Your sales content is a lot like your closet—it can easily get out of hand. Do you still have that 80s prom dress or white tux you’ve only worn once? Is your favorite shirt wadded up in the corner behind the hamper and impossible to find? Without intentionally keeping it organized, your closet can become a mess of empty hangers, clothes that don’t fit, and things you don’t even like anymore—same with your sales content. When thinking about your sales content, take a page out of Marie Kondo’s book, and ask, “is this sparking joy?”
If the answer is no, it’s probably time for a content overhaul which begins with curating your content and, for the sake of the metaphor, throwing out that old prom dress. Below, we’ve outlined 4 easy steps to curating your sales content:
1. Audit & Organize
RFP and Security Questionnaire response is probably your most involved sales document request process—multiple contributors and SMEs, approvals, and compliance concerns drive their complexity. As a result, you may be working in an RFP or Proposal software or, at the very least, have a central repository or document where you store and obtain answers (even if it’s homegrown or in desktop solutions like Microsoft Word.) Take a page out of this involved process and centralize your content across your sales cycle.
Start with an audit of all the different content requests you get throughout the funnel and determine where each lives today. If you’re like most teams, the top and the bottom of the funnel are most clearly defined - and the middle gets a little murky. Find a platform that can handle all of those documents, not just the RFPs and questionnaire-based requests.
Want a deeper look into how to optimize this process? Check out our recent OmBlog on the topic.
2. Engage Your SMEs
Subject Matter Experts (or SMEs) are some of the most valuable players in creating sales responses and content. As practitioners, you may not know the intricacies of every product detail or legal clause - and that’s okay! Engaging your SMEs helps to scale that knowledge across the business and drive efficiency in your sales process.
Keep in mind, though, that these SMEs have day jobs as well as varying degrees of involvement and knowledge of the sales process. Be intentional in your requests and how to best scale the content they provide. Finally, consider bringing them into your response and content development platforms so they can give you those answers right within the system and on their time!
3. Curate to the Value Proposition
When asking your product team for a response to a technical question, it’s likely they’ll give an extremely detailed and technical answer. For internal purposes, that’s great! The more content, the better. It provides you with all the context and material you need and allows you to tailor and edit as necessary for various audiences and use cases. So, when tailoring that content, bring it back to your core value proposition and speak to the business problems you can solve. If your responses aren’t weaving in your key value points, it’s time for a makeover.
4. Plan for Constant Improvement
Arguably, this is your most important step. One of the largest challenges we see at Ombud occurs when clients go through a big overhaul, but fail to maintain their content appropriately. When you don’t set yourself up for continued success, you’ll fall short of your goals and be back at the same spot next year with stale content and a mountain of work ahead of you. Don’t let that be the case!
Once you’ve created and curated this content, set up cadences to check and re-approve content. These cadences will look different depending on the subject matter. For instance, product functionality responses should be updated around major release cycles whereas financial information may be updated around your company’s fiscal year or audit cycle. In a system like Ombud, you can set up expiration dates and notifications for each piece of content, and push those notifications to the relevant parties—so nothing slips through the cracks.
Finally, make sure ownership is clear and expectations are set. If you need SMEs to update around a specified cadence, be sure to communicate that clearly and assign them accordingly.
Sparking Content Joy a Little at a Time
We don’t always have time for a big spring cleaning in our closets every year, sometimes we just need to throw away or donate a few pieces at a time. By keeping things organized and curated year-round, you’re saving time in the long run and making sure your content doesn’t become a cluttered, overwhelming endeavor no one is willing to tackle.