Prafull Sharma, Founder of content marketing agency LeadsPanda.com and author of the One-Page Content Marketing Blueprint, shares his tips to create sales enablement content that puts the buyer front and center.
Years ago, most brands viewed content as a way to engage customers only in certain phases of their purchase journey. Now, more businesses understand the important role that quality content plays in all stages of the customer’s journey, especially the sales process.
Data even reveals that in recent years, web queries for “sales enablement” rose by 51.2% year by year.
Sales enablement is the content, processes, and technology that help sales teams or representatives to sell better with greater velocity. If you equip your sales reps with content that answers questions, enlightens prospects, and bridges information gaps, you help them improve efficiency, sell better, and fortify their sales conversations.
Sales enablement content is content your sales team uses through the selling process to supplement their sales conversations and individual efforts. Your sales team requires the right content at specific times to efficiently engage with prospective buyers and satisfy their concerns.
A study by Salesforce shows that 58% of pipelines freeze because the sales team cannot add value.
Buyers expect to engage with content throughout their entire purchase journey. In fact, 95% of buyers choose businesses that provide content to guide them through every stage of the purchase process.
No wonder B2B companies that align marketing and sales operations have 24% faster 3-year revenue growth.
Sales enablement content can range from whitepapers to case studies to email drip campaigns, but the format is far less important than the information it passes to the customer. Focusing on the relevance of the content helps your sales reps engage buyers better.
To achieve that, your content must:
To create sales enablement content that achieves the above, here are some tips any brand can follow:
All your current content won’t be suitable to use as a sales enablement piece necessarily, but some should work, hopefully. It’s important to audit your content and ensure it addresses prospects’ concerns in their journey (which is related to their personas).
Work hand-in-hand with sales reps to ensure, at different stages of the buyer’s journey, they are equipped with the content to inform and improve their sales efforts. You can also search for customer support queries to identify when disconnects are occurring between your audience and product.
It’s important to note that not every content you qualify as great for sales enablement will be the right fit for every situation. You may need to tweak or rework some of it to fit into the context you intend to use it for.
Establish a system during the audit process to pinpoint content that requires tweaking, content that’s ready for use as sales enablement pieces, and content that won’t work with your strategy.
One of the most overlooked channels for crafting sales enablement content is your internal documentation.
A lot of your internal documents may not be polished enough for public consumption, but they likely contain information that will help prospects understand your brand, product, and processes. This can be especially beneficial to customers during the evaluation stage of the purchase process.
For example, bottom-funnel content like product spec sheets and product comparisons that weren’t meant to be visible to prospects can be tweaked to create quality content that satisfies your audience’s queries — such content is an excellent starting point.
Even if you record conversations, you won’t be able to give content creators the insight they require to craft the perfect piece. They won’t know when sales reps need particular content that they don’t have on hand or that isn’t in your records.
Crafting sales enablement content demands direct collaboration with your sales team, as they’re on the frontlines. Nobody knows the kind of content that will be useful to the sales process better than your sales reps. They communicate with prospects more than anyone and will have the best idea of what additional material will best assist them in making sales. This is the reason sales reps should have a part in dictating the content direction.
This is also why sales enablement content creates a perfect alignment between marketing and sales. The collaboration helps you identify the content types that will work in bridging the gap between your teams, sets the foundation for content-centric collaborations, and provides insight into how each team operates.
With the insights you discover when auditing content, create a customer journey map that matches particular phases in the journey directly to content that you may need to use at such times. Do this by finding out from sales reps, social media, and other avenues what questions are asked at particular times in the customer’s journey.
For example, the online store UrbanDaddy has a website dedicated to content. The website simply provides prospects with valuable information for free, gaining the trust of prospects, and boosting conversion rates.
Collaborating with your sales team to identify the best times to utilize specific content increases its effectiveness. It will also help you identify gaps so you can prioritize what to create next.
Even in organizations that track and design sales conversation funnels meticulously, each sales rep will have their own way of interacting with prospects. All your sales reps won’t be able to use the same content as effectively. If you don’t collaborate with them, you won’t know what content types fit their individual style best.
Most businesses have their sales reps segmented into what they sell, their method of sales, and the buyer personas they sell to. Your content must reflect this. Take particular industries, verticals, and accounts into consideration as you choose the content you’ll create for the sales enablement process.
Knowing the different strategies that sales reps use and the different situations they encounter during sales conversations is key to crafting relevant and useful sales enablement content.
Empowerment is the foundation of sales enablement. Sales reps should have the capacity to ask for content that will assist them in securing new deals.
You can also empower sales reps to craft content if they show that they can. Even though using experienced writers for content creation is vital, sales reps can still create a first draft of the content they need to help the sales process. The content can then be evolved by your writers and editors.
If you go this route, it’s best practice to give basic content creation training to your sales reps.
Customers expect informative content at various stages of their journey. The people who know what they want best are your sales reps.
However, without adequate materials sales reps can do little to nothing to ensure that prospects convert. Your content marketing team needs to create pieces that resonate with the needs of your sales reps who seek to satisfy the queries and concerns of prospects.
That’s where collaboration and communication with your sales team, leading to the creation of quality sales enablement content, comes in. By following the above tips, you can ensure that your sales team has the needed resources to answer prospects’ questions, provide value, and turn them into paying customers.
Prafull Sharma is the Founder of content marketing agency LeadsPanda.com and author of the One-Page Content Marketing Blueprint. He shares tips to 2x your content marketing results on LeadsPanda blog. Connect with him on twitter @prafullsha.
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