Documentation as a cost center

Subject: Documentation as a cost center
From: aschiff -at- factset -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 16:03:35 -0400

Janice Gelb <janiceg -at- marvin -dot- eng -dot- sun -dot- com> wrote:
<<I have
already heard of other documentation people who have heard a
hint that they are regarded as a cost center rather than a
revenue producing area.>>

Unfortunately this is true. However, in addition to indirect benefits
(reduce training costs, improve customer satisfaction, fewer/shorter
support desk calls), I believe documentation can also help generate new

I regularly communicate with my company's director of sales to educate our
sales-force on how to use Documentation to help close sales. A lot of the
more tech-savvy salespeople are surprisingly tuned in to how documentation
helps sell a product. For example:

* Giving out specific product documentation to tech-savvy prospects who
"want more than the glossy marketing literature."
* Referring Trial users to online tutorials (to quote one sales guy, "the
fastest way to get training.")
* Teaching existing clients to browse through our Help system to read about
premium product offerings. More than a couple of clients have subsequently
called THEIR salesperson to ask for a trial upgrade, several of which led
to subsequent sales.

Anyone else have thoughts on how documentation can contribute directly to
revenue growth?

Abby Schiff
FactSet Research Systems

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