There’s some debate about just how much research B2B buyers do before contacting a salesperson, but we do know that prospects engage with multiple products via web pages, case studies, and other online content throughout the sales process.

Prospects can access content instantly, share it quickly, and make informed decisions promptly. Marketers gather data from this prospect engagement with websites and marketing content. So, why wouldn’t sales do the same?

The fact is that sales teams can and wisely do use prospect engagement to prioritize deals and provide a personalized customer experience. But when it comes to sending meaningful emails, attachments pose a problem for both salespeople and their prospects.

Here are a few key reasons why the paperclip icon has no business appearing in your prospect’s inbox.

Email attachments can be messy

Successful salespeople never assume that prospects use the same technology, applications, devices or email clients. If your attachment is in a format your prospect can’t access – or if the file is too big to get through to a prospect’s inbox – it’s essentially useless and makes you look like you don’t know your prospect’s needs. Follow the digital Golden Rule and invest in systems and processes that use what you’ve learned about a prospect or customer during the sales process to deliver value at every interaction.

You’re in the dark

While a PDF may be easy to create and send, it also leaves you no way to track prospect engagement. Matt Gvazdinskas, director of ZirMed’s platform team, experienced this very dilemma. “We previously used another solution that merged data into a pre-formatted Word document or PDF,” he explains. “The output looked fine, but it certainly wasn’t impressive. We’d deliver the assets via email attachment. From there, they would drop into a black hole… we had no visibility into client engagement with our sales documents.

Use and integration are harder

Does your sales stack make it easy to pull data from your CRM or other systems to create assets for prospects? Can you effectively deploy these assets online or within a platform and then measure engagement? If the answer is yes, then an email attachment loses credibility. The rigidity of documents like PDF or Word means sales ops and other admins have a hard time controlling the content salespeople send out. When content is difficult to control, so is messaging. And when a product is hard to integrate with an existing tech stack, adoption suffers.

Choosing technology that allows you to learn about your prospects and customers at every stage of the sales process will help build relationships and close deals.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Tech that plays well with others and makes integration easy;
  • Tech that can increase adoption of existing tech formats that are easy to modify and easy to lock down; and
  • Tech that’s easy to use for every team in an organization, from admins to sales ops

Email is still the most common way to communicate, but there are better ways to engage during the sales process. Find what works for you and your team and invest your time, effort and resources into technology that will make it easier to close the deal.