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Response Management

Building a Sales Response Library: Where & What to Look For

March 12, 2020

On this St. Patrick's Day, imagine if you could simply follow a rainbow, and find a pot of quality, curated, and approved responses to use with your prospects. 

To make this fantasy a reality, you’ll need standard content at your disposal in a central library. This library should be composed of well-written responses that can be used time and time again. 

In Ombud’s world, we call these “references.” References are held to our highest “gold standard” and are updated constantly by subject matter experts to ensure fresh, curated content is used in sales responses. With the use of this reference concept, we’ve seen sales teams cut response time in half. We've also seen a single person managing more than 50 responses each and every quarter!

So how do you create these documents? Where do you even start when you have thousands of responses your team has created? We have a few areas to look to get you started in creating your own reference documents:

1. Past Won & Shortlisted Sales Deals

If you’re starting from scratch, the best place to look are the previous deals your team has won. Look to the highest-value deals as these generally have the most in-depth content and you know they’re good responses! 

If you haven’t won a deal from a response recently, look to deals your team was shortlisted on. Long, well-curated responses are another great place to look. If a request has more than 200 questions, that’s the one you should leverage.

The key here is to have your content phrased similarly to how your prospects are asking these questions, so these can be easily searched later on in your library.

2. Industry-Standard Formats

Do the words SHRM or SIG mean anything in your world? If you see the same questionnaire format again and again, or if there’s an industry-standard form, such as SHRM templates for HR software, our best practice is to add those templates into these reference documents! Next time you see that template, you can populate all of those answers in a snap and only have to tweak to fit the prospect’s needs. 

We see the most benefit in this with our customers who respond to security questionnaires frequently. By the nature of these questionnaires, they have similar formats and questions every time, and will generally use similar formats or industry standards such as CAIQ and SIG templates.

3. Functionality-Specific Content 

Whether you’re in the next-gen firewalls or professional services space, there are specific questions prospects will ask you every single time. Look to past responses’ “Functional Requirements” or “Offerings” sections. Here, you’ll find a lot of the relevant content your prospects want again and again. 

Pro Tip: if you have multiple product offerings or lines, be sure to segment these sections out for each product. Next time you encounter a question, it will be easy to find the questions not only to answer the question broadly, but for the specific product you’re selling to the prospect.

4. Boilerplate Marketing & Company Information

What may seem like a no-brainer, but is often overlooked in creating reference content, is high-level company information. Regardless of if you and your sales team can find this information on your company’s website, our recommendation is to include this in your central library to have that single source of the truth. 

Questions for company leadership, demographics, addresses, and financials will help to find those answers quickly and easily for your next response with a comprehensive “Company Information” section.

Final Thoughts About Response Management Libraries

By using your previous sales responses as a starting place, you leverage the wealth of content and time your team has amassed in these responses while saving time in the future.

Creating and curating this content is only the beginning. To make references work for you, you’ll need to keep these documents updated regularly as your product offerings and industry evolves. 

Leprechauns aren’t the only ones with a pot of gold now!

In the market for a place to store and author all of this content? Check out Ombud’s case study with Magellan Health to see how we’re helping them centralize and contextualize their content.

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