them use it. How do you get feedback on the content they use? It’s true: Most reps do not come back into the system to rate the content they use. Why? Because it is an extra step that does not have perceived value. One client came up with a clever idea that increased the number of ratings by 20 percent. It established an automated system that sent an email requesting a rating two weeks after the rep used the content, with a direct link back to the specific piece. The email was sent to a sample of reps so as not to bombard the sales force and discourage reps from downloading content in the future. The email mentioned how ratings and comments help marketing make improvements to the content.