Tip #218: Sales Literature vs. SharePoint

So you have implemented Dynamics CRM with SharePoint document integration. The mindset of many companies with SharePoint is that SharePoint is where all documents should live, and that is a good idea, as SharePoint provides document collaboration features not found in CRM.

However, Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes Sales Literature functionality. The value of sales literature is that it makes product brochures available to sales reps from where they work—sending emails in Outlook. It also allows related documents to be grouped together, so if a product has 5 documents that have to be sent when someone emails a customer with a quote for that product, sales literature can be a big time saver. I refer to sales literature as “email attachment templates” because it pre-groups related attachments that are frequently sent and makes life much easier. By inserting one sales literature record into an email, the sales rep gets all of the related attachments that are part of the sales literature record. It is much more accurate than sales reps sending a copy of the literature from their hard drive that may be outdated or incorrect. Documents only stored in SharePoint are not going to be as easily accessible to salespeople as they send emails to clients, nor are they going to be connected to products and campaigns like they are with Sales Literature.

It doesn’t have to be either/or. Many companies use SharePoint for marketing to collaborate on the documents as they design them and store the master copies in SP, but also use sales literature to group and expose these documents to sales.

It can be a win-win—marketing collaborating on the document in SharePoint, exposing it to sales via sales literature, and sales representatives saving time when sending product brochures and other marketing collateral to customers..

One thought on “Tip #218: Sales Literature vs. SharePoint

  1. Ian Smith says:

    I agree that emailing sales literature more easily enables batching multiple documents. However, a major drawback I see is that the attachments are just that — attachments, and not links. Having attachments to tracked emails in CRM is one of the biggest offenders in bulking up the CRM database size.

    Give the choice, I would typically recommend sending links instead of attachments. I don’t see that CRM Sales Literature allows for links to be emailed to external customers.

    My solution would be to upload documents to SharePoint; and using some customization and ClickDimensions email templates — we can have checkboxes on Lead / Contact forms that indicate which documents to send (as links to SharePoint documents). This works with ClickDimensions email templates because we can use Free Marker code to read the checkboxes for either Leads or Contacts and include only the selected sales literature in the email.

    The assumption is that the email can be sent from an Email Template, as opposed to an ad hoc email in Outlook. Secondly, you would need ClickDimensions and SharePoint to implement this solution. And, again, it would require some configuration on the forms (Leads / Contacts) and conditional logic (simple Free Market code) within the email template.

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