Sometimes we’re so used to our daily processes, we don’t even consider the amount of time we could be wasting until someone comes along and points it out.
Well if you’re on a product commercialization team and you’re feeling even slightly frustrated with your current product information practices, consider this blog post as someone pointing it out.
Does it ring a bell if your day is described as constantly asking product teams for product information, waiting on answers, and trying to confirm if you have the most up-to-date information? And you’re doing all of this before you can even begin the basic work of designing a campaign or developing a content strategy?
Perhaps it’s helpful to hear you’re not alone in these daily pains that seem taken for granted. Many commercialization teams deal with unwieldy, manual processes that are entrusted with keeping track of complex, crucial product information.
Here are 4 of the common pains that can occur when commercialization teams are working within these clunky environments.
1. Sifting through multiple, disparate sources to find the right data
No matter how organized your company may seem, if product information is saved in multiple different systems and formats, you’ll inevitably be wasting valuable time and energy to track it all down when you need it.
Historically, different teams rely on different tools. Engineering teams concept in a CAD tool, sourcing teams manage materials and cost rollups in ERP, and operations manage quality checks in spreadsheets and emails.
But each of these systems causes a breakdown in the product thread and leaves a collection of disconnected data points waiting to be pieced back together.
If you’re one of those people who have to do the piecing, then this is not news to you.
Finding the correct source, linking data fields, and chasing down missing details drains your resources and limits the potential value of your work.
With piles of information to sift through, marketing and sales team members like you may not have the bandwidth to create the meaningful enriched content and consistent product story needed to drive omnichannel sales.
2. Updating and verifying accuracy when products and prices change
Many organizations today rely on manual handoffs between teams when product information becomes available.
But for those in the thick of it, we know from experience that manual processes are not reliable for controlling data accuracy.
The concept makes sense in theory. The hope is that the transfer from one team to the next enables a data checkpoint. In practice, it’s a chokepoint.
The reality is each of these transitions is at risk of human error. While of course everyone has the best intentions, handoffs between siloed teams are inevitably fallible causing part of the rich product story to be lost and data integrity to degrade.
Amid supply chain disruptions and market competition, changes to product materials and costs are more likely to occur, but these late-stage updates often fail to fully saturate downstream to commercialization’s knowledge bank.
Marketers are left searching internal spreadsheets and shared drives for changes and cross-referencing published descriptions to manually find potential errors—or worse, waiting for a customer to discover them.
3. Producing valuable marketing assets without a direct connection to product records
Nearly 90% of B2B decision makers find consistent marketing and sales language important, but 48% say they receive different information from the sales and marketing teams.
If you’re a content creator, copywriter, campaign manager, or any of these related roles in product marketing, you know the value of building compelling customer experiences, including assets like descriptive copy, graphics, and feature videos.
However, most of these remain in the realm of a content management system (CMS) or digital asset management (DAM), accessible by only marketing.
Just as these marketing team creators are constantly seeking information from product teams, sales and service teams are simultaneously hunting down marketing assets they can send to retail or distribution partners.
If marketing content isn’t therefore 100% accurate, the sales team’s reputability weakens as well. The risk of inaccuracy, inconsistency, and IP loss can be damaging not only to customer loyalty but to partner and client relationships.
Bringing digital assets full circle to connect directly to product records makes them available for reuse by sales and service teams or distribution partners.
4. Publishing to multiple channels and markets with varying taxonomies
Commercialization teams for product companies are well versed in the dizzying requirements and regulations in order to localize one single product.
A single master product often encompasses several SKU variations adapted to fit different global markets, as well as multiple versions of content to cover different languages or units of measure.
In addition, each sales channel needs information delivered in a different format, with inconsistent fields, document types, and integrations.
Obviously, a vast amount of product data is needed—and it’s almost never one-size-fits-all when it comes to launching in different markets.
Flexibility is key for managing the variety of inputs, while also allowing for the range of output formats. Without addressing these core challenges to gathering, enriching, and distributing product data, organizations only stand to deliver poor customer experiences, lost revenue, and decreased market share.
Believe it or not, the minutes and even hours you spend each week grappling with product information issues such as these is time that can be entirely handed back to you. There are tools out there that could eliminate these frustrating efforts altogether.
Product Information Management (PIM) is a powerful and critical facet of any cloud-based solution for product companies. As a single source of product truth that connects every team member from the concepting phase all the way to the marketing—the product information you’re looking for is up to date, accurate, and at your fingertips in a matter of seconds.
Learn how much easier your day-to-day can be with our eBook “Achieving Product Success in Omnichannel Commerce.”