Here’s something shocking! 69% of sales representatives say that they often can’t find the right content to send their prospects. Can you imagine how devastating that is to your business?
Imagine. You’re a sales rep. Finally, after days of canvassing, you have a qualified lead. A carefully worded email, a PDF with the right information, or an engaging video can convert this prospect. But you find that you have no content in your repertoire – or you lack the right content.
This is only a single lead. Consider how much loss you’ll be accruing if this happens with hundreds, if not thousands of leads?
Why content is essential for sales enablement?
The truth of the matter is, content is essential for the sales team, just as it is for the marketing team.
The reason is simple. Customers place a high value on the quality of the content you create. They use it to evaluate your quality as a brand/service provider.
In the table above, you can see how marketing teams in B2B companies used content to increase engagement and conversion. Consider how impactful it can be if your sales and marketing teams worked with a content marketing company to create content campaigns. These content collaterals would complement and supplement each other. You’d be extra effective in your campaigns.
A few years ago, HubSpot conducted an interview with customers who used Lucid software. The results of the study show that a number of respondents had purchased from Lucid after reading a blog post about their software.
Additionally, according to HubSpot’s 2021 Executive Marketing Leadership Survey, 20% of organizational respondents confirmed how important content was in achieving company goals. This includes sales goals.
A step-by-step guide to building an effective content creation process for sales enablement
Now you know why it is imperative for sales teams to create and use content in their sales enablement activities. Let’s look at how you can make content creation a key part of your sales process:
1. Define your sales goals
Having a sales goal is extremely important since it will allow you to streamline your content creation. When you know what you want to achieve, you can create and run the right content campaigns.
These goals could be:
- Boost the number of qualified leads generated every month.
- Increasing your monthly/annual revenue.
- Reducing customer attrition.
- Gaining a higher market share.
- Increasing customer lifetime value.
- Boost ad impressions and win rates.
- Improve customer satisfaction post-sale.
2. Determine what funnel stage your prospects are in and create funnel-specific content
Sales goals are very intricately connected to the sales funnel stages. Once you determine what goals you want to achieve with your content, you need to start planning content for prospects in different stages of the sales funnel.
While formats like blog posts and videos can work well at all levels of the sales funnel, the content you cover should be different. Here’s a guide that you can follow, when it comes to creating content for each stage of the sales funnel:
During the awareness stage, you should focus on developing content that establishes you as a thought leader. You can create:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Free virtual events such as webinars
- Explainer videos
In the interest stage, your content should focus on showing how your product/service can make the prospect’s life easier. You can create:
How-to videos with the product/service
During the consideration stage, the content focus should be on sharing technical information which prospects can compare and study. You can create:
- Consumer research
- Company brochure or specs sheets
In the evaluation stage, the content should be used to show how your product/service solves specific issues plaguing the target market. This strengthens their belief that your brand is worth the investment. You can create:
- Case studies
- Customer testimonials
- RFPs and ROI calculators
- Video demos for specific use cases
- Mini-courses – free trials
During the purchase stage, the groundwork for post-sale customer engagement should start. You can create:
- Blogs and/or videos on features, software updates, and smart hacks.
- Email offers with promo codes or discounts for upgrades.
- Resource lists.
- Social media challenges, quizzes, surveys, etc.
3. Use technology to supercharge your sales content process
Now that you know what content to create, it’s time to start creating (and managing) your content.
According to a 2018 survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 32% of respondents said that they had a poor content management workflow. This can be a huge problem for businesses. Studies show that inefficiencies in content production can cost companies around $958 million each year.
When you have a robust content creation process, it supports sales enablement success. Ideally, your content creation process should:
- Make your sales enablement campaigns transparent.
- Allow sales teams to work closely with marketing teams.
- Bring in external stakeholders to be part of your content creation process.
- Implement robust content privacy.
This is where it helps to have a great content workflow and management technology in place, which can help you supercharge your sales enablement content campaigns.
A software that is particularly helpful is Narrato Workspace – a smart content collaboration and workflow management platform, which also doubles up as your sales enablement content repository.
Narrato Workspace enables content teams to:
Create and collaborate on high quality content for all funnel stages – Narrato Workspace offers several features that allow you to create high quality content, such as their language tool. It highlights not only grammar errors but also offers readability and content structuring suggestions.
Manage your content creation process start-to-finish – Narrato Workspace is a great place to have both your marketing & sales teamwork collaboratively. You can plan content, collaborate on creation and share content with the sales team for their use. Tasks can be easily assigned to the content creators and collaborators. The platform also has an in-line commenting feature which makes it very easy for you to consult other team members and work in alignment with the others. The platform’s workflow status bar and project status tab can be used to check the completion statuses of each content collateral.
Publish seamlessly across various platforms – With Narrato Workspace, content publishing also becomes hassle-free. The platform is fully integrated with WordPress, with support for HTML publishing. You can also share your content via public links with other stakeholders to view your content prior to publishing it online.
Maintain a repository of sales content – Narrato Workspace allows you to manage and maintain your content under projects and folder hierarchy. This ensures clean organization of content, such that it’s easy for the members of the sales team to find what they are looking for quickly.
4. Train your sales reps to use content effectively
Here is the defining difference between traditional content marketing and content sales enablement. The former is focused on creating content that buyers can consume. But, the latter focuses on creating content that sales reps can consume and pass on to prospects at the right time.
For example, you may have a 50-pages white paper that outlines how to use your marketing automation software. But assume your sales rep doesn’t know when or how to use this content during lead engagement. In this case, the whitepaper is of no use. Timely training can help here.
Once you create content for sales enablement, you need to teach your team:
How to choose what content to use and when.
How to implement the content during different stages of the sales pipeline.
How to tie their sales content to the marketing content that prospects may consume on other channels.
The best way to do this is to organize sales enablement training sessions, which focus on content creation, content marketing, and content engagement. Have the internal marketing team or the external online marketing agency sit with salespeople and train them on how best to leverage sales enablement content.
Also, keep salespeople informed about the schedule when marketing materials will be released online. This way, your sales reps can know how best to use the content pieces they have, to affect sales.
5. Conduct content audits to check if you’re on track and course-correct if necessary
After publishing content, it’s necessary to conduct regular sales content audits to ensure you’re on the right track to:
- Improve your search engine ranking.
- Increase your content visibility.
- Make your content more appealing to the target customers in the relevant sales funnel.
- Stimulate desired behavior from prospects (for example – scheduling a product demo, applying for a free service trial, using store coupon etc.)
- Increase conversion rate.
To do this, you’ll need to:
Collate your sales enablement content – This includes everything from blog posts to presentation slides to URLs to keywords.
Create a catalog of your content – Cataloging should be based on criteria such as sales funnel stage, sales goal, keywords targeted, author/s, content format, year/date of publication, associated/tagged sales representative, etc. This will give you an exact idea of the content you’ve already put out and what else you need to do to improve your sales enablement.
Analyze your content performance, marketing, and sales reports – You can use free tools such as Google Analytics and the Google Search Console to run reports on your sales enablement content campaigns. These reports will tell you about:
- How many target prospects engaged with your content?
- What actions they performed after engaging with the content?
- Whether the sales goals were met or not?
You will also need to do a comprehensive analysis of your sales & marketing reports to drill down and verify what impact your sales enablement content has had.
Delete, modify or repurpose your content – Based on the content analytics results you get, you will need to either delete your non-performing content or modify it by updating it. Or, you will have to repurpose your content into a different format to check if that format yields better sales results. For example, turning your white paper into a webinar so that the content is more easily understandable by prospects. You can also:
Create a more custom web design for each target buying stage/funnel stage.
Restructure your existing content.
Rewrite your CTAs.
Optimize your metadata.
Implement 301 redirects to pages that you have removed from your website.
Add new/extra images, videos, and pitch decks.
Include QR codes for your product/service, for easy checkout.
By keeping up this process of constant content auditing, you’ll be able to tweak your sales enablement content and successfully achieve your sales objectives.
The days are gone when content creation and management were the sole responsibilities of the marketing team. If sales teams come on board and create content in alignment with marketing teams, they’ll find it significantly easier to achieve organizational goals together.
Do you have a content creation & management process for sales enablement at your company? Are you planning to implement these steps from now on? Let us know in the comments.
Author bio – Nisha Prakash is a writer at Godot Media, specializing in social media marketing and content management. She is an avid runner, a trekking enthusiast, and a lifelong bibliophile.