5 Essential Content Types for Sales Enablement

Charlotte Powell

Charlotte Powell Head of Creative at iPresent

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Enabling your sales team to do their job can be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. How do you provide them with the right tools for every situation?

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Are you providing the right content to your sales teams for every stage of the customer journey?

Odds are, the answer is “no”. A study by HubSpot found that only 9% of marketing content gets used more than five times — while 90% remains completely unused by sales. Whether sales teams can’t find it, or they don’t like it — that hard-won content isn’t getting into customer’s hands.

That’s a problem — because content is one of our best sales tools.

We all know that today, the salesperson is joining the customer journey later than ever before. Modern customers are going through most of the decision-making process without talking to anyone directly.

But that’s not to say customers are having zero contact with your company during that time. Their research will take them to your website, to your social media feed, to other forums and groups that you are involved with, perhaps to comparison or review sites — all places that you can fill with content.

And while it may be standard practice for marketing to take responsibility for this, it’s a mistake to leave sales out of the process. Here’s why:

  • Alignment — Sales and marketing need to be consistent in their messaging. It’s no good if customers are learning things that salespeople don’t know, or — worse — that salespeople later contradict!
  • Establishing a relationship — Allow customers to get to know your salespeople earlier in the game by putting out content from the seller. Whether it’s outreach pieces on third-party websites, blogs or videos on your website, or through posts and articles on social media, this early content can help fix your company and your people in the minds of your customers as a potential ally and partner.
  • Using sellers’ insight — Salespeople are in a unique position to provide insight into the content development process. Answering customer questions day in, day out, gives them a different perspective on the content they need and when they need it. So salespeople should be involved in the content creation process.

Now that you’re fired up with reasons to equip salespeople with great content let’s take a look at the best forms of sales enablement content.

1. A flexible pitch

PowerPoint is dead. Long live PowerPoint.

By which I mean, the old way of delivering presentations — of ten plus slides, ending with one that says “Questions?” — is dead. The software itself lives on and is better, more capable and more agile than ever. The trouble for many users is that we haven’t adapted at the same pace. Or rather, we’ve become so side-tracked by the gizmos that we’ve forgotten PowerPoint’s purpose.

Think about it. Why is your salesperson standing in front of the customer? To wow them with all that PowerPoint can do? No.

Salespeople need flexible sales presentations that they can tailor to individual customers; presentations that outline what you are offering to the customer. That means your salespeople need agile content that can be put together on the fly in response to questions from the customer — or — as the salesperson discovers where the customer’s specific need lies.

Creating piecemeal slide decks can be a challenge, but it’s one worth undertaking. Equally important to having the content, though, is helping your salespeople get the most from it. They need to know where to find it, what they’ve got, how to splice it together easily and – crucially – how to weave individual slides into a cohesive story. A Sales Enablement Platform can help you achieve the technical portion, while some focused presentation training may be necessary to gain the required storytelling skills.

2. Emails

Email templates are a double-edged sword. It’s useful to have a framework to work with to ensure consistency in tone and messaging — but dangerous to think a copy and paste approach is the most effective way to prospect.

In terms of enablement content, we recommend you think of the customer’s situation rather than their stage of the sales journey. For example, just because you’ve decided the customer is in the decision-making stage of their journey, doesn’t mean it’s time to send out the “decision making” email. You know the one — it usually includes the phrase “Just checking in…”

Instead, focus on their situation and provide content that they can identify with and that helps them to move forward. For example: “Last time we talked I remember you saying that X was a problem. I came across the attached article in our archives — it illustrates how company A was able to solve problem X with solution Y.” Or: “I know you said finance might take some convincing on this. We’ve put together this little fact sheet showing how much money you’re currently spending on X and what you could save with Y — hope it helps!”

Emails that add value are far more likely to get you a response than a virtual poke in the ribs.

3. ‘How to’, ‘why’ and ‘what is’ content

We often get so caught up in the selling process that we forget just how complicated buying is. The pressure is on to make good purchasing decisions — and with that comes a lot of questions.

There’s a strong chance your customers will be typing these questions into search engines long before they intend to start talking to salespeople, but you can still take the opportunity to begin building relationships. By providing easy to understand content — whether in the form of blog posts, videos or social media posts – that is bylined, presented or shared by your salespeople — you can help establish your sales team as the go-to knowledge source for your product/service.

Some of these questions will also come up later in the buying process, so it’s great to have content ready to go that your salespeople can not only share but can also take ownership of — further adding to their credibility as a resource.

4. Video testimonials

“I can’t afford video”, you’re thinking. Or “I don’t have the resources.” But the great thing about a video is that it doesn’t have to be that complicated.

Take your smartphone and a tripod to the next networking event where you’ll see happy customers and ask them to say a few words for you. It doesn’t have to be very long. It doesn’t have to be all that slick. Just a few words about the pain point your offering solved can be very useful for salespeople looking to close a deal. They can use that content online and in person, giving customers the social proof they need to feel confident in moving forward with the purchase.

Of course, written and aural testimonials are also valuable — use those too, if you can — but video feels particularly credible.

5. Case studies

Just like testimonials, case studies are great providers of social proof. Someone else used your offering and it worked. But in a case study, you can get into more detail, insert more grit, make more of a story of it than you can with a testimonial.

Sadly, a lot of companies miss the mark on this. They seem to believe that a case study is just a couple of paragraphs (or pages!) of product description bookended by a very few customer details. This is not enough. It’s not even interesting. Your prospects have looked at your product details already – what they want to know now is if your product could work for them based on their specific circumstances. They want to see their situation in your case study.

A case study should therefore include:

  • Some basic details about the customer’s company.
  • A good description of the challenges the customer was facing.
  • How/why they came to choose your solution over others.
  • How you implemented your solution (installed/rolled out/etc.)
  • Any challenges faced during this process.
  • The immediate and broader impact of making this change.

It’s worth noting that case studies can be anonymous if your customer prefers their name kept out of it. But it has to be detailed and credible.

Case studies can be shared in person, used for conference presentations, trade publications, online content for your website, outreach content for third-party websites, or emailed as per the example above – “I saw this and thought of you.”

Do you have all these content types in your arsenal? Do your salespeople know where to find them and how to use them? Hopefully, these pointers will help you organize your content in a way that better enables your sales team.

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