5 traits of powerful sales enablement content and how to create it
Think of enhancing a customer's buying experience or improving a sales rep's performance. What are the key driving factors that come to mind?
For most of us, it would probably be training our sales reps, buying expensive CRM software, or something similar that involves huge costs and a lot of resources. But there is one very powerful tool, which is also a lot more cost-effective, that we often overlook. That is sales enablement content. Effective sales enablement content can drastically change the performance of your sales team and improve the customer experience.
Not all your sales reps may be equally skilled at selling, but with the support of powerful sales enablement content, they can engage prospects better and eventually, close more deals.
For the customer too, having quality resources to learn about a product is a different kind of empowerment. According to Gartner's Future of Sales research report, 80% of B2B sales interactions will occur on digital channels by 2025, as buyers' preferences are shifting to a more seller-free sales experience. In such circumstances, sales enablement content will play a central role in the sales process to support digital self-service.
When something proves to be so critical to sales, it is important to invest the time in understanding what it is and how you can include it in your sales enablement strategy.
What is sales enablement content?
The purpose of sales enablement content is to warm your leads in the pipeline and take them closer to a conversion. Quite often you may find an overlap between your marketing content and sales enablement content. That is because sales enablement requires the collaboration of different teams including sales, marketing, product, and others.
Types of sales enablement content
Sales enablement content in every organization can be broadly classified into external content and internal content.
Internal sales enablement content
Internal content is the content that is to be used by your sales team to learn about a product, enhance their skills or improve their sales interactions. These could be market research reports, buyer persona documents, competitor analysis and battle cards, sales scripts, email templates, and more.
The aim of internal sales enablement content is to:
- Enable quick and easy onboarding of sales reps
- Improve productivity of sales reps
- Build confidence in their interactions with prospects by supporting them with the right resources.
External sales enablement content
External sales enablement content is all the customer-facing sales content. These resources help a prospect understand your product better and find out more about its use cases, benefits, how it compares with competitors, and so on.
External sales enablement content may include your blog, case studies, eBooks, product reviews and comparisons, how-to guides, explainer videos, sales decks, newsletters, etc. Your external sales content can be similar to the types of content in affiliate marketing. Or it could bear a resemblance to product-led content where the product is seamlessly woven into the narrative - usually in a case study, a tutorial, or similar content.
The aim of customer-facing sales enablement content is to:
- Aid customers' buying decisions
- Help them understand different use cases or see the product in action
- Provide value messaging at different stages of a prospect's journey
- Encourage quick action on the buyer's part
Irrespective of who you are creating sales enablement content for, there are a few key characteristics of effective sales enablement content that you should keep in mind.
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What are the 5 important traits of powerful sales enablement content?
For all types of sales enablement content, these are some common traits to stick to.
1. Less text, more visuals
Whether you're creating sales enablement content for your salespeople or for your prospects, it is essential to have more visuals in the content than text. For sales reps, it is easier to quickly scan through them and find answers, particularly when on a call with a prospect. For customers, it saves them a lot of time and serves them the key information right in front of their eyes - also making it easier to understand.
So it is important to include a lot of graphics, charts, tables, and images wherever possible. Not only will it break the monotony of text but also draw people's attention to the right points you want to highlight with the visuals. Make sure that you have a system in place to manage your digital assets to keep these visual aids safe and up to date.
2. Repurposed to fit the bill
Another important trait of good sales enablement content is that it is sourced from different business areas, including marketing, product development, and so on. Sales enablement content does not have to be created from scratch every time. Most times you will find that your middle- or bottom-of-funnel marketing content can serve the purpose in sales too.
But it has to be repurposed in a way that helps you achieve the objectives, which could be different for sales and marketing. For instance, say you are hoping to use a blog post on 'How to find the right keywords for your blog using this keyword research tool'. Instead of sharing the entire blog post with a prospect (which they might never read), you can repurpose it into an infographic highlighting the steps involved.
3. Accessible and available
The whole purpose of sales enablement content is to empower your sales team. This is why it is important that sales content is not buried under silos. In many organizations, the biggest challenge in sales enablement witnessed by sales personnel is searching and utilizing sales content. This not only makes the whole process more time-consuming but also creates unnecessary bottlenecks affecting their performance.
Up-to-date sales enablement content must be easily accessible to everyone on a shared platform. It should not be a reactive effort or an afterthought. Sales enablement content should be an integral part of the organization's overall content strategy.
4. Data-driven and fact-based
This is true for any kind of content a business creates, but all the more so for sales content. Your sales enablement content must be driven by facts. All claims that you make about your product or service should be backed by relevant data. It is important that your prospects can trust the content you are putting in front of them, which requires validation and proof. Only then can you expect to draw them closer to a purchase decision.
It is also important that your sales reps have this data at hand, through internal sales enablement content, to be able to provide valuable insights to a prospect. So make sure to include accurate numbers and figures wherever possible.
5. Customized and personalized
This might not be possible with all your sales content, but wherever it is practicable, it should be personalized for the prospect and their specific use cases or challenges. For instance, if you are creating a product demo or a presentation, it is best to demonstrate how the product can solve a problem that is specific to the prospect's industry. Or if the prospect has already expressed what their major pain points are, the sales content should show them how the product can address those pain points.
It does not take much effort to customize and personalize existing sales enablement content for prospects, but the returns you can get on this are very promising.
How to create and distribute effective sales enablement content
The content creation process for sales is very similar to creating marketing content. It involves research, ideation, creation, and repurposing. Here's a step-by-step guide to creating impactful sales enablement content.
Step 1. Plan and define your objectives
Like everything else in business, sales enablement content requires a solid plan and well-defined goals to be truly successful. You need to have a plan that answers key questions. For example:
- What kind of sales content do you want to invest in for the coming year?
- Who are your target personas?
- What do you hope to achieve with this content?
- How do you plan to measure the outcomes?
Set clear objectives for your sales enablement content, such as increasing sales productivity, assisting sales reps onboarding, learning, and development for long-term impact, etc. Think of any other areas that sales enablement content can improve for you.
During this initial planning stage, you should gather insights from your sales team about the challenges they face and which could be addressed by good sales enablement content. You also need to gather insights from customers on where they find a gap in resources for self-service.
This will tell you what kind of content you need to focus your efforts on.
Step 2. Create and distribute
Once the initial research and planning are done, you can get on to creating your sales enablement content. Creating sales enablement content will require inputs from different people in marketing, product, design, customer success, and other teams. You need to ensure that you have the right tool stack to enable such collaboration.
A content planning and creation tool like Narrato can be a great addition to your arsenal. It helps with content ideation, planning, creation, optimization, and more. It has a powerful AI content optimization tool that helps you create high-quality content with minimum effort and in half the time. Content calendars and Kanban boards help you plan your content and track progress across the workflow.
You can store all your sales enablement content under neatly organized folders on the workspace. You can also create custom templates for different formats of your sales content. All your team members can be added to the platform as users in different roles with custom access, so cross-functional team collaboration can be a breeze on Narrato. There are a host of other features like content briefs, advanced grammar and readability suggestions, SEO planning, and more, that you might find a good use for.
Content distribution and promotion
Content creation is not the end of it. You also need to distribute and promote this content effectively to ensure that it is used well. This means adding a common knowledge base to your sales stack so the whole team can access sales enablement content. Every time new content is added to this knowledge base, sales teams must be updated about it.
For external sales enablement content, you might often need to promote it on all marketing and sales channels, as part of an omnichannel sales strategy. For instance, if you published a very detailed case study on your blog, you need to promote it on social and through your newsletters. Having a social scheduling tool like CoSchedule or Sprout Social can be a good way to ensure that you don't miss out on social promotions.
Every time you create a piece, you can schedule a number of social posts for different platforms on these tools and create drip campaigns. This will make sure that your sales enablement content reaches the right audience at the right time, over a stretch of time, and you don't miss any good conversion opportunities.
Step 3: Repurpose and update
Creating sales enablement content is not a one-off activity but a continuous effort. Data keeps changing, products keep evolving and so do user preferences. Your sales enablement content has to account for these changes and must be updated regularly to provide maximum value.
You can also try to repurpose old content from time to time, instead of creating content from scratch. Most of the marketing content that an organization creates can be reused in sales. Marketing content generates leads and sales content aims at closing these deals. So there will always be some overlap that should be used to your advantage. Repurpose the marketing deliverables that you can to minimize effort and maximize outcomes.
Step 4: Analyze and optimize
Lastly, to determine whether your sales enablement efforts are paying off, it is important to analyze the outcomes.
For internal content, you might need to set your own metrics and sales KPIs. You will need to compare the performance of sales reps before and after the sales enablement content is made available. Are they able to close more deals than they did last month? Are they able to qualify more leads? Have customer reviews improved over the past month?
For customer-facing content, you can always use an analytics tool like Google Analytics. It will show you if the sales content is driving traffic to the relevant pages, or how many clicks your content has been getting, and so on.
This analysis of how your sales enablement content is performing will tell you what's working and what needs to be optimized further to drive the desired results. It is a process of continuous improvement which is essential for making the maximum impact with your sales content.
Content in sales often tends to take the back seat. But things are changing. Sales enablement has apparently seen a 343% increase in adoption over the last 5 years. And with this sales enablement content is gradually finding the recognition it deserves.
Businesses that are using sales enablement content to empower their sales teams are likely to achieve much better outcomes in the long run. Sales reps with the power of data and information in their hands can perform much better and help achieve revenue goals faster.
Keep these key traits we've mentioned in mind when creating sales content, and you are sure to see positive changes in productivity and performance sooner than later.
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Neelam Goswami is a content writer and marketer working with a leading content writing service - Godot Media. She has written for several reputed brands in the digital and content marketing space.