The sales team has to know when new content comes out – but if you tell them everything all fo the time, they’re going to end up drowning you out.
In the final episode of our four part miniseries on content enablement workflows, Nick sits down with Felix Krueger, CEO at FFWD, to discuss:
- The importance of a purpose-driven content strategy and how that impacts sales enablement
- Why sales enablement has to know how sales is using content, and effective ways to perform a content audit
- Why most sales enablement projects should be viewed through the lens of change management, and effective ways to communicate changes
This episode is perfect for sales enablement managers and product marketers that can’t seem to get their sales team to pay attention to changes in content.
Sales Enablement Over Communication
Adopting a Purpose-Driven Content Strategy
Nick: Hello everybody. And welcome back to another episode of mind, the gap as always. I’m your host Nick Ziech-Lopez. And this is Enablix’s only podcast talking sales and marketing alignment. I am very pleased to have back on the pod for a second time today, Felix Kreuger in part four of our four part miniseries on contact enablement workflows, Felix.
Felix: How’s it going? I am very well now that you’re based in Spain.
Nick: I am in Spain. We are, we are transcontinental. You are still, you are still Australia. that’s right. Which makes scheduling this always fun. I would, I, I have to, I have to ask you for scheduling tips for Australia timelines.
Felix: No, I’ve given up on scheduling reason reasonable hours. So I don’t take my advice. yeah.
Nick: no, no. So, so Felix, you are the founder of fast forward, is that correct? What, what do you
Felix: do there? Yeah. So I am the founder and I’m the, what you would consider the principal consultant.
So I am leading client engagement and we, work with businesses, mainly the B2B space on sales enablement initiatives. So we are a sales enablement consulting business, which means that we specialize in the holistic approach to cells enablement, considering all factors impacting cells. Effectiveness like technology like content, like training, coaching and so on.
So essentially all the different elements we assemble strategically for clients and help them to improve sales effectiveness. we work with clients, around the world, so not only Australia, but we also work with clients in the UK, in the us, in India. So, truly global. truly
Nick: global business, TGB.
No, I’m, I am excited for this episode because I think of, of a lot of the workflows that, that we have, we have covered and, and, and the issues with content. This is the one that I think is closest to a lot of people, heart and, and it’s, and it’s content communication. and, and it’s not necessarily like, yeah.
You know, the communication manifests itself in so many ways. But we all know when it’s gone bad. Right. We know when, like, the terrible, sync up meetings, maybe an hour meeting where no one’s paying attention. And, you feel like, you’re like, Hey, is anybody hearing this?
Or, even on the other side where. You feel like either in sales enablement or, in content marketing, you’ve done a lot of great work and, no one even knows it exists. have you run into some toxic atmospheres or maybe, where it hasn’t gone? So well, the communication between what’s coming out and what’s getting used.
Felix: absolutely. I mean, all the time, I think, there are two separate challenges, so number one is, the, communication side of things. Right. so, in, a lot of scenarios, there’s an overcommunication happening between sales and all the different departments, you know, interacting with sales, I think in those kind of scenarios, everybody Wants to be able to access sales and wants to get, you know, their mind share. But, that essentially leads to, information overload and sales reps, not being able to distinguish what really matters or what not, you know a regular offender is a product marketing team that, delivers one hour updates about, the, product and, any sort of associated materials, you know, it’s those sort of meetings just lead to reps, tuning out and, nothing really being achieved.
So. From my point of view, I think the biggest win that sales enablement can really achieve on that front is to act as a filter and to really structure communication, with the sales team to make sure that, anything that is being communicated to and with the sales team, really contributes to them having the tools on hand that they need to do a better job, you know, so I think, that sort of information overload is a very common problem, especially in larger organization
Nick: you know, it it’s I see that’s a mistake that I think. Enablers make, especially newer practitioners is the idea that, that everything’s gotta be communicated. Right. And, and by the way, I let’s, let’s pull back in a lot of jobs. That is a good thing, right. In a lot of jobs, you are rewarded more for over overcommunication than under communication, right?
Mm-hmm if you’re a product manager, if you’re an engineer, if you’re, if you’re an ops, specifically sales being on the, the kind of the border of the company. Is receiving too much of it from all angles, from the market, from their boss, from our prospects from internally. and, and it’s too much. so I like to go out on, on a kind of, kind of draw a line and say you’re likely overcommunicating to the sales team to start.
Um, it doesn’t, it’s not always true, but that’s, that’s typically the biggest problem. And so I like to say, you know, say less right to quote, to quote Hamilton, right? Talk less smile. No. but, but you know, we, we were talking before the pot and, and you said that there’s nuances to that. So, so help me break it down as a sales enablement expert, when should, you know, what goes to the sales team and what doesn’t.
Felix: Yeah. So generally you have to always have to make sure that there’s a purpose and anything that goes out, right. Content should never be used for the content’s sake.
Nick: and by the way, that’s where I, think product marketing really falls down is, marketing kind of has its own purpose driven leads to whatever that is.
Revenue. I think a lot of product marketing organizations are struggling to really feel their purpose. And so their purpose is, well, I created this so everybody should know about it. Right.
Felix: exactly. So I think you always have to, like I’m not, a big fan of the phrase. but I think in this scenario it really rings true.
you have to start with why. Right. and I, think when it comes to interactions with sales team asking yourself why. this piece of content exists and what purpose it serves, I think is the best starting point, Because unless there is a sales process stage supported with this piece of content, there is no purpose, You can never. Everything else is just noise, essentially for the sales team and potentially also for the prospects, because any sort of content that the sales team uses, that is market facing should always, have the purpose on educating buyers and, them being able to make better, decisions, throughout the sales process, throughout their buyer journey and, ultimately make better decisions for their business, right.
that applies to, buyer engagement content when it comes to sales support content, you know, which is content that is internally being used, that is being used to educate the sales team on, administrative processes, maybe calculators that are being used for pricing and so on. For, those sort of scenarios, the same applies.
You also have to have a purpose for the content piece. everything else is just noise, you know, so I think that’s the, the single, biggest filter you can apply. And, I have made the experience that just applying that filter already makes a big difference.
Nick: Yeah. And by the way, I think I’m seeing our episode title now, like, finding your path to purpose driven content.
kind of, sounds self-help-y but it’s so true. And listen, I speak from experience, right? Like I’ve messed this up so many times where, because you’ll, you’ll get a request from the sales team asking for a piece of content. And so you’re, you know, you’re, especially when you’re helping, if you’re in a growing organization, so you make it, but there were two things that the two filters you mentioned that I really liked.
Is this internal or external and stick to that, it can be both right, an understanding of how you’re different from a, a competitor that, that seems maybe, kind of close by. There could be internal and external facing content that comes outta that. But when you make a thing, is it intended to be for the sales team or for your buyers and step two, and this is important, and this is maybe the hardest part where in the sales cycle is this useful.
I could tell you from the product marketing side, I would, I would be, I would feel free to slap the entire sales cycle on any piece of content I ever created about the product, but that takes away a lot of that filter, right? Like that takes away of the, when you get to that overload of, of, of what’s happening.
What are some ways, and, and we don’t want to, you know, you know, solve world hunger here, but what are some ways for organizations where maybe the product marketing team is dumping? A ton of content in marketing is done dumping a ton of content in that we could start to align our content to where it plays in the sales cycle.
Felix: a good starting point. And that’s something that I quite often do with clients is a content audit. So you essentially outline the sales process in relation to the buyer journey and then, look at your content through that lens, right? If you have any sort of. analytics, associated with your content that indicate usage.
Um, that can be helpful too, you know, so to actually mm-hmm, , see what’s being used the most, but, creating that alignment of the content to the sales process and the buyer journey is something that I would recommend. And, then you soon realize. which content pieces don’t really fit in. they, they kind of seem random.
That’s why they can stick out, right? exactly. It’s, it’s just, it’s just noise. Right. And you always should aim to keep things as simple as possible on that front. So mm-hmm and those sort of content pieces that are potentially outdated, you know, they’re, they’re 10 years old that are sitting there.
Um, and they’ve just always been, been taking, been taking or transferred between systems and they somehow still ended up on the shared drive. those of content pieces then need to be retired. Right. So, yeah. that, that process, and then you know, also talking to the sales team, you know, and, getting an idea of how content is being used, especially, by top performers, across the sales.
Um, can be really helpful to also understand not only which content pieces are being used, but also in what sort of context and, what sort of context is provided, to prospects, when content is shared. Yeah.
Nick: And, and listen, we, you know, we love to, to chill Forex whenever we can, because, because we say we do those kinds of things, but, but really it’s as, as objective, there are thousand softwares that do this, right?
some very, very expensive, some very cheap. The idea though, is with that audit, if you could put into place. and we’re not gonna recommend any right now, but some objective measurement of when content is being used. Right, because, because what I’ve seen, and this is a trap you fall into is the sales reps will swear up and down that a certain asset is useful in a certain position.
And then you’ll see just like the product marketing team will, they will use it throughout every stage of the sales cycle. It turns out that’s just their default. They like to send it. Perhaps it’s a customer story. Perhaps it’s a really cool interview on a feature that somebody used, whatever that is. So as objective as you can.
On how assets are being used. The sales cycle. If you set yourself up a month, maybe, you know, two months for this, this, this is gonna take time. That is gonna be a great tool in your, in your tool belt of, of where things fit in, in my opinion. because you know, we’re, we’re human. We we’re gonna go.
Remember what we remember?
Felix: exactly. Exactly. I think you know, what you just described the same content piece, always being used throughout the entire sales cycle. I think that’s probably something that I would consider selling by superstition, you know, where as, you know, sales reps, just keep on doing the same thing just because they think, oh yeah.
If I stop doing this, I, I won’t close a deal anymore. Yeah. That’s really where it makes sense to, to compare top performers, uh you know, with the rest to see what they do differently. What you would then typically find is that, the top performers utilize content in a more nuanced way. So, right. That, that’s how I would eliminate that.
Nick: Well, and, and I’ve, and listen, I will say I’m always a big fan of selling by superstition because I’m always listening to Stevie wonder in the background of my calls. And so,
Felix: very good.
Nick: Hi, I had to get it in that one’s going on, LinkedIn. but . So, so let’s say that we’re in a broken relationship, right?
The, the, the contact communication workflow is not going well. Let’s outline some steps to fix it, right? Maybe the previous regime did not do this. Well, maybe sales feels hurt and misheard marketing feels hurt and was heard whatever that is, what are some steps to fix it? so, so, let, let’s go ground up.
What, what’s your first step?
Felix: Well, I think the first step is to realize that every. Sales enablement project is a change management project, right. And that applies on the larger scale sales initiative, sales enablement initiative, as well as the smaller scale sales enablement initiative and a, the introduction of a content piece that is supposed to be used to manage opportunities is an example of a small scale change management project, right?
What does the change management project typically included includes, preparing for change, implementing change and cementing change, right. And on that front what you would do to prepare for change is to, first of all, do the analysis around, what content is there, what is be, where the gaps are?
Right. that you can fill and then, work with the sales reps and, sales management on, creating agreement that this is really needed. Right. And having that agreement early, will create that buy-in that you need to then prepare for adoption throughout the sales team, right? Yeah. So in that scenario, For example, do a top performer analysis and you would, see that, a top performer would create his own content to, share with clients.
And then you say, okay, this, you shouldn’t be doing this, product marketing, marketing can do this. And we can create an updated version of this content piece on a regular basis. You wouldn’t would then take this idea to the sales managers and say, Hey, you know, like, this is what, what we’ve seen across the sales team.
this is what we want to do. you then get their buy in because they say it makes sense. You then move on into implementing change. So you create the content piece and then start communicating. Right. And what I would typically, recommend anybody, sharing content with a sales team do is, do it first in a, public forum.
Right? for example, like a, a monthly sales meeting, an all hands meeting with. the sales leadership and the sales team, present. Right. And if you share content in that sort of forum that also provides the social proof that you need, for people to really realize, okay, this is something that senior leadership has agreed to, make sense for us to adopt.
And everybody’s here to hear this, right. And in this meeting you would outline, why the suspect developed what it is. And how it’s supposed to be used. Right? Mm-hmm this is, this is like a life environment as anybody who’s got questions can raise questions as straight away. but this does not have to be a massive update, right?
Like this can be a 10, 10 minute update, talking about a, a content piece that’s supposed to make opportunity management, for the sales team easier. but I think the step is really important to bring it on the agenda of salespeople. Then you can follow up with an email, right? that then re reemphasize as the points that you’ve made, throughout the meeting connect as a reference point and anybody who is in the sales stage with their opportunities that you are supposed to support can use the straight away.
Right. And then the next step Have followed in the past is then to follow up by joining individual sales teams. so in their team meetings, you know, like their team whip just to, talk about it briefly again and then to bring it in the context of their portfolios. And then, you can offer more tailored advice to the individual reps and then if there’s still a communication needed, the reps can then book individual time with you to then further clarify.
on a tactical basis, how does content pieces been?
Nick: you’re saying clarify I’m here and complain, but, but, but, but we’ll put that, we’ll put that to
Felix: this side. That’s right. So if I, if I, so with these steps that I’ve outlined, what you noticed is that you essentially go from. from broadcast to narrow cast.
Right? So you you start out by, talking about it in very general, terms and then personalize it more and more, first, for the sales teams and then for the individual sales reps. So mm-hmm, I think with that sort of approach, you cover the most ground and have the highest likelihood of adoption, right?
Um, by. Implementing the change. And then the last step that I recommend is then to cement change, this is really where the ease of access to the to the content piece comes into play, where you are able to really reduce friction in sharing that content. By, for example, having the right tagging in place on the con on the platform that he used to share content, you.
Um, in discussions with your sales team if you advise on a certain approach or in your sales training, you can always keep on referencing that content piece, you know, throughout your onboarding program, throughout your training program in coaching sessions, this content piece can always come up over and over again that this sort of content is supposed to be used in these and these situations, right?
So this is, this is where cement. Cementing the introduction of that content comes into play. And I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it seems like a lot of effort but it’s is effort you, our structures you put in place once, and then you benefit from them on a larger scale. Right. And, I can guarantee you that’s much more effective than, just sending out an email saying FY new, new content piece on the platform available.
Nick: No, and, and that, I mean, first I like a couple things about what you said first. You did touch on in one way or the other, all of the other workflows we’ve touched on in this mini series, you touched on approval workflow with reps making their own content. the, the feedback workflow with, with sales meeting, with marketing and as well as the quality workflow of people being able to find it.
So that’s how I know you’re a fan of the pod, but, but more importantly, I like that. You almost look, you almost took content communication as like a sales. Right. You start with that top of the funnel broadcast. How am I, how am I talking to everybody? Right? How would I, how would I make the sales team aware of this?
But, but you don’t stop there, right? No sales team would ever stop there. Work down to the bottom of the funnel, where you’re literally meeting with individual reps to, to say, Hey, you are effectively closing the deal. Where they know that this content could do this for them, and they’re going to use it and activate that content in that respect.
So, so stop thinking top of the funnel and content coms, and start pushing that down funnel. I think, I think you’ll see more success, but that only happens if you’re creating purpose driven content which is, is what is what you alluded to. So we did it. We fixed it, man. we
Felix: dropped on. Dropped on.
Nick: Check that off the list. No, it’s, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on it and, and talking all things enablement, before you go. I, I, I do know you’re, you’re cooking something up over at fasts four. Could you tell me a little bit about, the project you’ve got coming up? .
Felix: so we are, working on an online course.
so we’ve collaborated with Mike Kel, which is a, rather well known, person in the sales enablement space. He’s the bestselling author of the book, the building blocks of sales enablement. And, we’ve partnered with him on, creating a course based on this book. So. this is coming up soon.
Um, we’re currently working on the course materials. but we we’re collaborating with a beta testing panel of sales enablers around the world on making this as, valuable as possible for everybody. So this is coming out currently scheduled for late September. We’ll see a whole how that
Yeah. So mid, mid October, probably. Right. Well, that’s right.
Felix: That’s right. But this is, coming soon for everybody who’s interested in developing themselves in the sales enablement space. Excellent. Well,
Nick: we will, we will have a link to the sign up on the, podcast page for that. so if you, if that sounds interesting, check it out.
Um, Hey, in the meantime, Hey, thank you so much for stopping by the pod and telling us about, contact communication. I had a great time and I think I learned something. so, so I really appreciate it.
Felix: Thanks so much, Nick. Thanks for having me. It’s always great to. Ladies and
Nick: gentlemen, Felix Kruger, this has been mind the gap, a podcast about sales and marketing alignment put on by enables.
My name is Lopez. Thanks for listen.