With many different customer touchpoints emerging, sales and marketing teams can easily send mixed messages to customers, which can negatively impact sales.
However, organizations can use product information management (PIM) systems to improve the consistency, simplicity, and efficiency of their sales and marketing efforts. PIM systems organize and manage the lifecycle of product data, such as technical specifications, media assets, metrics, customer feedback, and digital catalog data. To successfully implement a PIM system, e-commerce managers need management support, defined information requirements, and must work alongside sales and marketing teams.
The following best practices can help e-commerce organizations successfully implement a PIM system.
1. Get support from the management team
First, PIM advocates need the support of their organization’s management teams. If managers engage in the PIM system implementation process early on, they can ensure that the digital transformation project aligns with business goals.
2. Define the information required
Ecommerce managers should work with one or two sales and marketing managers and engage with their teams to define product information requirements. To determine these requirements, they should ask themselves the following questions:
- Do the products have a lot of complex specifications?
- Do they have several variations?
- What comments from happy customers or product reviews could help the platform stand out?
E-commerce managers must gather all relevant product data, such as technical specifications, digital media assets, usage metrics, testimonials, and digital catalog data, for storage in the PIM system.
3. Create an implementation plan
A successful implementation of the PIM system uses sales and marketing content to direct customers to its e-commerce site. E-commerce managers should bring together internal sales, marketing, and IT professionals with external product implementation partners to define the steps needed to create a PIM system and ensure that it is meets the requirements of the organization.
4. Choose the right software
E-commerce leaders can find dozens of PIM systems on the market, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some systems prioritize data syndication features, which automatically share product information with external applications. Other systems allow organizations to create complex product comparisons on corporate websites.
Once e-commerce managers have defined their information needs, they should compare product options to see which system best meets their needs. Additionally, e-commerce leaders should consider the vendor’s business model, viability, and pricing before choosing a system.
5. Foster employee engagement
For a PIM system to be effective, sales and marketing teams must adopt it. If these teams don’t engage with the system, business leaders can expect fragmented communication across sales channels and the e-commerce platform.
Early in the project, e-commerce managers need to gather feedback from initial users, who can tell managers what their colleagues want in a PIM system. Then teams can fit as many into the system as their budgets and timelines allow.
Additionally, e-commerce managers can plan training and incentives around the launch of the PIM system and use gamification apps to support system adoption. Business leaders should think of adopting the system as if it were another product sold by their organization, so that they can effectively market the PIM system to sales and marketing teams.
6. Use feedback to improve the system
No technological system can remain static. For a PIM system to serve as the single source of truth for an organization’s product data, e-commerce managers must continually refine it based on the experiences of sales and marketing teams.
After implementation, business leaders need to poll and poll users to understand what works and what doesn’t in the system. These surveys and queries can help business leaders improve the system so that it meets the expectations of the teams. Business leaders should continue to listen to sales and marketing users to expand or fix the PIM system as needed.
A PIM system is a major investment – sometimes in focus and team time, and sometimes in money. To be successful, e-commerce managers need to focus on how data control, validity, and consistency can improve the effectiveness of sales teams.
Ecommerce managers need to listen and use feedback from their teams to create a successful PIM system. When business leaders work with sales and marketing teams, they can create a system that improves marketing, empowers employees and customers with reliable data, and builds customer trust.