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In the B2B industry, content is the cornerstone of marketing and sales. But the standard idea of nurturing leads through top-, middle-, and bottom-of-funnel (TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU) content isn’t always possible.
That’s where sales enablement comes in: it’s the process of providing your sales team with the information, content, and tools they need to sell more effectively. By using sales enablement, you have an unprecedented opportunity to make your sales activities more personalized and ultimately increase your bottom line.
Here we’ll talk about how to create the content that your sales reps need the most.
Why sales enablement?
Companies with sales enablement content and technology in place win 15% more sales. Needless to say, 15% more sales than your competitor is a pretty solid competitive edge.
And it makes sense. In the B2B world, sales don’t occur when a random searcher clicks on a link after an idle search on Google. B2B buyers are ardent researchers, and you can expect them to take their time to study your product and your value props, and evaluate alternatives before making a decision. In fact, a recent study revealed that an average B2B buyer consumes at least 13 pieces of content before making a purchase.
Having that content ready not only gives leads what they’re looking for—and sales teams the preparation they need—but it also helps you figure out what materials your prospects are interested in and what stage they’re at in their customer journey.
How to create the content your sales team needs
Sales enablement content usually comes in two main forms:
Content that speaks directly to leads or customers
Content that preps your sales team
Both content types benefit from hyper-targeting, so how do you determine what type of content to create? Here are some starting points.
1. Ask your sales reps
No one can tell you the pain points of your prospects and customers like your sales reps.
Here’s an example. In 2020, I worked with a SaaS company that was introducing a new electronic document management system. They wanted to introduce this new product to their clients and make them adopt it instead of Office 365, which they’d previously sold.
They brought me in as an email copywriter with experience in content marketing. I went ahead and wrote the copy you’d normally write to someone you want to cross-sell. But what I didn’t realize was that the clients I was writing to had their Microsoft accounts disabled without prior notification—they weren’t happy campers. I was able to get responses, but most of them came back with the same question: “Have you resolved your issue with Microsoft?”
This frustration can’t simply be cleared away with copywriting theories.
If I’d spoken to the sales reps first, they would have alerted me to this issue, and I could have crafted copy that would have taken it into account.
Bring your sales team in on content strategy sessions, and they can help guide you to the right type of content.
2. Use customer surveys
A lot of companies use survey tools to help drive their product and customer service, but it’s also a great way to understand what types of content would be appropriate for sales enablement. You’ll learn about your customers’ pain points and how your product helped resolve them. With all this information, you can determine your content core, where your product and your customers’ needs overlap.
You’ll also see what your customers don’t say—is there something about your product that doesn’t seem to be clicking? That’s a great opportunity to create content to help.
Plus, customer surveys can help you segment your content based on various factors. If you don’t have access to more advanced segmentation data, this is a great start.
3. Listen in on sales calls
Nothing reveals people’s real take on something like their voices and faces. Reviewing sales calls—or listening to them in real time—will allow you to pinpoint hesitations, enthusiasm, disappointment, excitement, and many other reactions.
You can then use this knowledge to prime your sales reps to be able to handle these conversations. They’ll better know what to expect, and they’ll have better preparation for dealing with a potentially negative aspect of your product (while you work on improving it).
4. Train team members on clear written communication
Your content marketing team is likely creating most of your sales enablement content. The problem: they don’t have all the insights. Everyone at the company, from the product managers to the marketers to the developers, has something valuable to add to the conversation.
The only way to bridge that gap and enable the content team to do their job is to highlight the importance of clear written communication across your company—and then encourage transparency so that ideas aren’t lost.
You might even consider offering a course as part of company onboarding that walks people through the process of communicating clearly across departments.
5. Invest in SEO
Evaluation of alternatives is a huge part of every customer journey. And these days, this happens mostly on Google, which means a good SEO strategy can help you establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
Here’s an example: whenever you Google “best [category] apps,” you likely get a Zapier site article on the first page, if not the first result. That means you start to associate Zapier with apps, and so when you decide to try automation, Zapier will stand out as you evaluate your options.
The race to get to the first page of Google is competitive, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few resources to help you focus on the right things:
Bottom line: you need to write consistently about your area of expertise, whether that means starting a sports site, writing about SaaS on your company site, creating a series of helpful crafting tutorials, or anything in between.
5. Go big on content repurposing
Customers don’t engage through just one channel. You need content that works for email, social media, site articles, pitch presentations, webinars, videos, and whitepapers—and even within your product.
Ross Simmonds, founder and CEO of Foundation, offers some excellent tips on how to turn one piece of content into several assets in this article. By repurposing your content, you’ll get the most out of your resources and be sure your sales reps can reach leads and customers wherever they are.
6. Leverage technology
Sales enablement content works best when it’s paired with sales enablement tools: tools built specifically to help your sales team do their job. Here are the kinds of things this technology can do:
Track customer behavior (in real-time and historically) and identify patterns
Automatically send content to the right people at the right time
Integrate with your CRM to gain even more insights
Train sales reps on best practices
Offer sales analytics so your team can make data-based decisions
With this technology and the right content, your sales team will be able to do their best work, and your business can thrive.
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