Djamel Toubrinet, Head of Sales Enablement at Cegid, Gareth Meredith, Manager EMEA, Bid & Proposal Team at 8×8 and Karla Rivershaw, Head of Marketing at Turtl, discuss how sales enablement teams can create sales content that is engaging, personalized, and effective for both buyers and sellers.
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Djamel explains the sometimes contradictory challenges facing sales enablement teams:
We have our share of challenges in the sales enablement space. And sales content is definitely one of them. When it comes to sales content, there are a few things we often hear:
One, we have too much content. We have hundreds of pieces and we don’t know where to start. Two, we have the wrong content. There’s a quality issue that needs to be addressed.
And three, it’s hard to find content. You probably know the stat – sales reps spend about 12 hours a month looking for content. Even the best content is useless when it’s not found by the people who need it most.
Gareth weighs in on the need for both detail and speed in bids and proposals:
You’re expected to provide huge amounts of detail across your entire organization, depending on what’s going into this proposal.
The challenges we tend to face are: how do we get that micro level of detail in our sales peoples’ hands? In addition to how do we speed that up?
Let’s say it’s proactive rather than responsive in nature. How do we give sellers really high quality content that they can use repeatedly, with low amounts of tailoring?
Let’s jump in – how can we address these challenges?
Djamel explains the cost of this missed opportunity:
Do you guys agree that we tend to spend more time on consumer facing content as opposed to internal content?
We’re missing an opportunity there. I don’t like the idea of making a distinction between content that I’m going to be putting out there for our customers or prospects and our sellers internally.
When I think about content, I think about how to create the most interesting, visual content that the reader will want to read for the longest time possible.
One of our imperatives is to help sales managers understand the ecosystems that their teams – their sellers – evolve in. So we provide them also with things like training, and we have an operating model that they go by.
That operating model used to be in a PDF format. It was very dry and almost 80 pages to read. We know they were going to maybe look at it once, but they will never go back to it.
So our idea here was to grab that content and transform it. We made it as visual and easy to navigate to find the information. It is as dynamic as possible so that the sellers actually consume it. We didn’t only want to talk about strategy. We wanted to be able to operationalize that strategy. In doing this, we can make sure the sales managers put in place what they’re supposed to, to do business.
Karla adds in a key benefit of engaged sellers:
There’s a lot of value in making sure that your internal stakeholders are getting the best experience possible. That will then set your content up for success externally as well.
Karla introduces the psychology of personalization and why both sellers and buyers respond to personalized content:
There’s a phenomenon called the cocktail effect. Imagine you are at an event having a conversation with a group of people and there’s a conversation going on behind you. Somebody in that group behind you mentions your name.
In those situations, your brain often immediately focuses on the conversation that’s happening behind you, as opposed to the conversation that you’re participating in. Your brain can quickly filter out other distractions when it hears something so important: your name.
This is an interesting psychological play. It goes back to how our brain is wired. We’re probably all familiar with the idea that we have the emotional part of our brain and the rational part of our brain. The emotional side of our brain actually drives a lot of decision-making.
That said, in the B2B space, when we’re making decisions, we still think we are perfectly rational creatures that make decisions based on logic. The reality is that we’re very emotional creatures.
If you’re able to tap into that emotional brain through the content you’re creating, then you’re more likely to create a strong connection between the reader and your brand. Personalization is a really good way to do that.
Djamel expands on how and why they include personalization in internal and external materials
We’re trying to use personalization with our internal stakeholders in internal content and between the sellers and the buyers in external content.
For example, internally, it helps when we want to communicate about processes. Recently, we changed our billing conditions internally. We had to communicate this to our salespeople.
Cegid is a group of companies – we actually have five business units. So, as you can imagine, it’s always better to use people within each of those business units to communicate key messages, even if those messages come from the central unit.
We created a document, with Turtl as a matter of fact. What we were able to do is incorporate a video message from different heads of business units or departments to get the message to the specific teams.
Sellers can do the exact same thing. For instance, if I’m responding to a bid or I’m sending a sales proposal, I could add personalized sales messaging videos and incorporate those videos in the documents.
What I love about Turtl here is that, as you can see here, you’re able to generate a GIF that you can throw into an email and send to your customer. That’s the way to get them to click and consume the content. Then [with analytics] you can see what they do with the content that you’re sending out.
That wasn’t because the words were different, it wasn’t because the message was different. It was because the content itself was actually a joy to interact with. It was actually something that people felt gave them control. Giving people that autonomy helped in making them feel as though it was something that they felt they wanted to spend time with.
One application of this is in channel enablement. When you think about working with partners that are reselling your product, usually they like being provided with content that they can utilize, personalize, and actually send to their customers.
So we use Turtl, for example, to create master documents that resellers can personalize with their logos, with their specific quotes, and with specific elements that they want to incorporate. They can then send these personalized versions out to their prospects and customers. It’s personalization at scale.
Djamel explains their key metrics for success:
We look at usage [by sellers] – when you create content you want to make sure that it is utilized in order to determine your investments there.
And we look at if and how content is consumed: if it has been seen, whether it’s opened or shared, and how much time is spent on a specific page or slide in a document.
We look closely at what is consumed within those documents, regardless of what the format is, to determine the themes or the topics that are of interest to people. That’s a very important element for us. This is what drives our budgets in terms of where we should invest money.
Another layer is the connection between our content and our CRM system. This is really where the rubber meets the road because we’re able to connect content with opportunities and determine the ROI on the content.
We’re able to say, for instance, this case study or this analyst report that we invested in generated $5 million in this time period. I might have an opinion on working with analysts and the next person might have another opinion, but it almost doesn’t matter anymore. We just look at it as – is this generating revenue? If so, we should double down and do more of that.
Gareth elaborates on measuring success and how to translate metrics to proven ROI:
In bids, the most binary way that you can measure success is a win or loss.
Using a tool like Turtl, with more analytical capabilities, we can go beyond seeing whether an email to a customer has been opened. With Turtl, you can see how many pages they read and how many minutes they spent in that document or on an individual page.
The integration of different applications to determine success is really where the magic happens. We have great solutions to build content, we have a CRM system, we have an asset management system, and many other tools at our disposal.
Knowing whether a piece of content is consumed and shared is awesome information, but it’s the first level. You can connect platforms such as your asset management platform – ours is called Showpad – and integrate them with your CRM system.
So all of those bits of information that we get – the digital breadcrumbs – are copied into the CRM and linked to the opportunities.
So we’re able to look at an opportunity and determine what we did with this customer from a marketing standpoint, from a sales standpoint, and from a marketing automation standpoint. We can look at the big picture and determine whether a piece of content, or multiple pieces of content, have influenced a deal and whether it was won or lost. But we’re also able to connect it with revenue.
We’re able to say this piece of content that we spent, for instance, $8,000 to build has generated $5 million. There’s no better way of explaining what you’re doing. This is the best way of explaining to anybody, what you’ve invested and how you’re generating business, because the connection is there and it’s automatic. That’s the beauty.
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