If you are considering taking actions to accelerate sales, content might not be the first thought that pops into your mind. Yet, a solid sales enablement content strategy can boost the productivity and efficiency of your marketing and sales teams and speed up your company’s growth. This article gives you 5 simple steps to plan and implement a sales enablement content strategy that will accelerate your sales.
What is sales enablement content?
Sales enablement content includes all the assets created and used to facilitate selling. These assets can be grouped into three main clusters:
- Content for internal use
Assets used by the sellers within the company to perform their daily tasks (e.g., e-mail templates, training material, buyer personas, etc.)
- Content that sellers use in 1-to-1 interactions with buyers
Materials that help sellers showcase value in sales meetings (e.g., interactive presentations, ROI calculators, case studies, etc.)
- Informative content
Pieces of content that are aimed at a wider audience to create brand awareness, increase your organization’s credibility, and build a reputation as industry experts (e.g., blog posts, reports, infographics, webinars, e-books, etc.)
What is a sales enablement content strategy and why do I need it?
Companies that are highly aligned grow 19% faster and are 15% more profitable, Forrester found. Defining a sales enablement content strategy is one of the first and most important steps in implementing a sales enablement strategy and aligning your company’s departments. It will help Sales and Marketing determine how the content should be designed, created, and managed, thus saving double work and waste of resources.
A sales enablement content strategy aligns Marketing and Sales to produce, organize, distribute, and deploy content for each stage of the sales funnel.
Having the right content, for the right buyer, at the right time in their sales journey helps the buyers overcome doubts and move to the next stage of the sales funnel more quickly.
On the other hand, if communication between the marketing and sales teams is lacking, what often happens is that Marketing creates content that sellers never use – either because they cannot find it, or because it is not the content they need – while sellers lack relevant content and often waste precious time “hunting” for it or creating their own (which can also hurt your company’s brand image).
Luckily, planning and implementing a sales enablement content strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. We have broken down the whole process into five actionable steps to help you get started.
5-Steps content strategy
1. Understand your customer
If you want your content strategy to succeed, you need to have a clear image of who your customers are. Step into the shoes of your target audience and walk through their buyer journey: what challenges is your ideal customer facing? What steps are they taking to overcome them? What solutions are they researching? And how can your product help them solve those problems?
Understanding your prospects’ pain points and what they are searching for will guide your content creators to produce resources that make it easier for potential buyers to find your product during the research stage of their journey.
2. Set clear goals
To create an effective sales enablement content strategy, it is important to set clear, measurable goals and identify the main KPIs to monitor, so you can see if your strategy is working.
If you are looking to shorten your sales cycle, then you should measure the time it takes for leads to become customers, the sales velocity, and the pipeline velocity. Another goal could be, for example, to improve sales content performance, in which case you should keep an eye on data about sales content usage, buyer engagement with content, and the conversion rate throughout the sales process.
3. Assess your existing content
First of all, determine who creates all the content currently used by Sales. If it’s Marketing, make sure there is good communication with Sales: do marketers know what content sellers are using (or not using) and what type of content they are missing? Are sellers briefed on new content and do they know where to find it? The same principle applies if it’s the sales leaders who are in charge of content creation for sellers: good communication will ensure consistency between marketing content and sales content and will improve the brand image.
Once you have established who should be in charge of content creation, take a look at your existing content and map it to the different stages of the sales funnel. Informative content can be useful to generate awareness in top-of-the funnel audience. You will need more targeted resources, like interactive content and sales presentations, for those prospects who are showing intent to buy and have therefore moved towards the middle of the funnel. For the bottom of the funnel, use content that will help you overcome any final objections and convert those leads into customers, for example, ROI calculators, customer cases, and testimonials. This process will help you identify any gaps in your assets and show if you need to create any additional content or optimize or repurpose your existing one.
4. Develop and implement your strategy
This is the right time to consider if it’s worth investing in additional technology, such as a sales enablement platform or a content management solution. This types of software can help you keep your content organized all in one place, so that it’s easy for content producers to distribute it and keep track of its performance, and for content users to find it with just a few clicks. They can also help you make sure sellers are always using the most updated resources, and ensure brand consistency. There are lots of content management solutions available on the market, so do your research and identify the one that is most suitable to achieving your goals.
At this point, develop the necessary materials to fill any gaps in your existing assets, then you are ready to start testing your new strategy on a small group, before a full, company-wide rollout.
5. Measure, analyze, improve
It is important to monitor the outcomes of your strategy on an ongoing basis, so you can timely intervene with any necessary adjustments. If you have set up clear goals and know which KPIs to observe, then this part should be easy, especially if you have implemented any software that tracks content performance. For example, some content management platforms are able to collect data on content sent to buyers and tell you if and when your prospect has opened the files and how they interacted with them. Analyzing the engagement rate of your content will tell you which pieces are performing well and which ones are in need of an update.
Be aware that you won’t see results overnight and it might take some time before the effects of your sales enablement content strategy will be measurable, but it will surely be worth the time and effort.
Overall, a sales enablement content strategy will help sales teams work more efficiently, have better quality sales conversations, increase sales velocity, deliver a consistent message, and improve the customer experience. All of these benefits can ultimately lead to increased sales and revenue for the organization.
Download our complete Sales enablement guide and start aligning your company today!