Customer Engagement: Only Relevant Content Can Move the Needle

Looking at sales enablement through the lens of the customer to drive customer engagement is crucial to success. I discussed in recent blogs why it’s important to align your enablement services to the customer’s path and why the foundational process alignment is a prerequisite to setting yourself up for success. If you missed those blogs, the reasons why, the related data points and simple steps for getting started, click here and here.

Today let’s see why this foundation is so important when it comes to driving customer engagement with tailored content services. (Click to tweet)

As a quick reminder, customer engagement covers the way organizations and their customer-facing professionals get in touch with customers along the entire customer’s path. Customer engagement can only be effective if all efforts are tackled from the customers’ perspective, from their customer’s path. That’s why I mapped out the essentials for you over the past two weeks. Additionally, we have to understand and consider buyer preferences.

To drive customer engagement in a holistic way, you should always have several areas in mind that are all connected to each other: content, training, coaching and – as a mirror to customer engagement – seller engagement. Let’s focus on content today.

The most effective practice is to effectively align content to the different phases of the customer’s path. The 31.5% of organizations that do that improved their win rates by 16.6%. (Click to tweet)

These numbers from our 5th Annual Sales Enablement Study (coming soon!) are encouraging compared to 2018, where only one-quarter of organizations leveraged the performance potential of this practice. In addition, the performance impact is 5.0 points higher this year – an interesting trend we will continue to observe.

Having your customer’s path mapped out and having your selling processes aligned to the customer’s path allows you to precisely tailor your content services to these different phases. In the early awareness phase, for instance, when buyers are analyzing the problem, its business impact and how to potentially tackle it, your content should help build a shared vision of success, how to get there and results that could be achieved.

As soon as you need content for the actual buying phase, the appropriate content is more specific, tailored to the problem you are trying to solve and focused on the customer’s desired outcome. In this phase, your solution plays a huge role, but always in the context of the problem to be solved and connected to the desired outcomes to be achieved. Additionally, content in this phase might be more competitively differentiating, depending on the market you are operating in.

The next practice – aligning content to the relevant buyer roles – is closely connected; 35.3% apply this practice and improve their win rates by 15.3%. (Click to tweet)

On one hand, the data is encouraging compared to last year’s study, as the percentage of organizations increased from one-quarter to one-third and was accompanied by increased performance.

On the other hand, in the age of the customer, tailoring content to the relevant buyer roles should be a no-brainer. Looking at the data from this perspective, it’s surprising that only one-third of organizations reported consistently and effectively applying this practice. That means in practical terms that two-thirds of organizations either don’t apply the practice or struggle with its proper implementation.

Most organizations completely agree with the importance of aligning content to the relevant buyer roles, but they struggle when it comes to designing, creating and providing tailored content this way. (Click to tweet)

Here are six steps to creating tailored content that drives customer engagement and sales results: (Click to tweet)

#1: Implement a proper foundation, and align your selling processes to the customer’s path. Check out my blogs from the past two weeks here and here, and apply the recommended steps to get there.

#2: Assess your content landscape, and create content clarity. Define content types and formats, and assess your content landscape. Then map your content services to the relevant phases of the customer’s path. If that’s not doable, you know that your content services are not tailored right now.

#3: Define your most relevant buyer roles. This requires collaboration with marketing and your sales force. Understand the roles that are approached by marketing and how, and understand what your sales force can share about its most important buyer roles. Focus only on the main roles for now.

#4: Develop buyer role profiles and related typical problems and relevant metrics. This step is about clearly understanding what the buyer roles are up to, their typical challenges that your organization can solve, key metrics that you can help them improve and how they tend to approach challenges.

#5: Design the specific value messages from a sales perspective. This is an essential step. It’s not enough to copy and paste marketing messages. A marketing message is a macro-message intended to reach many people in this role, whereas a sales situation is always a micro situation. Work with value messaging specialists, if needed, and include your sellers to get the messages right for the main phases of the customer’s path and your main buyer roles.

#6: Design content modules and leverage technology. Now it’s about bringing things to life, which requires a lot of architecture and planning, a solid value messaging framework and a content strategy. Theoretically, you can prepare your content for the customer’s path phases and then duplicate those content services for the relevant buyer roles. This approach requires a lot of maintenance. Another idea is to work with content or messaging modules and to leverage modern sales enablement content technology that can be of great assistance in providing modules sellers can easily put together with the exact content they need.

Effective sales enablement leaders know that creating and providing tailored and targeted content is one of the most challenging yet impactful enablement services. (Click to tweet)

Next week, we’ll discuss the need to develop connected training and coaching services to achieve the highest possible performance impact.

If you haven’t already, take a look at our book Sales Enablement – A Master Framework to Engage, Equip and Empower a World-Class Sales Force. It contains lots of valuable information, frameworks and approaches to make you a better sales enablement leader.

 

Questions for you:

  • What does your content landscape look like? What are the current design criteria?
  • Do you already have buyer role-specific content? If yes, is it tailored to customer’s path phases?
  • How would you consider investing in getting the content challenge sorted?

 
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