“Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn't do them will be like the fool, who built their house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house, and it fell—and great was its fall.” — Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Builders
The vast majority of us have heard this quote in some form or another with the sentiment remaining the same — if you don’t build a strong foundation, you’re in for it.
The same can be said for automation.
If you don’t build a quality pool of content, frame that with an excellent process, furnish the process with the correct fixtures, and update it over time, the house you built for your sales content automation will start to crumble...and won’t be making it on any “most beautiful homes” list anytime soon.
Want your automation to make it on the national historic registry one day? Read on to see the 4 key areas in building quality sales content automation:
Foundation: Create a Quality Pool of Content
The best-laid foundation for your sales content automation efforts is in the name itself: content. Without quality content at the heart of everything you do, automation won’t have the correct impact on your team or their win rates.
When looking to create a quality pool of content, there are 3 areas to consider when creating your content pool:
1. Formatting & Categorizing of Responses
The first question to ask yourself is: What variables change how I respond to a prospect? Region? Product line? Company size?
Building your content pool in a way that allows you to easily search and filter by the content needed for a specific prospect is paramount to automating and decreasing the time it takes to find the content your team needs.
2. Templating of Requests
For each type of request and —depending on the complexity of your offering — region, or product line, you should aim to have a separate template to work from.
This is particularly important in requests that require more shallow customizations (think SOWs, POCs where you’re using a lot of standard language and only changing a small portion per prospect).
3. Evolving Content Pool with Your Offerings
How often does your offering change? Do you have a quarterly large release or does your team work in a more agile format?
Your content must stay up-to-date and evolve as your offerings evolve. Content that’s stale and irrelevant doesn’t help anyone. Begin to think about how this cadence may impact your content pool over time.
Framing: Creating a Streamlined Process
Below are three key areas to consider when building your process and questions to answer in each:
1. Request Journey
- What is the process from the second a rep receives a request? Is it well documented?
- Do team members have a good grasp of what’s expected of them and what their role is in the process?
- Do you have internal Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) with your team for timely requests?
- Where can this process be automated?
2. Library Curation
- How does the content library stay up-to-date?
- How often should you update the content within?
- Who is responsible for each piece of content?
- How does new content get added into the library and approved for broad use?
- How do you categorize your library?
3. SME Engagement
- How often do you engage with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) on requests?
- What is their preferred way to engage?
- How can you create processes that empower them to respond when they can instead of when you need them to?
Finishes & Fixtures: Acquire the Necessary Tools
Below are 3 core tool sets we most often see clients use to run successful sales content automation (and tools that can do the job):
1. Customer Information Capture
You’ll need a repository of all the necessary prospect details needed for customization and template choice.
Typical tools: CRM
2. Sales Content Creation & Collaboration
You’ll also need a collaborative workspace to create and collaborate on sales requests with your internal team.
Typical tools: Sales Content Collaboration, Traditional Content Management, Point Solutions like RFP Software
3. Sales Content Delivery
Finally, you’ll need a professional way to deliver requests to prospects — especially for requests like proposals and statements of work.
Typical tools: Sales Content Collaboration, Sales Enablement
Renovations & Updates: Gather Feedback Consistently
Now that our house is built, we have to continually clean, update, and organize it. To do so, you must gather feedback from the people running through those processes every day — your team members and prospects.
We recommend soliciting 3 different types of feedback:
1. Post-Onboarding for Salespeople
What optimizations can you make to get reps up to speed faster?
2. Quarterly Survey for the Entire Team
What optimizations can you make for day-to-day functions to go smoother?
3. Post-Sale Survey with Prospects
What optimizations can you make so the prospect experience is frictionless?
Spoiler Alert: This is what Sales Content Collaboration was built for.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by creating and optimizing your sales content automation, we understand. For years, there hasn’t been a dedicated solution to helping automate and create all mid-funnel sales content — often living in various tools, processes, and teams to make it all work.
That’s exactly what Sales Content Collaboration solves. To give your prospects a truly cohesive experience, it’s imperative to bring this all under one roof, and to streamline the processes so you don’t bog down your team.
Ready to learn more? Check out The Guide to Sales Content Collaboration.