Aligning Content for Sales Enablement: 8 Simple Steps
Are you aligning content for effective sales enablement? For many, this might be at the bottom of the to-do list—if it’s on there at all. But the truth is it’s more important than most people realize.
In fact, sales content is one of the most important parts of your sales process. Think of it like the electricity in your office. If it’s working smoothly, you hardly notice—that’s just the way things are supposed to be. But if it’s not working, it can become a big problem.
Content enables sales the same way electricity enables your office to operate.
Great content, like electricity, provides the environment for your sales team to perform at the top of its game. Don’t let your top salespeople waste time keeping the lights on. To keep your sales team focused on clients, you need to build a content strategy that sets your salespeople free to do what they do best.
Supercharge Your Sales Content
Fortunately, you don’t need to be an electrical engineer to build an effective sales content system. To align content for sales enablement and free your salespeople to do their best work, follow these simple steps.
1. Create clear goals.
This seemingly simple step is often the most overlooked. Instead of letting your content curators continue to do what they’ve always done, they need to gain clarity about how their work aligns with your latest sales goals. Then, they need to craft and communicate their own objectives accordingly.
2. Decide who is responsible for what.
When was the last time you took a clear look at exactly what tasks are involved in creating, disseminating, and delivering content? In many organizations, so much attention is put on content creation that, sometimes, dissemination and delivery are taken for granted. Yet this is where many delays crop up. To get the right content in front of the right customer, you need to make sure you have a system that both marketing and sales can use to keep content from falling through the cracks.
3. Fit the content to your sales needs.
Most marketing content is built to attract new customers and educate them about the product. But what about content that can help sales connect with the customer and close the deal? This is what sales content is for. The key here is to create a process to surface sales’ content needs, map them to what you already have, and determine what new assets need to be created.
4. Ensure that content gets the right approvals before being used.
Mistakes in the world of sales content can really hurt your chances of growing your relationship with a customer—or worse, jeopardize compliance. First, the key is to have a failsafe system for version control, so that nothing in draft form accidentally makes it out of the building. Then, compliance processes need to be defined and followed. This way, your sales team can share with customers without worry (and everyone else can sleep a little easier, too!).
5. Create a process for seamless transitions between marketing and sales.
The biggest time-wasters in any sales content process happen when handoffs between marketing and sales don’t go smoothly. Most often, key objectives get lost in translation or salespeople feel they have to constantly spend time tracking down the right content. The best content delivery systems put the right content at anyone’s fingertips, right when they need it.
6. Put content into targeted playlists.
Sales content performs best when it is suited to the specific customer and situation at hand. But how do you target your content so precisely? The secret comes from the music world. Imagine organizing your sales content the same way you would organize your music for a specific mood or situation—with a playlist. Just as you would make a birthday playlist with great, feel-good songs, so, too, can you create content playlists that are tailored for different customer personas and stages, so your salespeople don’t need to worry about guessing what content is best to use on the fly.
7. Measure the impact of your investment in content strategy.
We all know that “what gets measured gets managed.” Many companies, even if they think of themselves as data-driven, still just throw money at their content strategy without seeing if it sticks. However, if you can measure the impact of your content on customers, you’ll have an easier time justifying your investment in the future.
8. Set up a process to improve content over time.
Once you know the impact of your content today, you can use the same data to continue improving your content against bottom-line results. In order to attain virtuous cycles of content success, you need an optimization process for harvesting and delivering performance feedback.
Can You Feel It?
If you truly want to empower your sales organization to achieve performance that’s electric, you need to make sure it has what it needs to succeed. It can sometimes seem like a small piece of the puzzle, but when the sales content system isn’t working, you can feel it.
All in all, content for sales enablement is a must-have, not a nice-to-have. Follow the above steps to make sure your sales content strategy works smoothly and allows your salespeople to focus more on clients and win more deals.