I once attended a product marketing “meet-up” (actually back then they were called working groups) where the topic of discussion was “how to create an effective Sales intranet.” There were about 40 people there and when they were asked “how many people have a Sales intranet”, everyone raised their hand. When they were asked “how many people have intranets the Sales reps use regularly”, in a surprising display of honesty, only a few hands went up.
The reality is that, for a long time, sales and corporate intranets were either good, but horribly expensive to maintain, or pretty bad.
These days, the model is to use tools that are more collaborative, with some combination of Facebook and Wiki-like features. I new this was the future when our CEO actually started creating pages on our wiki-based intranet (Confluence by Atlassian – it’s great).
And these days, if you’re a small to midsized company with not a lot of money to spend, there are some great options on how to create a sales intranet for very little money. Say, for a use case that involves from a handful to a few dozen sales people just trying to get access to a small collection of collateral, presentations, or sales tools.
- HTML page with URLs – If you have a web site, the manager likely has a file system that can store the content that you need, and each of these can have a unique URL. So create an HTML page with links to the handful of content pieces you need to share. You can secure this page by making it an obscure URL (or if your web manager is nice he/she can have the page require a login).
- Wiki-like tool (e.g. Confluence) – As I mentioned, Wiki-like tools are also very popular and effective because of their easy of use and collaborative nature. It also costs little to get started, and your R&D team is probably already using some wiki-like tool.
- File sharing tool (.e.g DropBox) – DropBox (or Box) are popular file-sharing tools and the cost is essentially free (or minimal) if you can manage your content and keep it from filling up your “box” like how yard tools fill up your garage. One disadvantage is that they are *just* file sharing platform and don’t have some of the nice features of a wiki.
- Google Docs – Finally, I would not discount using Google Docs since most people can get a gmail / Google account and you can manage a file directory like Drop Box. My daughters use Google docs to collaborate with classmates on papers all the time.
My last bit of advice is, regardless of which method you try, take a little bit of time each month and clean up your garage! (uh, intranet). Your hunters will appreciate it.