Decentralize Content Creation Without Giving Up Control

Content is important in today’s marketing and sales efforts. And marketing is already taking care of the top of the funnel content to drive inbound leads, leverage SEO benefits and drive traffic to the website. However, content is also needed in the middle and later stages of the sales funnel.

  • Increasingly SDRs (Sales Development Reps) are relying on content to engage and nurture prospects
  • Sales need content to help drive their opportunities from qualification to close serving different content assets through the buyer’s journey.
  • Customer success teams depend on content to keep customers updated and create growth opportunities.

Interestingly, not all the content needed by frontline revenue teams is coming from marketing. In a study conducted by CSO Insights in 2018, they found that only one-third of the content that is needed by salespeople along the entire customer’s path comes from marketing. There are other groups that are key content contributors to drive the pipeline and win deals.

When different groups are contributing to the content needs of salespeople, it is important that consistency and clarity are maintained through the enablement process. Whether marketing likes it or not, the sales team is going to look at marketing to meet their content needs. This is where a sound sales enablement practice led by marketing can make a big difference. We have earlier talked about the benefits of consolidating access to content for the revenue teams. And when consolidating access, marketing should consider the broader content needs of the salespeople and not limit themselves to marketing-created content.

Therefore, it is important that your enablement process goes beyond consolidation and makes it easy for other constituents within your organization to contribute content to help revenue teams. Democratizing the content contribution is key. When marketing is looking to democratize content contribution, there are some important factors to take into consideration.

Formalize the Process

Marketing should formalize the process of content contribution. They should get buy-in from the key stakeholders from different groups within the company. We should remember that these groups are already doing the work. They will welcome a formal process where their contributions are quantified and they get credit for their efforts. So there should be little resistance to formalizing the process.

Exercise Quality Control

In today’s world, organizations are evolving more frequently and with this evolution, we see tweaks and updates to messaging, market positioning, and branding. Therefore it is important that content supplied to the salespeople is consistent and aligns with the overall corporate strategy. When different groups are contributing content to drive enablement there is a risk of inconsistent messaging and compromising content quality. Marketing is in the best position to exercise quality control and make sure that the content is

  • correctly branded
  • on message
  • consistent across the board

This means marketing reserves the right to approve or disapprove content contributions from other groups. Formalizing this process and sharing it with everyone involved helps exercise quality control. Contributors understand that this is not personal and the reason behind the in-place approval process.

Measure and Share

It is important that marketing not only measure the different attributes of this content contribution process but also establishes a regular cadence of sharing these metrics with the involved stakeholders. Here are some important metrics to measure and their benefits.

  • Who is contributing content? – When contributors see their name on the board, they feel motivated to contribute more. This also creates a healthy competition within different groups to support the higher enablement purpose.
  • Sales Engagement on Content – It is important that contributors see how their contributions are helping sales. Without this feedback loop in place, contributors are likely to stop contributing quality content. This process also highlights why content quality is critical.
  • Content Coverage – The coverage of available content versus content gaps highlights where additional content investments are needed. This tells contributors how they can align their content to the sales needs and not just randomly create their content.

 

Minimize Sales Barriers with a Winning Content Management Strategy

Uncover Why Sales Enablement Industry is Expected to Grow to a $5 Billion Industry

Have you ever wondered what you could buy with five billion dollars?

A pro sports team or two, your own island, perhaps a castle, or maybe even the White House. Any of these purchases would still leave you with plenty of cash to burn. $5,000,000,000 − that’s a lot of zeros!

Let’s apply this figure to the virtually untapped sales enablement market. While we’re not exactly sure what the future of sales enablement will bring, one thing is certain.

We are at the cusp of a revolutionary change in B2B sales.

The current market size of sales enablement technology now stands at $780 million. And according to Aragon Research, this figure is expected to grow to a whopping $5 billion by the year 2021. Why now and maybe more importantly, what is driving this nearly unprecedented growth spurt?

Many small-to-medium size businesses (SMBs) are trapped in a world of outdated technology and tools. However, with the recent increase in IT budgets, the market is ripe to invest in solutions that will improve productivity, enhance efficiency and have a positive effect on revenue.

A recent study by Insidesales.com found that, on average, a salesperson spends less than half (35.2%) of their time on revenue-generating activities. The question then becomes, what is occupying nearly 65% of their time? Aside from administrative tasks, reps spend a great deal of time preparing for sales calls.

In fact, International Data Corporation (IDC) − a global market intelligence firm − estimates that salespeople spend 7 hours per week searching for content. That’s nearly one complete business day per week, per each of your sales reps.

A quick calculation will give you a good idea of the money spent on non-revenue generating activities. With sales productivity being a challenge for most B2B companies, incorporating sales enablement is fast becoming a priority among SMBs.

The Unfolding Future of Sales Enablement

Although a relatively new term, sales enablement has been around since the advent of sales. Because there are nearly as many definitions of sales enablement as there are sales enablement vendors, many remain puzzled about what it is, what it does and the benefits they can receive.

The most basic definition describes sales enablement as an enabler of sales. What does that really mean?

CSO Insights defines sales enablement as:

A strategic, collaborative discipline designed to increase predictable sales results by providing consistent, scalable enablement services that allow customer-facing professionals and their managers to add value in every customer interaction. 

Gartner®, leading research, and advisory company, describes sales enablement as:

The activities, systems, processes, and information that support and promote

knowledge-based sales interactions with clients and prospects.

Although these definitions vary to a degree, there is a common denominator − interaction with prospects and customers.

When you dig a bit deeper, sales enablement is the umbrella term for numerous categories, including technology, training/education, processes, people, content management, knowledge management, asset management and more.

However, the single most important benefit of sales enablement is in its ability to help you close more deals and drive revenue. And this is achieved by providing customers and prospects with an exceptional customer experience during every interaction.

Although the name − sales enablement − may imply that the users and beneficiaries are salespeople, the reach is much broader. Designed to bridge the gap between your sales strategy and its execution, sales enablement provides the tight intersection needed between sales reps and marketers.

For example, marketing is tasked with creating impactful content, generating and nurturing leads at the base of the funnel, ensuring consistent messaging and branding and managing the content, including removing decaying material.

When marketing and sales priorities and strategies aren’t in sync, content may be created that is not needed, forcing sales to create their own which may not align with current messaging or branding, or worse decayed content is shared with prospects and customers.

Sales enablement empowers sales and marketing to work in close collaboration to seamlessly interact with buyers throughout the entire customer journey to win more deals.  

Sales Enablement, the Future is Now

Businesses have always been on the lookout for ways to improve efficiencies and sell more. What has changed is the sophistication of the technology that allows customer-facing employees to communicate their offering’s value in a more compelling and consistent manner.

For example, artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way into SMBs, providing marketing and sales with additional efficiencies and helping them to increase their productivity.

By supplementing sales and marketing member’s knowledge and insights, this powerful machine learning technology aids in the identification of content needed, suggesting the right content, at the right time, for the right buyer persona.

By improving the customer experience, starting with the very first interaction, sales reps are positioned to create and build the type of trusting relationships that boost profitability.  

Sales enablement use to be considered a non-essential function to the financial health of SMBs. This is no longer true. It’s progressed from ‘nice to have’ to a necessity.

Businesses that have incorporated sales enablement are leapfrogging the competition, closing more deals faster and enjoying increased profitability.

Not All Sales Enablement Solutions are Created Equal

As one of the few vendors that invest in marketing efficiency, as well as sales enablement Enablix delivers a powerful solution that enables marketers to share, track engagements and manage content and decay from a central source.

Throughout the buying journey and customer lifecycle, your reps require an array of content that includes traditional sales material such as sales decks, data sheets, brochures, customer success content, white papers, etc., as well as content created by others within your company.

The Enablix platform provides a single source of all your trusted material for efficient and effective sales enablement, digital asset management, knowledge management, and content management.

Don’t be left behind, join countless other SMBs on their journey to improved profitability. Download the Minimize Sales Barriers with a Winning Content Management Strategy guide to learn how sales enablement can conquer one of the most overlooked, but easily resolved issues.

Minimize Sales Barriers with a Winning Content Management Strategy

How to Build Brand Trust with Content Marketing

Fostering a trusting relationship with your prospects and building on the trust gained during the purchasing journey may be one of the most important aspects of your revenue generation plan.

Although it may sound a bit vague and perhaps even unattainable, gaining and keeping customer trust is a multi-dimensional nurturing approach that, when done well, delivers untold benefits.

What does this really mean and how do you achieve it?  This article will show you how to build brand trust with content marketing.

First, you need to keep in mind that some potential buyers are entering the purchasing journey already skeptical.

They may have had a bad experience with a vendor that left guarantees unfulfilled, resulting in costly solutions that didn’t perform as promised. Or inaccurate and inappropriate content was shared, causing misinformation and distrust.

Knowing your prospects, their pain points and having a methodical content management strategy that answers their questions are the first steps to establishing yourself as a trusted advisor and an industry thought leader.

How much importance do buyers put on trust when making purchasing decisions? According to The State of Sales 2017 report, 39% of respondents ranked trust as the single most important aspect of closing a deal.

This ranking surpassed financial considerations, with return on investment (ROI) at 33% and price just 13%. Building the credibility that inspires trust and ultimately revenue generation starts with the content you share.    

The Cornerstone of Trust − Content

Buyers need to make the most informed purchasing decisions possible. Your part in the equation is to educate.

This is more about sharing material that shows you understand their concerns and challenges, rather than providing content that focuses on promoting your business or the newest widget you are selling.

The content you share needs to position your company as a valuable and trustworthy resource. A resource that is truly invested in helping them resolve their pain points.

“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”

Andrew Davis, Author, and Keynote Speaker

If you’re like the majority of B2B businesses, you most likely have an abundance of content. Care needs to be taken that you don’t overwhelm prospects or customers with an ongoing bombardment of material.

This approach has the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve. It will negatively reflect on your ability to accurately resolve their issue, make you appear to be the opposite of an industry thought leader, and position you as less than trustworthy.

When making purchasing decisions, do you know the value that content plays in choosing a vendor?

According to The State of Sales 2017 study, over 90% of respondents revealed that they are more likely to consider a brand’s products or services when content shared is relevant to their role in the decision-making process.

This report also highlights the importance placed (nearly 100% of those surveyed) on the vendor having a clear understanding of their business needs.

Putting the most appropriate content into the hands of the right buyer persona at exactly the right time will not only help you convert more prospects but will enable you to retain the customers you already have − a win-win scenario for you and your customers.

From the customer’s perspective, they avoid the time-intensive task of searching for a new vendor. You retain hard-earned customers, where investments in time and money were already made.

It’s a well-documented fact that it costs at least five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a current one. The content you share with customers is just as important as the material provided during the buying journey.

Throughout the customer lifecycle, your content can play a vital role in helping you boost retention rates, turn customers into brand advocates and increase profitability.

Bring your content management strategy to life

Enablix delivers hyper-targeted and contextualized recommendations, ensuring sales and marketing are sharing the right content, at the right time, with the right buyer personas. Take for example the following three use cases:

  • Winning content: Based on previous successful outcomes of a variety of material shared, Enablix pushes hyper-targeted content such as case studies, analyst reports and customer references to sales reps, helping to position them as trusted advisors and accelerate deal closures.
  • Re-engage cold prospects: When a prospect goes cold, Enablix turns up the heat. Its recommendation engine identifies stalled deals and suggests relevant content, including analyst or press mentions, white papers and product launch announcements to move the prospect to the next phase in the buying journey.
  • Competitive stories: Whether competing with a rival vendor or an internal decision-maker that prefers one of your competitor’s products, Enablix takes the guesswork out of how to overcome competitive challenges. Enablix helps companies, like yours, establish a competitive intelligence framework and execute it for positive pipeline outcomes. Relevant story content that can help your reps overcome objections include winning against an incumbent competitor, how to respond when competing with a prospect’s internal IT department, and taking the sting out of price negotiations.  

With easy integration to your existing tools and apps, sales and marketing have quick access to the material they need.

This single source of trusted content helps you rise above the competition. It positions you as an industry thought leader and builds trust in your brand, enabling sales to close more deals faster.

Want to know more? Download the Minimize Sales Barriers with a Winning Content Management Strategy Guide for a deep dive into how your content can be the key to building trusting and profitable relationships.

Minimize Sales Barriers with a Winning Content Management Strategy

Five Steps to a Successful Sales Enablement Strategy

It’s the end of the day and your most successful sales rep needs the latest competitive information to counter claims made by one of your rivals.

After spending countless hours searching for the material, he contacts marketing − only to learn that the content he desperately requires doesn’t exist. Sound familiar?

Meant to work in unison to drive revenue, sales and marketing can be described as two sides of the same coin.

One developing the content reps need to progress prospects through the buying journey, and the other using the material to help build the kind of relationships that seal the deal.

If that’s the case, why the discrepancy between the assets needed and what marketing creates? The short answer − lack of a sales enablement strategy that tightly aligns sales and marketing.

Let’s take a look at some stats that drive home the need for a sales enablement strategy.

Did you know that, on average, only 33.8% of content is created by marketing?

And that’s not all.

A whopping 70% of marketing content is never used by sales, and up to 65% never reaches customers or prospects.

Where does this misalignment leave B2B companies? Unfortunately, more often than not, the end result is missed revenue.

Take the guesswork out of sales enablement

In today’s digital world, where initial purchasing research takes place online, prospects expect fast, personal and accurate responses. To ensure sales reps are able to quickly respond they need easy access to the right information, at the right time.

While most companies have a plethora of content, if reps need to sift through more than one app or site before finding the right material − it’s too many!

This type of content chaos results in numerous sales enablement barriers. For instance, the time reps waste searching for content… instead of selling. Then there’s the chance that new and decaying content is intermingled, increasing the likelihood of sending customers dated material. And of course, the reliance on marketing to help locate content that results in inefficiencies for both sales and marketing.

To drive efficiencies and improve closure rates, sales enablement strategies are increasingly being prioritized by SMBs. Sales enablement is more than a 21st-century buzzword. It’s the glue that aligns marketing and sales to deliver efficiencies for both teams. It drives more successful buyer engagements throughout the sales funnel by enabling the type of effective selling that provides measurable results.

While the primary goal of any sales enablement strategy is to equip reps with what they need to maximize every opportunity, there are different routes to accomplish this initiative, as well as additional benefits that can be realized from a well thought out and implemented sales enablement strategy.

A successful sales enablement strategy consists of five steps that can transform the company and deliver a competitive advantage.

Step 1: Partner with an industry leader

Sales enablement should not be considered a one-and-done project. Staying relevant in our fast-paced digital environment means companies must change to meet the growing and dynamic needs of its customers.

Although better sales enablement is the goal, knowing who the buyer is and what they desire is at the heart of every sales enablement strategy. This means that your sales enablement strategy and its underlying technology must be able to quickly evolve and grow to meet changing requirements.

Getting it right the first time and achieving optimal results over the long term requires a partner that is focused on sales enablement, digital asset management, and knowledge management.

Easy set-up and integration to existing marketing and sales platforms, ease-of-use, scalability, and flexibility should be the foundational building blocks of the product for fast onboarding, easy adoption, and quick modifications.

Step 2: Align sales and marketing

To build a collaborative environment, the strategies of your marketing and sales teams must be closely intertwined.

This level of alignment needs to take into consideration virtually every aspect of the two groups, including objectives, goals, processes, strategies, and prioritization. When marketing has insights into sales initiatives, target buyer personas and the buyer journey they are better equipped to create the right assets for each stage of the cycle.

And by arming sales reps with a single source of trusted content, they are able to build the type of expertise and credibility that results in more opportunities and ultimately more sales.

Step 3: Remove sales barriers

To be successful, sales reps need a wide range of content for both external use, including collateral, presentations, infographics, etc., and internal consumption such as playbooks, competitive analysis, research, etc.

A single source of all trusted content ensures reps have quick access to the most relevant material when they need it, enabling them to stay focused on their primary objective − selling.

When you add fast and easy search capabilities into the mix, reps are able to quickly locate the right content and have confidence that the material they downloaded is not only the most relevant but the most current.

Step 4: Ongoing training and communication

To ensure wide adoption and continued success, training, and communication needs to be an ongoing effort.

Your sales enablement strategy should not only include initial education, but ongoing communication and training.

Aside from annual sales training and periodic emails, it’s essential to have planned meetings with sales and marketing to gather input, find out what’s working and what isn’t, and discuss changes to the strategy or content hub.

Step 5: Measure results and adjust

Do you know what content is used the most? Has the most influence on buying decisions? Chances are you don’t.

And, you are not alone. Only 35% of companies track the effectiveness of their content. A sales enablement strategy will give you the insights you need to make content adjustments and create the type of material buyers want.

Sales enablement measurements aren’t just about content alone.

An effective sales enablement strategy provides sales measurement metrics, such as average deal size, number of reps that achieved their goals, and average time to close the deal − among others.

Rev-up Revenue with Sales Enablement
By putting customers at the core of your sales enablement strategy, you’ll see increased buyer interest.

And by bridging the gap between sales and marketing, you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors, delivering the content your prospects and customers want at each stage of the buying journey.

Want to know more about empowering your sales and marketing teams through sales enablement? Download the Minimize Sales Barriers with a Winning Content Management Strategy guide to learn how you can close more deals… faster.

Minimize Sales Barriers with a Winning Content Management Strategy

How Small to Medium-sized Businesses Can Tackle the World of Sales Enablement

The decision has been made, this is the year your company is going to crush the competition. Although your reps have made great strides in closing more deals, siloed content and inefficient processes have resulted in missed opportunities.

Opportunities that could have taken you that much closer to reaching your goal, if not achieving it. What if you could put processes in place that will help sales increase conversion rates?

According to CSO Insights recent study Sales Enablement Grows Up: 4th Annual Sales Enablement Study, companies with sales enablement reported a more than 22% increase in the number of sales reps achieving quota, and win rates for forecast deals rose by 14%.

While sales enablement consists of numerous components, there are a few key areas that can make a nearly immediate impact on sales rep’s success and your bottom line.

Align Sales Processes to the Customer’s Buying Journey

Do you know your targeted buyer persona’s, their research and purchasing preferences? A customer-centric approach to sales enablement requires looking at your processes from the customer’s vantage point.

Your sales processes need to be tightly aligned to each step along the customer journey and appropriate for your targeted buyers. But, since customer needs and desires are dynamic, a static sales approach could result in prospects abandoning their journey.

To keep prospects engaged, you need the ability to quickly adapt to an increasingly dynamic environment.  

Let’s take a high-level look at the key stages of the buyer’s journey Awareness, Consideration and Decision/Purchase, and how sales enablement can keep prospects advancing through the funnel.

Awareness Phase: Decision makers at this phase of the journey are looking at their competition and asking questions such as ‘what are they doing’, ‘how do my products or services stack-up?’, and ‘what would give me a competitive advantage’?

When their competitors are already using your products, questions such as ‘what type of products are they?’ and ‘how can they also help me?’ begin to surface.

During this phase, you should focus on delivering high-level and industry-specific content.

By providing prospects with an array of informational material such as blog posts, infographics, eBooks, LinkedIn articles, editorial content, and industry white papers, prospects will be armed with the knowledge they need to move to the next step in their journey, the consideration phase.

Consideration Phase: During this phase, prospect engagements should focus on how your products will solve their challenges.

Nurturing prospects through this phase requires an intimate understanding of their issues and laser focus on delivering the right content, at the right time. Throughout this stage, material, webinars, and presentations shouldn’t be too salesy, but rather emphasize the benefits of your products in relationship to the prospect’s pain points.

Material such as product sheets, case studies, product demo videos, and product comparison white papers should be shared. This phase is all about making a strong business case for your products.

Decision/Purchase Phase: The final stage in the buying funnel is when prospects need validation and reassurance that the decision to go with your company is the right one.

By this phase, you should have built the foundation of a trusting relationship with the prospect.

To make the final buying decision, prospects want to be assured that they are receiving a quality product, the best value for their money and that your products will resolve their challenges faster and more efficiently than your competitors’ products.

To help sway the purchasing decision your way, content should include competitive analysis, return on investment (ROI) / total cost of ownership (TCO) information, customer testimonials, third-party data, detailed product literature, and when possible free trials or incentives.   

So, the journey has come to an end? Far from it.

Now that you’ve won the customer, you’ve entered the post-purchase phase. Continued engagements can be the difference between a loyal customer advocate and one that cuts ties with you and moves to a competitor.

Ongoing nurturing is not only essential to keep your hard-won customers, but it can also have a positive impact on recurring revenue.

While you don’t want to overwhelm customers with a constant bombardment of material, it’s vital to keep them informed and educated.

For example, upgrades, new purchases or expansion opportunities can lead to additional revenue, while at the same time making your customers feel nurtured and empowered.

Content can and should include newsletters, product sheets on new or enhanced products, white papers, analyst reports, industry news, event invitations, etc.  

Enable Sales with Sales Enablement

With such a wide variety of content at your disposal, how can you be sure you’re sending the right material, at the right time, to the right buyer persona.

And when questions arise, are you able to quickly respond with the most appropriate and up-to-date material?

If we take another look at the buyer journey, what would happen at the awareness stage if you combined an eBook with a detailed competitive analysis?  Or, what do you suppose the prospect’s reaction would be if you sent a highly technical white paper to the CMO? Chances are either of these scenarios would raise serious concerns about your ability to be a trusted partner that could resolve their challenges.

Enablix takes the guesswork out of what material to send, when and to whom. Sales reps no longer need to sift through multiple apps or sites to find the content needed.

They provide a centralized hub that not only delivers a single source of relevant material for easy discovery and access, but it also infuses intelligence into the content process ensuring the material is appropriate for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Since decayed content is no longer in the collateral mix, your reps are assured that they are sending the most up-to-date content available.

With Enablix, SMBs are gaining content clarity, allowing them to sell as much as 3x faster. Download the Minimize Sales Barriers with a Winning Content Management Strategy guide to learn more about the vital role content management plays in your sales enablement strategy.

Minimize Sales Barriers with a Winning Content Management Strategy

5 Sales Content Adoption Metrics to Improve Sales Enablement ROI [INFOGRAPHIC]

As a B2B marketer, you play a critical role in the success of your company’s sales enablement program. Measuring content adoption provides critical insights to understand how your content is performing, what is working well, or what needs to be improved. In the infographic below, you’ll find five sales content adoption metrics help you improve the ROI of your sales enablement program.

 

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5 Benefits from Consolidating Access to Trusted Content

Businesses of all sizes are investing more time, resources, and money into content than ever before. According to this 2017 study, most successful B2B marketers dedicate around 39% of their marketing budgets to content. Furthermore, with B2B marketers enable their sales teams with the right content is a big part of their content spend.

However, with an ever-increasing focus on content, it is not uncommon for marketers to find themselves in a sea of content that is spread across different applications within their organization. Common reasons why companies end up with content in disparate systems:

  • Content Formats: Marketers are investing in different formats. Videos, Slideshares, Blogs, Articles are common formats adopted by organizations of all sizes. To support these varied formats, companies end up with multiple content management systems. You are more likely to have your videos hosted on YouTube than on Google Drive or Sharepoint.
  • Team Preferences: It is quite common to find different teams use different cloud storage apps or content management systems to store their team content.
  • Content Security: Even with the popularity of cloud applications, there could be circumstances where companies don’t publish their content outside their firewall.

Having your organization’s trusted content in multiple systems is a significant drag on your organization’s productivity costing your organization hundreds of thousands of dollars. A  practical approach to address this challenge is to consolidate access to your company’s trusted content.  Here are five benefits you gain by consolidating access to trusted content.

1 – Productivity, Productivity, Productivity

This is a no-brainer. A central place for all the essential and trusted content can deliver a much-needed shot in the arm for your organization’s productivity. Not only this helps scale your content beyond tactical engagements, but it also helps keep your customer-facing team members on message. For one, you will stop seeing those redundant and repetitive requests for content in your email inbox or slack channel. Furthermore, your colleagues can have access to the right content when they need it.

Cloud storage apps are notorious to become dump ground for everything and anything. By centralizing access to trusted content that is on the cloud app, you can separate your valuable, accurate assets from the sea of drafts and half-baked ideas that feed to the clutter.

2 – Avoid Duplication and Leverage Investments

The primary benefit of centralizing access to your content is you don’t duplicate content. Content continues to reside in their original content management system. YouTube videos stay on YouTube and WordPress blog posts continue to exist on WordPress. You don’t move assets. You only consolidate access to those assets.

This also helps align with different team’s preferences. If your customer success team prefers using Box to store its digital assets, it can continue to do so. This non-intrusive approach helps adoption.

3 – Integrations

Companies are investing in providing their sales team access to the right content at the right time. However, when your content is spread across multiple systems, delivering the right content to the sales reps can significantly increase integration costs. A central access point for all your content helps reduce the integration cost. Instead of integrating with individual content management systems, organizations can simplify sales enablement by integrating into one central access point.

4 – Reporting and Tracking

When your digital assets and content is spread across different systems keeping track of those assets becomes a difficult and laborious process. Additionally, tracking engagement on that content is even more challenging. With a consolidated access point to content, marketing can easily address these challenges.  They can benefit from a single application to,

  • measure content coverage across different systems.
  • track and report on engagement to make future content investment decisions.

5 – Content Maintenance

Content maintenance is an integral part of marketing operations. Content maintenance includes,

  • Re-branding content
  • Refreshing content
  • Retiring or archiving irrelevant content

It is much easier to maintain content assets when you can access and measure them from a central access point.

Content will continue to be a focal part of any B2B marketing team. However, the proliferation of content can be overwhelming and result in content chaos. If marketing can centralize access to this ever-increasing and evolving content assets they can not only help their colleagues in sales but can also significantly reduce the time and resources to maintain and scale their content.

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Simplifying Competitive Analysis to drive Sales

Competition is healthy. Having competitors is a strong validation of your target market. It is an important dimension of your go to market strategy. However, competition also makes you work that much harder. Your competitors, like you, are trying hard to get their message across to their target market. They are spending dollars to get in front of the same prospects that your organization is chasing. And depending on the maturity of the market, your prospect may already be using your competitor’s products but exploring your offering as an alternative.

When your business operates in a competitive market, competition warrants attention from sales and marketing. Companies have been known to spend a lot of sales and marketing resources to get ahead of the competition. But at a minimum, you need to arm your revenue teams with actionable and useful information that will help your prospect make an informed decision. However, several organizations don’t invest in building actionable competitive information because they assume it to be expensive and time-consuming. But it need not be.

Start from the basics

In our experience, here are two commonly asked competitor-related questions in a sales cycle.

  • Who do you consider your competitors (for this offering)?
  • How is your offering different from Competitor A and/or B?

These are valid questions. And not having a useful response to these questions can really hurt your prospects of winning.

However, companies often complicate the process of enabling their revenue teams with competitive information. Here are some simple tips to enable revenue team with competitive data.

Track Competitors – Are you tracking your competitors? Do you have a list of your primary competitors that you bump into all the time? If not, then putting this list down is an excellent place to get started. Do not assume that your sales teams know all the competitors.

Segment Competitors – Do you have multiple offerings in the market? Do you do business in different geographies? Do you cater to different market tiers? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it is quite likely that you face different competitors in different segments of your market. Map your competitors to your segments.

Your offering’s overall differentiation – You should have an answer to the broader question – What is your differentiation in the marketplace? This question should be answered irrespective of a specific competitor and can be part of your overall corporate positioning. And spelling this out will really help detailed level competitive discussions. When you start comparing your offerings with individual competitors, those talking points should map back to your company’s overall differentiator.

Start with simple collateral – There is no limit to the degree of competitive analysis an organization can conduct. However, when your revenue teams are fielding queries about your competitors and the differentiation of your offering, we have seen that simple is better. Why is that?

  • It is easier to digest for your revenue team members and your prospects.
  • A simple piece of collateral is easier to refresh and maintain. Your competitive collateral should be refreshed regularly as your offerings, and your competitor’s offerings evolve.
  • It is easier to templatize a simple format.

Competitive Content Types

We have here a list of popular content types for competitive analysis.

Competitive Collateral

Building content takes resources. And it is quite likely that some of the information needed to create these assets is already available in your organization. You just need to put it in the right structure to scale that information. Moreover, you can start small. You can focus on the Feature Comparisons and Outcome Comparisons and slowly build into a richer library of assets to help your revenue teams compete.

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What is your product marketing’s “release to sales” process?

New products and major revisions to existing products are always exciting. Without a doubt, they are an important milestone for your company. So it is natural that a lot of investment goes into building a new offering and bringing it to the market. However, organizations seldom pay required attention to the last leg of the process. Releasing the offering to your customer-facing team members. In a typical B2B technology company, your product is taken to the market by three primary constituents:

  • Sales – This team includes your account executives and sales development reps.
  • Customer Success – The members of this team are plugged in with your current customer base and many times a new product offering can have a potential to make serious money in your existing customer base.
  • Partners – Your organization’s partner community (if there is one) is an important channel to take the product to the market.

Companies do invest some time in updating these parties about the new offering. For the internal community (sales and/or customer success), they will have a session to update them on the new offering. And for the external partner community, companies will have a webinar to bring them up to speed on the offering. And they stop there and wait for revenue to roll in for the new products. However, this half-ass effort rarely results in any success in the field. Unless companies do not enable their revenue channels with the right information when the channels need it, they will see poor results for their new offerings.

Moreover, doing a “release to sales” process right does not take any extra resources than what is already being expended to support the release process. One just has to make a shift in two areas: timeline and enablement approach.

Here are some best practices to release a new (or upgraded) product to the market:

Start Early. You want to start planning and acting on your “release to sales” activity much earlier than the product release date. Something is majorly wrong if your product is released in January and the enablement activities are happening in March/April timeframe. You have just wasted a full quarter of the market and revenue opportunity. In our experience, if it is a major upgrade to an existing product or an altogether new product offering, you should start at least 3 to 4 months before the scheduled release date.

Create a “Release to Sales” Kit. Create a shareable, reusable, content kit for your “release to sales” activity. If you use a cloud storage platform, designate a folder on Google Drive or Sharepoint which will include all the customer-facing and internal & confidential collateral for that release. Bring that content and information together in one place.

And please spare the customer-facing teams with other irrelevant content like test plans, bug reports, project plans, etc. This kit should only include documents and content that will help enable the constituents to drive conversations in the markets and bring revenue.

Follow a Timeline. We show here an example timeline for a well-executed “release to sales” process. In addition to the key milestones (highlighted by bigger circles), the product marketing team has to continuously drip information to the different constituents to keep this upcoming release front and center in their minds. One needs to make the information stick in the minds of those who are on the front lines selling and discussing this product with potential buyers.

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Involve Other Teams. Product marketing alone cannot execute a successful “release to sales” process. You need support from other teams to make the release a true success. Your sales engineering and customer success partners can have valuable input to help you arm the revenue teams with the right assets.

The above practices do not require a company to pour in extra resources to execute a successful “release to sales” process. The content highlighted in the example timeline is already discussed and put down in documents, spreadsheets, and slides. What is needed is a simple process to bring that content together and distribute efficiently. These changes will not only help accelerate the sales pipeline, but it will also reduce the ongoing enablement burden on the marketing team.

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The 80/20 rule of enabling sales with content

The 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto’s Principle) states that, for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. To give an example, research in 2015 showed that consumers spend over 80% of their smartphone time in only 5 apps. Similar arguments have been made about MS Office Suite where a majority of the MS Office users only use 20% of the available features.

So, what does this 80/20 rule have to do anything with Sales Enablement?

We say everything. We see that 20% of your digital assets can help enable your sales teams’ 80% of the conversations. What does that tell you?

You can start small and still have a significant impact on enablement. 

The typical reason we hear from companies for not investing in any sales enablement process is – “We don’t have enough content.” The reality is that you don’t need a whole lot of content to drive enablement. To start, you need to help sales answer the following questions:

  • Who are we (the company)?  – Corporate Overview
  • What is our offering? – Data Sheets, Solution Overview, White Papers, Videos
  • How does the offering help the buyer? – Introductory Sales Deck, Detailed Sales Deck, White Papers, Case Studies
  • Why we are a better choice than others in the market? Competitive Analysis, Case Studies
  • What are the terms and conditions of the offering? Pricing, Support Policy, T&Cs

Some may argue that we are oversimplifying the process. But the truth of the matter is that the digital assets to support these questions can help with the majority of your sales conversations. Ask your sales team in your next QBR?

Could sales benefit with more assets? Absolutely yes. But the absence of those assets should not be a deterrence to kick-off enablement. We have found the following principles have worked for our customers and us:

  • Focus on quality over quantity.
  • It is an iterative process. But it is a process. There needs a method to the madness.
  • Focus on content pull before you focus on push. Give your sales colleague an opportunity to find assets before you start targeting them with relevant assets.
  • Don’t wait for content creation to define your process. Organize assets as they get created. You will never have the time in the day to sit down and organize your assets.

It is natural to be overwhelmed with content. We, at Enablix, realized this, when our small team started generating content to help our sales and customer success efforts. It was evident to us that if we, with a relatively smaller operation, were losing time and productivity in staying on message, the companies out there were in a far worse situation.

The 80/20 rule can help us score small, tangible victories in enabling our customer-facing teams. And it allows you to lay the necessary foundation that you can iteratively build upon as your content grows.

 

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