I’m in the process of moving out of the house my family and I have lived in for the past 16 years. With our kids off to college, it’s time to downsize our “empty nest.”

Anyone who has been through this experience can probably relate to the following. I’ve been amazed at the amount of stuff (I use that term loosely) we’ve accumulated over those 16 years. While I’d hardly call myself a hoarder, we still have a remarkable amount of items that have not been used in years. My favorite was the collection of fishing rods we found – I don’t even like fishing. We’ve spent the last few weeks “purging” – giving things away to relatives, donating to various charities, and junking the rest. When we move into our new place, we’ll hopefully only have the stuff we really can use, better organized so we can find it when we need it.

There’s a great lesson here for any sales organization that’s planning to move its content to a new portal in the upcoming year. Like a hoarder unwilling to part with any possession, many marketing and sales organizations feel compelled to keep every piece of content ever created (one client shared that they once had 50,000 pieces of content stored on their sales portals). The results are predictable: Salespeople get frustrated when they can’t find what they need searching through all that clutter. Marketers also become frustrated when reps don’t use the content they’ve spent so much time creating.

When moving to a new sales portal, don’t make the mistake of simply dumping all of your “stuff” from the old one into the new. Use the migration as an opportunity to “clean house” and purge a lot of that unused and likely outdated content:

  • Review each piece of content and decide if it should be removed, updated, merged with another piece of content, or kept as is. Establish formal criteria for this evaluation process and “who owns it.”
  • For content that remains, review each piece for quality – and that can include things like adherence to current corporate style, templates and even color schemes. Then align each piece to specific stages in the sales/buying process and determine if the content is for internal or external consumption.
  • Determine the content’s objective and if it’s still relevant. For example, a case study is designed to validate the quality of your implementation process. If there’s redundant content (multiple pieces used at the same stage of the sales process with the same objective), explore the feasibility of merging multiple pieces into one powerful piece that’s both effective and timely.
  • Label the content with the sales stage(s) it maps to, its audience (internal vs. external; if external, targeted buying role), the author, and an expiration date.
  • For product and solution offerings, review by sales stage the content your reps now have available to them. Make a final determination of what’s really required and what could be purged. You may also find that there are content gaps that should be filled.
  • Content will never substitute for a highly skilled salesforce capable of having the right kind of conversations with buyers. So, don’t be afraid to purge! And as for me, if I ever do decide to take up fishing, I’ll just buy some new poles.