Researchers recently declared that the memory capacity of the human brain is 10X more than previously thought. Data from the Salk Institute shows the brain's storage potential is in the petabyte range—as much as the entire Web.

The Salk Institute researchers were excited at the precision and efficiency of information that could be potentially stored in synaptic connections. They discovered that, not only was the brain incredibly powerful and efficient, it also seems to have unlimited potential for storage.

As content creators, that is certainly good news! After all, we are expecting our audiences to absorb each and every carefully chosen word we produce.

Now that we know about this tremendous capability, where's the glitch? Why do our company sales teams have trouble remembering the content, where the documents can be accessed, and how to present information effectively? How do we tap into this intelligence and use more of that available brainpower?

Glitches in the Machine

We may have huge brain capacities, but it really comes down to how we access the things we have been exposed to. Apparently, our brains can remember almost everything, yet, let's face it that would be overwhelming for daily life.

We need to actively engage in order to remember.

Humans developed a system for organizing information often placing the most importance on the bits necessary for survival. Human brains use synapses to create access pathways and to put information in order. Some of the items are stored in a shorter working memory.

Other information is stored in long-term memory. This takes a bit more effort to encode and place information carefully where we can find it again. And there's the challenge. We may very well remember the item and whether we have seen it before, but the specifics escape us when trying to retrieve the information. As we try to remember, we can be victims of forgetfulness or, what scientists call retrieval failure.

Recognizing that pathways can be lost, and learning how the brain processes and stores data, engineers have developed technologies that work with the brain to overcome those shortcomings of recall. This has been hugely successful in the business world, especially for sales, and has created an entire category of sales enablement platforms.

These new technology tools help sales reps perform at their best by enhancing the retention and retrieval of information stored in their brains. These tools can provide contextual recommendations for sales content, job aids, and coaching when salespeople need it most. Time is saved looking for content and the sales rep has the latest content and messages for the opportunity.

These new tools also enhance sales training programs. Common sales training methods often include day-long seminars, or even week-long sales retreats where company leaders go over messaging, product specifications, and sales skill training. Studies show that up to 90% of training is lost or irretrievable after just 30 days. The human brain isn't designed to learn or retain information this way.

A better way to introduce information is with short bursts that reinforce neural pathways during the normal workflow when salespeople are receptive. It is recognized that if information is presented just when it is needed, it is absorbed and utilized easily. Sales enablement applications often have memory booster aids such as, videos, quizzes, and repetition exercises. These elements are usually much more effective and enjoyable over the traditional long sessions in conference rooms or large hotel ballrooms.

What This Means for Marketing Management

A 2014 Sirius Decisions study showed that only 30% of the content that marketing teams created was actually used by sales. Marketers also are challenged to make sure sales has the latest content, the messages are delivered properly and content is properly branded.

Consistent messaging and branding is greatly improved using sales enablement technology. The content is easy to find for sales reps, especially if delivered in their daily workflow within the CRM, and they can even be notified via email or text when new content is available. The recommendations of content, job aides and coaching provide peace of mind for marketers, because they know the sales reps have the latest messaging with properly branded content. And most exciting for marketers, using technology allows them to see engagement, usage and even show ROI of marketing content. No more guessing what works and what does not.

Taking advantage of the sales enablement technology available today, brings marketing and sales closer together. It makes sales reps smarter and more confident, especially when the technology is designed with how the human brain stores and retrieves information. It increases sales usage of marketing content and it gives marketing visibility into content ROI. Perhaps the age old struggle of bringing sales and marketing into better alignment has been helped by a little brain science magic.

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image of Chanin Ballance

Chanin Ballance is CEO of Veelo, an award-winning cloud-based marketing and sales performance platform. Chanin is a frequent speaker on the topics of learning and retention, brain science, mobile engagement, and sales enablement solutions.

LinkedIn: Chanin Ballance

Twitter: @chaninballance