Not too long ago, the idea of sales enablement content or general sales enablement was not on the radar of most organizations. Nor were executives or salespeople that concerned with enablement content either.
The focus was on pitching the product or service, email prospects, and constant follow-ups until sales would negotiate or close a deal. Then something happened in the workplace: social media became unavoidable.
For most B2B companies, when the internet and social media revolutionized the game, those older tactics lost their edge.
Customers, prospects, and audiences expect more from your organization when it comes to the sales process. This means more personalization, actually listening to their needs, and providing value over bluntly pitching to try to get a quick sale.
The general expectation is increasingly that sales reps should build relationships with prospects by using intelligent value-added enablement resources.
At the very least, enablement content starts conversations, subsequently building trust and we all know: trust affects deal size for the bigger!
Sales enablement is about giving your salespeople the information, content, and tools they need to sell more effectively: to increase pipeline, win rates, and deal sizes. But, this content is also effective for people outside of your sales department too.
What is Sales Enablement Content?
As you probably can tell from the definition and process, sales enablement content is the information your sales team needs to be able to connect with potential buyers and also drive urgency to drive potential sales.
Generally, sales enablement content doesn’t focus only on attracting buyers, enablement content moves current prospects further down the sales funnel.
Awareness content is typically what marketing will create at a high-level to drum up more interest.
And while you might think sales enablement content is primarily for external use, it actually can help new sales employees, your marketing team, and for current customers to stay informed.
Additionally, there will be content that is strictly for internal use only and will not be used for public consumption or during sales calls. Think of things like email templates, sales strategy playbooks, or a particular sales process.
The Difference Between Marketing And Sales Enablement Content
This might sound like it’s the same as marketing content a bit, right?
But as alluded to in the previous section, marketing content is more focused on attracting potential buyers to start becoming familiar with the brand, engaging, and maybe reaching out to learn more.
Naturally this is a highly important piece to helping build a sales funnel, but that’s not the same as sales enablement content.
Sales enablement content is not created to attract new buyers, it exists to convince the leads and prospects to choose this product or service over other offerings.
So this means the content is highly focused on educating prospects the value your company will bring to them and how your solutions address their pain points.
Fundamentally marketing and sales content serve different objectives. But your teams need to work together to ensure they have all the necessary content for every stage of the buyer’s journey and beyond.
When sales and marketing teams are aligned, Marketo discovered leads are 67% more likely to become clients.
There are a few ways to ensure marketing and sales teams can be aligned on the sales enablement content efforts. Here are three I find valuable:
- Have a recurring feedback process: most of the time, it will be your marketing and design teams creating the assets and content your sales team will need. There should be a process in place for this material to be reviewed, feedback to be provided, what additions might be needed, etc. This also goes with content already being used, sales should share how prospects are interacting with existing resources and what shortcomings new enablement resources could cover.
- Set-up a weekly meeting: Conditional on the size of your company, it might be bi-weekly or some other cadence. But there should be a recurring meeting where sales and marketing can share what they are working on, content needs, and any info each side needs from one another. Alignment is key between these two teams.
- Use your employee advocacy program: If your company is using an employee advocacy program, marketing and sales should be actively using it. Besides having content easily accessible for sharing, it allows employees to internally comment, tag others, and leave feedback. This could be a main piece to your feedback process. And it keeps other employees informed of all the great content your teams are creating, and gives them a chance to share as well.
The Best Types of Sales Enablement Content
I don’t want to spend too much time on all the types of sale enablement content. At this point, you’ve probably seen it all and understand what will be valuable.
But just so we are on the same page, here’s a few types of content you’ll want in the sales arsenal:
- Competitor analysis and info
- Market research
- Case studies, customer stories, customer quotes
- Educational blog posts
- eBooks and other detailed guides
- One-pagers with quick info
- Short form video
- Sales scripts and email templates
- Internal sales training materials
- Product and service sheet
- Content for social media (images, gifs, video)
- Data, statistics, and reviews
- Podcast episodes speaking to your brand
Why this Content Type Matters Beyond Your Salespeople
Let’s be honest here, this is probably why you came to this blog post right?
Hopefully you still got some value from above, but you’re probably wondering why this content matters beyond just your sales team.
And before we dive in, sales enablement content is highly important for your sales people. That won’t change anytime soon and it is a must for any modern sales process.
But while marketing will typically create enablement content and sales will typically use it for prospecting, any employee should have access to reading and even sharing this content. Why?
Keeps all employees more informed
Even though your company’s sales enablement content is to help drive prospects down the sales funnel, it also serves as an educational tool for all employees.
When employees understand the product or services, they are more connected to their company.
And employees of all different areas of the business should have a strong idea of what your company does, what they represent, and the pain points they solve for customers.
It’s been shown that more informed employees outperform their peers and 85% of employees said they’re most motivated when management offers regular updates on their company (Trade Press Services).
Businesses who have highly engaged employees are able to bring in 21% more profit than those who do not. (Rise People)
Employees become an extension of sales
If your company is using an employee advocacy platform (hint: it should be), employees outside of your sales department become social sellers.
No, that doesn’t mean they are all sales experts or intentionally looking at the content as sales material. Nor does it mean that everyone will be stepping on your sales team’s toes!
Rather, when everyone has access to various sales enablement content, they can help share to their social networks and engage new potential prospects.
Thus putting your brand and product or services in front of a wider-span audience. This auxiliary assistance only aids sales reps’ journey to engage prospects on social media. No one’s toes get stepped on.
That said, not all sales enablement content is appropriate for all employees to have access to share either, but a good portion would be perfect for non-sales people to engage audiences with.
Material like market research, product or service reviews, educational content, ebooks or guides, videos, and data or statistics.
When it comes to social selling, the medium (of social media) is the message, not the messenger.
At least at the top of the funnel, prospects don’t care if a non-salesperson is advocating for something that they the prospect are in the market for.
In fact, sometimes a normal employee showcasing value-props of a product or service can be more trustworthy. When a prospect engages however, that’s when the pros, the sales team, can step in and take the reins.
Social sellers attract 45% more opportunities than their peers, are 51% more likely to achieve quotas, and outsell their non-social counterparts 78% of the time. (Source)
Opens the doors for more feedback and collaboration
While marketing teams may be the gatekeeper of content and working with sales, employees outside of those departments can add some serious value.
As they are sharing and engaging with sales enablement content, they may also have ideas that will help sales teams move prospects down the sales funnel.
After all, sometimes the best ideas come from outside the marketing or sales department. By definition, “out of the box” insights arrive from an oblique perspective, so be receptive to inter-departmental engagement with social selling initiatives.
Additionally, for those employees who may actively be sharing content to their social networks, they’ll be able to monitor engagement, results, or any comments on the content.
This can also provide valuable insights as to what people may be needing or content they want to consume.
And lastly, fostering engagement outside of sales on socially-embedded sales enablement content will only give it more algorithm love, which will only give your services-products-solutions more exposure.
Needless to say, an employee advocacy platform tees up this exact interdepartmental collaboration for sales teams looking to dominate the social arena.