Effectively Managing Sales Content Efforts
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For sales reps to succeed, they need the right information at the right time. This is where sales content, when managed effectively, becomes so valuable. The fast-paced nature of sales requires digestible, clear, and timely content to equip reps with the necessary information to engage customers at the moment of need.
Sales content has the power to create significant business impact by enticing buyer interest and building trust. To maximize the impact of sales content, organizations need robust processes to manage existing information, update outdated language, optimize the systems for reps to easily access the content they need, and track performance to refine efforts.
Importantly, these efforts need to be constantly iterative to keep pace with change rather than one-time projects. As the market and sales environment continue to evolve, companies will need to re-envision what ideal content looks like for their organization and the steps it will take to reach those goals.
The Sales Enablement Maturity Report 2021 introduced five key focus points for organizations to consider when analyzing and improving their sales content efforts. Here are best practices to employ when tackling each stage along the journey to sales content maturity.
For sales reps to quickly access the content they need, content must be organized intuitively and easy to navigate. As part of these organizational efforts, it’s also important that content systems are constantly refreshed with the latest and greatest resources so that reps have easy access to new information in an ever-changing market.
“Where the sales enablement responsibility comes in is you have to keep [content] up to date, curated, easy to access, and understandable,” said Juliana Stancampiano, chief executive officer at Oxygen.
In addition to helping reps stay on top of evolving market needs to remain competitive, well-organized content can also help alleviate the pain of wasted time spent searching for the content reps need. When reps can instead locate the right resources promptly, they can then reinvest that time in customer interactions to build more effective relationships.
In turn, this helps reps establish greater trust and credibility with prospects, which can lead to better sales performance. In fact, organizations that are highly effective at storing and organizing content experience a 14-percentage-point increase in win rates on average compared to those that are effective.
“All prospects want accurate information,” said Charles Derupe, head of sales field enablement content at Square. “So, what are you doing to make sure that the content you have is also centralized, being used, and being updated in a way so that your salespeople can be more credible?”
Maintain Governance of Sales Content
More and more, agility and adaptability are becoming table stakes for success in sales. In order to remain competitive in saturated markets and prove relevance as customer needs and interests shift, reps need to be able to pivot quickly to demonstrate value.
To help reps stay ahead of emerging market trends and adapt quickly to new buyer needs, sales enablement can establish systems for reviewing, refining, phasing out, and creating new content as needed. In doing so, organizations can ensure that reps always have the most relevant messaging to keep prospects and customers engaged. When organizations are highly effective in their content governance efforts, they report win rates that are 6 percentage points greater than those that are only effective.
“Our content strategy will need to be re-evaluated from time to time as we receive inputs from the marketplace, as we receive input from the organization or the brand or the customer, we need to pivot just like we’ve done recently to make sure that we’re still able to resonate,” said Henry Adaso, author of Content Mapping.
In order to improve content, practitioners first need to understand where there are gaps or shortcomings. By monitoring content usage and the strategies that successful reps use with their prospects and buyers, sales enablement can better identify opportunities for improvement in the content strategy or areas to replicate in order to scale success.
“The fact of the matter is that we all know that sales content does have the power to influence deals, influence revenue, and the more that we can actually start to quantify that, the more we can actually identify the analytics that are surrounding that content, and then we can actually improve it,” said Jen Spencer, chief revenue officer at SmartBug Media.
Defining key metrics and tracking them consistently can help sales enablement deliver valuable insights to the business to improve the usage and performance of content. Organizations that are highly effective in utilizing data to improve content report win rates that are 10 percentage points higher than those who are only effective. By embracing a data-driven mindset when it comes to sales content, sales enablement practitioners can better analyze the impact of content and play a critical role in surfacing business insights on what resonates best with prospects and customers.
Ensure Content Aligns to Executive Goals
For content to land effectively in the field, it’s important that it reinforces the messages and priority initiatives that reps are hearing from executive leaders. By aligning content to executive goals, sales enablement can help reps better understand not only how content can be used effectively, but also how leveraging content can help them achieve the goals passed down to them from the top.
Similarly, tying content to executive goals helps drive confidence and support from leaders for sales enablement efforts. In fact, the ability to secure executive buy-in on sales content efforts results in considerable business impact. When companies are highly effective in this area, they see a 5-percentage-point increase in rep quota attainment on average compared to those that are effective.
“We consult with sales leadership on what it is that the field absolutely has to know and needs to focus on,” said Adrian Vernon, director of sales enablement at Ivanti. “Wherever sales leadership thinks there is a gap, then we will…really hone in and focus on that, in addition to just trying to track that they’re going to retain everything from all the different engaging messages that we send out.”
By crafting and curating content that originates from defined business needs, sales enablement can help ensure that content resonates internally with leaders and reps so that it can then be landed more effectively with customers and prospects.
Tie Content to Tangible Results
Finally, the true sign of sales content maturity is the ability to correlate content efforts to tangible business results. While each of the previous phases are necessary building blocks to establish consistent content efforts that are aligned to the core objectives of the business, being able to demonstrate how content actually drives sales performance is essential to ensure that content efforts are fully optimized.
“The impact here is all about working together towards the customer journey, the customer path,” said Derupe. “I believe that’s how you get buy-in from the rest of your organization to help support you and to help support the greater organization.”
It is one thing to define metrics and another to show clear improvement against those metrics in communicating the impact of content efforts. When organizations are highly effective at proving how content drives tangible business results, they see win rates that are 12 percentage points greater on average than those that are only effective. Tracking and communicating impact is not only critical to ensure content is maximized to its fullest potential, but also in earning a seat at the table by proving enablement’s direct influence on key business objectives.
“There are a lot of things content can help you do,” said Oksana Walton, director of product marketing and sales enablement at Chef Software. “One is to convert your leads, another is to create thought leadership, and the third is to educate yourselves.”
Research shows that sales content maturity has an impact on core business outcomes such as win rates and employee engagement. As market needs continue to change and the sales environment becomes increasingly competitive, organizations need to be value-driven in their content efforts.
When organizations are value-driven in their content efforts, they report win rates that are 8 percentage points greater than those that are optimized and 15 percentage points greater than those that are reactive in their content practices. When content is organized, maintained and consistently updated, optimized with data, aligned to business goals, and tied to tangible results, sales enablement can better support reps with the right content to engage customers and prospects wherever they are in their buying journey.