You’d be forgiven for thinking that content marketing stops with the marketing department. In truth, there are a number of ways that your content can make a significant splash beyond the boundaries of the marketing department within an organization.
One area of note that can have a huge effect is sales enablement.
What is Sales Enablement Exactly?
Before we dive deep into how to create sales enablement content, it’s best to start with defining exactly what sales enablement actually is. The best definition we could find comes from HubSpot:
“Sales enablement is the technology, processes, and content that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity.”
When you give your sales team the assets they need to educate prospects, succinctly answer their prospects’ questions, and break down barriers; you’re giving them more opportunities to increase the scope of their conversations and ultimately achieve more conversions.
Sales Enablement Content: What Does it Look Like?
The kind of content that can be defined as sales enablement content, can take several different guises, such as:
- Guest posts on outside publications
- Case studies
- Email campaigns
In fact, any form of content aimed at educating a prospect and the salesperson could be considered sales enablement content.
Quite apart from the content format, though, the most essential part is the actual delivery. That’s because sales enablement content doesn’t simply drop into one particular format; it’s content that literally enables your sales staff to perform better in their roles.
To achieve this, you need to focus on creating content that ticks the following boxes:
- Addresses the most common prospect concerns during the sales process.
- Provides education for your prospect about your business, processes, ROI, and the product or service itself.
- Readies the customer to become valuable to the business in the future.
- Offers vital information that your prospects can show to other decision-makers within their organization.
Aligning Your Sales & Marketing Strategies to Form the Enablement Process
Creating the content that will help your sales team achieve the above requirements means that the sales team needs to work closely with those creating the content in the first place. After all, how do you know what poses challenges to your sales team on a day-to-day basis if you don’t ask?
In these times we’re living in, it’s more important than ever that everyone can work together to form a productive working relationship. Frequent communication about the sales process can help align the sales team’s goals to those working on the overall marketing picture.
If you’re looking to unlock your content marketing’s true potential and give your sales department the right literature to work from, we’ve outlined a few ideas on how you can do just that below.
At Meet Hugo, we use Slack for internal communication, and each department from sales and marketing to tech and research each have their own channel.
While this seems like an obvious point, we also take the time to ensure that each team’s relevant staff members are shared into a central channel for each department.
This ensures that at least one person from every team is equipped with the knowledge they need to give their respective teams.
Also, by creating centralized channels just for important information, the sales team isn’t distracted by day-to-day messages between the marketing department, which aren’t relevant to them, for instance.
An excellent example of this working effectively is when a sales team member jumps onto the marketing channel and suggests a piece of content relevant to them. If this article is something the marketing team feels is appropriate, we can get it turned around quickly; otherwise, it’s added to our depository of ideas for future content.
We’ve also started putting sales queries to the marketing team through Slack. For example, when the sales team faces complicated questions from prospects, each team can access these conversations, leaving the floor open to suggestions and ideas on how to solve these queries.
“How about an article on…” is something the marketing team often hears from across the business, and even customers, occasionally. To help us manage these ideas, we use a simple Google Form that allows everyone in the company to submit their ideas whenever something pops into their head.
In addition to asking for an article summary from the person suggesting the topic, we also ask:
- Would you like to write the piece yourself?
- Why is this topic essential for us as a business?
- Is there any supplementary material we can add to our reading library?
By doing this, we’re ensuring that we’re putting together relevant topics to our business and our content strategy as a whole.
Sometimes the best way to learn is to throw yourself in at the deep end. By asking your marketing department members to shadow your sales team during a sales call, your marketers can gain vital, hands-on knowledge they would previously only have gained through someone else.
Encourage the teams to share recordings and sit in on calls whenever they wish; even better, make it a core part of the training process if possible, too.
This requires minimal effort from your sales team and is a good way for your marketers to gain intimate knowledge of the sales department’s obstacles.
All the ideas we’ve outlined so far are all very well and good, but if you can’t get your teams in the same room from time to time, they certainly won’t work as effectively. Generally, it’s a good idea to bring your teams together at least once a quarter, although admittedly that has been difficult over the past year.
During these innovation meetings, make the time to discuss prospects, performance, the sales process, and any future content ideas that make sense to the business’s direction.
To make this work to its fullest potential, ensure that each team is prepared with an agenda to ensure that the time spent together is as productive as possible. Even better still, a nominated moderator could collect questions before the fact to ensure that the group conversation remains on topic to yield the best insights.
Here are some questions that you could expect to hear from marketing to sales during these innovation meetings:
- “What questions are you getting asked frequently that are difficult to answer?”
- “What is the most common sales objection you’re hearing?”
- “What common questions are you getting from prospects during the sales process?”
- “What piece of content do you need that you don’t have already?”
- “How have you described the business and our offering that has resonated well with the prospect?”
Of course, none of these questions alone is likely to produce specific pieces of content then and there, but the answer to each of these questions gives the marketing team an idea of the experiences, obstacles, and achievements of a sales rep experiences on a daily basis.
Content Creation Process
When the time comes to utilize these gained insights, it’s best to allow the marketing team to run with it. After all, they will be better at developing these ideas, and they’ll be a lot more efficient at ensuring these new pieces are consistently in line with previous content.
However, do bear in mind that the sales team is on the front lines having the conversations each day, so they’re bound to have tons of helpful insight, advice, and feedback that can be incorporated into the content.
To do this, you may consider putting together a knowledge base. This can help you gather the most relevant, essential, and useful information quickly and efficiently. Put a series of questions to the sales team about the topic being created and use these insights to address the needs of the reader.
Every good marketer that knows their stuff, knows that even the very best content won’t do much good if there’s no one to read it! This applies to your sales team too, so it’s imperative to ensure that this content is easily accessible.
Have the marketing team create a schedule for regular social media updates and mailshots, with links to relevant content and a quick explanation about what each piece is about, so it can be accessed quickly.
It’s also super important that the very best content is stored in an area where it’s easy for everyone to access it periodically. One good idea is to create a resource bank, in which someone can manage the content as it’s created and filter it through to the top-class content into the resource library for the sales team.
This library certainly doesn’t need to be all bells and whistles. A standard Google Sheet with a list of those sales objections we mentioned earlier, in one column, and series of links to corresponding pieces of content to alleviate those pain points, in the next column.
That’s really as simple as it needs to be.
Content marketing is a potent weapon in your arsenal, and this power shouldn’t just be used to put out to external prospects, but it should also be used to empower internal sales teams in their quest to achieve the very best results.
Using these seven strategies, you can pull your teams together by giving your marketing team the brief to create better content catered to the needs of the sales pros; thus giving them more time to sell and less time scouring the internet for the answers they seek.
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