Content marketing is a tool that should be used to smooth every stage and touch point of the customer journey.
Sales enablement content is ultimately designed to help sales move leads down the sales funnel toward conversion. It is the practice of creating every and any content asset salespeople may need on this journey to counter pain points and sales objections.
For B2B marketers used to speaking directly to leads and customers — albeit through words, images or film — this is not the easiest mindset shift. Yet, when done right, it can have a hugely positive impact on sales figures and sales cycle length.
With this in mind, here are four common sales enablement content mistakes.
Failing to Think Beyond Customer-Facing Content
When tasked with creating sales enablement content, marketers commonly go straight to assets that allow them to speak directly to the consumer.
However, in sales enablement, marketers must move away from the mindset that tells us our only channel to communicate with the customer is online. Sales reps frequently call, directly email, or meet with leads in person — in this case, the sales reps are our channel.
This means that a huge part of sales enablement involves providing the sales team with assets that will make it easier for them to sell. It’s less about speaking directly to the lead yourself, and more about improving the interactions the sales rep will have with them.
So what types of content should marketers be producing to support sales staff?
In addition to lead gen content and sales collateral, work with the sales team to create sales scripts, presentations and quick reference sheets. Write social media posts and messages, and put together email templates. Provide your sales team with bite-size, easy-to-understand information around your own brand, as well as the companies they’re looking to sell to. Finally, put together persona documents and competitive research and analysis documents that highlight your own value proposition, as well as your rivals’ strengths and weaknesses.
Not Linking the Content Strategy to the Sales Funnel and Customer Journey
Many marketers view sales enablement content as a separate entity to their overall content strategy. Too often, this type of content means simply responding to a sales rep’s request for new case studies and then never thinking about it again. However, sales enablement content should be built into the overall content strategy to ensure the customer journey is as seamless as possible.
Your strategy should be built around the customer’s journey through the sales funnel. Walk through this journey with a member of the sales team, and discover any and all touch points between the lead and the sales rep, and the lead and your company. Then plan out the content that will ease that journey every step of the way.
For example, you may start by producing lead generation content to gather contact information from potential customers. If the next step is an email from a sales rep, craft a perfectly optimized and A/B tested template for this exact situation.
The lead has now agreed to a call? Great — furnish the sales rep with a script. Add to this a resource sheet full of vital facts and stats around your industry, both businesses and their competitors. After the call, your sales rep may want to provide customer-facing case studies, visuals and company information to the potential client via email. For in-person meetings, put together presentations and customer-facing print sales collateral.
Overlooking Repurposing Opportunities
Creating sales collateral should be an ongoing effort. Getting it right takes time, energy and creativity. Yet both sales and marketing teams are often time-poor.
With this in mind, marketers should delve into opportunities to repurpose existing content and internal documents as sales enablement content.
First, flag up existing content that aligns with specific questions and sales objections commonly presented by leads. Look at which content assets could be useful at various touch points along the client journey. Is the content fine to use as is or should it be repurposed? For example, a series of blog posts may be more effective when combined into an ebook.
Trawl through internal documents too, like communications surrounding your brand mission and comparison to competitors. Of course, internal documents will always need transforming before being presented to customers, and it’s essential to get sign-off from senior management to share this information.
Ultimately, repurposing content will save you time, save your company money, and see your sales enablement content production rate rocket. This leaves your sales team with a huge amount of content to choose from.
Going It Alone
Sales and marketing have historically been siloed. With companies increasingly implementing marketing departments, the two functions are slowly becoming more agile and intertwined — and collaboration on sales enablement content makes all the difference.
Sales reps need to be able to ask the marketing team for the content they need, whether that’s evergreen blogs or industry-specific case studies. And marketers need to be able to gain insight into their customer base that only sales reps will have. Sales reps are the ones in meetings, taking phone calls, and listening to sales objections and pain points. Utilizing this expert insight will ensure your content is as effective as it possibly can be.
A lack of collaboration between sales and marketing may lead to sales reps trying to produce content themselves. This takes sales reps away from what they’re best at, while marketers would likely produce a much higher quality of content — it is their job, after all.
Marketers should plan their sales enablement content in collaborative meetings with sales teams to find out their own needs and pain points. Ask them where the gaps are in the sales funnel. Involve them in the process, and ask for their feedback. Then experiment with and adjust the content based on this feedback.