MS Outlook Add-On to Help Reps Improve Buyer Conversations

MS outlook Plugin

When enabling sales with content, having a central content repository is a great start. As we discussed in this post, a centralized app drives marketing and sales alignment and takes the guesswork out of content enablement initiative. Now your reps have a place to access this centralized content. But that is not enough.

Where are reps communicating with their buyers?

GSuite and Office 365 continue to be the two popular productivity suites in the business world. And Gmail and Outlook continue to be the popular email applications that businesses use for internal and external communication. Email continues to be a popular communication channel for reps to connect with their buyers. And it was obvious that reps preferred to have access to the marketing-approved trusted content in their email app to facilitate buyer-communication. This led us to build email add-ons for Gmail and Outlook. You can learn more about Enablix Gmail Add-On in a different post.

We recently launched our Enablix Outlook Add On with the objective of,

  • Improving rep productivity
  • Encouraging reps to share winning content with their buyers
  • Capturing buyer insights to inform the rep of buyer intent
  • Driving higher sales content engagement

Enablix is used as a central content enablement hub for sales and marketing. And with this Outlook add-on, we streamlined access to these content assets right from Outlook. In addition to the primary objectives we also considered other important factors when building this add-on.

Email add-on or in-app email

We knew from day 1 that content communication will be a big part of sales content enablement and something that we will have to support in our application. When our customers (marketing professionals) launched Enablix to their sales reps, we received queries on “how I can share this content with my prospects and buyers?” We had two choices:

  • Support email capability in our web application
  • Support plugins and add-ons for existing communication platforms

We knew that sales reps are not going to stop using their email app. And email is not just about the message. There is so much that goes into an email app – Signatures, Recipients, Formatting, Branding, etc. We did not want to dabble into these email features. Therefore, we prioritized developing plugins for existing communication platforms over building an in-app email capability. One can still use email feature within our app, but it is limited to internal communication.

This decision also meant that we were improving rep efficiency without the barrier of switching the app. Reps still used their email app but with the added advantage of access to trusted content to help them with their buyer conversations. And we expect that the ease of use and quick access to content is bound to increase sales content adoption.

In addition to email, we also support plugins and integrations for other communication platforms like CRM, Sales Engagement Apps, etc.

Make it easy for buyers to engage with content

We are operating in the world of buyer-led sales. This means, you have to remove barriers for the buyer to access and engage with your content. Sharing content assets as web links (a web-based representation of your content) versus attachments significantly improves the buyer content experience.

  • No Attachments: By sharing links, you and your buyer need not deal with file attachments.
  • Automatic Updates: Links make it possible to share latest winning content with your buyers. Reps need not worry about versioning and what is the latest and what is old. Links assure that buyers have access to the latest assets all the time.
  • Mobile Friendly: Links to web-based views of your content assets are more mobile friendly. Buyers can easily engage with web views on different devices.
  • Buyer Sharing: Buyers find it easy to share links with their colleagues within an account than pass around file attachments.

Learning from buyer content engagement

Quality content plays a big role in enabling your reps to be trusted advisors to their buyers. However, sharing quality content with buyers is only half of the puzzle. It is also important to inform reps about buyer engagement. After all, buyer engagement is a good indicator of buyer intent. Enablix informs reps when buyers engage with their content assets. This feedback loop helps reps gauge buyer interest as well as helps them build their own best practices on content enablement.

At a macro-level, marketing benefits from these learnings too. Marketing has visibility into which assets are performing better than others and can make data-driven decisions for future content investments.

Filtering out confidential and internal content

Reps need to be enabled with buyer-oriented content as well as internal-facing confidential content. Our blog post on best practices for enabling reps with confidential content covers this topic in fair detail. It is always a good practice to have a single central repository to meet sales team’s content needs. But centralizing access to content also requires extra diligence when it comes to internal and confidential content.

When developing the Outlook Add-On, we wanted to ensure that reps were not able to share internal-facing content with their buyers. To that effect, our Outlook Add-On, similar to our Gmail Add-On, leverages the metadata of the content assets to enable external links for content assets. This means,

  • Reps can only share links for those assets that are approved to be shared externally
  • Reps can still access internal-only content but there are not links to be shared for those assets.

By building a centralized content repository, marketing can streamline the content enablement process. But, the enablement lifecycle is not complete without simplifying the buyer-communication workflow. Enabling reps with trusted content in platforms where they communicate with their buyers is a big-step in this direction. We expect that our Outlook add-on helps sales reps enhance their buyer-conversations. And we plan to invest in additional email apps as well as other buyer communication platforms.

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