Why You Need a Sales Enablement Content Strategy

Imagine you have many cooks in the kitchen who all contribute to the menu. No doubt, you need a strategy and a solid plan to get things orchestrated across all cooks involved to ensure an excellent menu, on time and delicious. That’s what a chef usually does.

The challenge in sales enablement is the same. Many content cooks contribute to the content menu. We discussed last week that the content salespeople need comes from different functions. In fact, marketing creates only 33.8% of the content, while salespeople still create 20.7% (no customizing!). In addition, sales enablement (14.3%) and product management (15.9%) create content, as well as sales operations and legal (together 10.6%). For details, click here.

Now, what does a chef do? A chef begins with designing the menu to create an outstanding customer experience for their guests. Who does that in sales enablement? Who designs the content menu to ensure the best possible customer experience? Not many organizations have a content strategy in place. A content strategy defines the purpose of content, which goals content should help to achieve, and how content is designed, created and managed to support the strategy.

In our study, only one-third (32.7%) of organizations “agreed” they have a content strategy, 45.3% answered “neutral” or “agreed somewhat” and 22.0% were sure that they don’t have a content strategy in place.

Content in the sales enablement context covers all content services salespeople need to be as effective as possible along the customer’s path. Content services can be customer-facing, such as white papers, presentations, brochures, videos, references, or case studies and blog posts. Content services also cover internal content assets such as value messaging guidelines, playbooks, battle cards for competitive information, product bundling and design tools, and objection handling guides.

Now, let’s get back to the elements of a content strategy, in which target audiences, content purposes for different situations along the customer’s path, a content collaboration model, and a content creation process are all defined.

Make sure that you cluster content in customer-facing and internal enablement content, in content types (whitepaper, case study, reference, etc.) and formats (PowerPoint, Word, pdf, video, audio, etc.) Define the target audiences (buyer roles and industries, and the customer-facing roles in your organization).

Pay close attention to the purpose of content along the customer’s path. Is this a piece of content to help create a shared vision of success with the buyers at an early phase of their customer’s path, or is this a detailed product presentation that’s needed for a specific buyer role in the final stages before closing the deal? Make an assessment and map all your content assets to the customer’s path. Whenever there is no clear purpose of the content pieces, make the necessary adjustments. Content that’s not created for a specific audience and has no clear purpose won’t be effective. In addition, also include a formalized collaboration model (also here) in your content strategy and set up a content production process.

Having a content strategy drives performance: organizations with a content strategy achieved win rates of 55.5%, which is a difference of 12.2 percentage points compared to those without a content strategy (43.3%).

Also, compared to the average win rate of the study (49.5%), you can see a significant impact in both directions.

It’s worth mentioning that having no content strategy is the worst scenario, as it can leave organizations with win rates of 43.3%, which is 6.2 points below average. If you find yourself there, then you’ll achieve better win rates by gambling in Las Vegas. So, get started with your content strategy rather sooner than later!

Whatever the situation in your organization is, have a conversation with the other cooks in the content kitchen, assess your current state and create an overarching content strategy that covers the entire customer’s path.

Effective enablement leaders know that they own the responsibility to ensure that valuable, relevant and differentiating content for all defined audiences and all purposes along the entire customer’s path is available.

Stay tuned, we will discuss the impact of a content strategy on relationship levels next week. More details are included in our 2018 Sales Enablement Study!

If you haven’t already, have a look at our new book Sales Enablement – A Master Framework to Engage, Equip and Empower a World-Class Sales Force. Lots of “how to” information to address the challenges mentioned here.

Questions for you:

  • Who owns content (all the content salespeople need) in your organization?
  • Do you have a content strategy in your organization?
  • If not, are you going to develop one?


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