Your sales team is the engine that drives your business. Your sales representatives are the face of your brand, the experts on your product or services, and most importantly, they bring in your company’s revenue.
It’s a big job, and it can cause a lot of stress as well. According to Glassdoor, sales manager was ranked one of the highest stress jobs in the U.S. in 2021 — the burden of having to meet sales quotas and answer to leadership can be a lot for sales reps and managers to handle.
Sales becomes even more stressful when sales teams aren’t being given the tools and information they need to quickly close sales - especially if some of those sales are lagging mid-sales funnel.
Why (sales) content is king
If your organization is like many companies, some of your departments are generating a lot of content about your products, services, and the needs those products meet. Take marketing, for example. Your marketing team is constantly creating assets — like infographics, blog posts, and ebooks – based around your customers’ pain points. While those assets are primarily used to generate more leads for the sales team, they’re also a treasure trove for your sales team as your reps nurture leads and build proposals. Those pieces contain statistics, anecdotes and information that can help your sales team educate customers, build relationships with clients, and generate proposals.
The same goes for the materials written by your product team, or the documentation created by developers — all of that is rich material for your sales team, who need to be armed with facts when they’re confronting objections or answering questions from potential customers.
In fact, according to a report from the Content Marketing Institute, 78% of the most successful B2B companies in 2021 used marketing content to build loyalty with existing clients, and 57% of the most successful businesses used marketing to generate sales.
Not all of those companies are using content to the best of their abilities, however. At some companies, information ends up siloed. That means one person or department has knowledge that nobody else shares. If a sales rep needs that information, they need to go looking for the person who controls it and ask for it.
That means a delay in the sales process.
“There's nothing worse than having a sales conversation with somebody and saying, 'Oh yeah, I'll send that over to you,’” said James Springhetti, Vice President of Sales for Seismic and an Ombud user, during a recent webinar. “You just missed a golden opportunity as a salesperson to add value in the conversation based on what you were saying rather than waiting to send it. Of course, send it as a follow up, but have the conversation live and make sure that you're hitting on those points and making sure that they understand it and having a conversation about it.”
It’s a problem on several levels. When a sales rep stops everything to go hunting for information, it ties up a prospect in the sales funnel, waste’s the rep’s time, and means that the rep may dig up old or incorrect information. That last one can be a deal-killer: according to LinkedIn’s most recent State of Sales report, the biggest turnoff for a buyer is a poorly-informed sales rep. Forty eight percent of buyers say they are put off by a sales rep who offers incorrect or misleading information about their product or service, and 43% don’t want to work with a rep who doesn’t seem to understand their own product or service.
That’s where content automation can save the day.
What is content automation (and why do you need it)?
Content automation is the process of automating any part of the content creation process that can be repetitive, time-consuming, or expensive. In the case of sales content, this often means using artificial intelligence (AI) and other smart tools to gather relevant content in one place so that it can be accessed by your sales team when they need it — while they’re in conversation with the customer.
For example Ombud locks down exactly the sales content your team needs in a central database. The best, newest, and most relevant content is put at reps’ fingertips so they’re not caught off guard by an objection or a question they didn’t expect. It also helps them build proposals and RFPs by offering up the best content that’s already been written by other teams — from marketing to IT to the product team.
By giving reps access to your best, strongest sales content, you can arm them with the knowledge to shorten your sales cycle and improve win rates.
How can content automation win a sale?
Colleen Bashar, senior vice president of global solutions sales at Guidewire, tells a story about a proposal her team put together by using content automation.
“It was a recent opportunity where we made this deliberate decision to go crazy deep on the depth and detail for an RFP,” said Bashar, a recent Ombud webinar guest. Her team used Ombud’s RFP content automation to put the response together quickly, and were then able to work with other departments, building out the proposal into a detailed, visually-compelling document, hundreds of pages long.
“It differentiated us from the competition,” she said. “We were still able to complete all of that within the timeframe. And I think it was the first time in my career that after we submitted the RFP, they decided to sole source the POC (proof of concept), so we're now the only player going into the POC after this RFP. And it ended up resulting in a faster sales cycle.”