According to a report by The Bridge Group, the average ramp time for a sales rep is at least four months. With an associated average tenure of ~2 years, that’s only 20 months of full efficacy for your business. In other words, less than 2,700 working hours.
The dilemma then becomes how to optimize that time. Or, how do you shorten ramp time so each rep can start crushing quota more quickly?
There are plenty of learning management technologies out there to help sales reps learn your specific processes, playbook, and industry. There are also plenty of tools to automate aspects of their work to be more efficient. However, how do you best instill in them your value proposition? What about detailed product information? Or your marketing messaging?
Right under our noses is a wealth of knowledge that we don’t often look at... sales content and sales requests.
Long RFPs you’ve submitted and in-depth proposals can be a goldmine for getting reps up to speed. Below, we’ve broken down the main benefits of harnessing this content for sales onboarding and training.
Gain initial product knowledge and value proposition development.
In nearly every response for a potential customer, you’ll submit an executive summary. This content includes company information, marketing messaging, differentiators, and your unique value proposition.
Often, teams will also have various executive summaries versions given the competitors, industry, or size business they’re going after.
If this content is categorized and easily searchable, reps can do their internal research based on previous deals. For instance, if they have an intro call coming up with a 500-person professional services company based in New York, imagine if they could search on those parameters and find all the deals your team has won in those areas and all the content associated with those deals.
With this wealth of knowledge, that rep could go into the call and:
- speak in the company’s industry vernacular.
- understand the landscape and challenges similar companies have faced.
- have quick win stories to inject into the conversation.
If a salesperson can digest this content on day one, they’ll be in a better spot once their initial deals start gaining traction.
Disseminate tribal knowledge for long-term self-sufficiency.
Using the same example as above, let’s say that rep moves forward to the next stage of the sales process (whether that’s a demo, trial, SOW, etc.). They’ll likely get ad hoc questions that dive deep into the product, compliance regulations, industry landscape, and much more throughout those steps.
So, that salesperson will need to understand that information and additional nuances that may influence the best response, such as industry, company size, or competitive differentiation.
That’s where sales content can once again play a key role. That rep can further dig into requirements, find trends, and find responses to common objections. Additionally, they can search security documentation and conditions for this industry to ensure they understand the regulatory environment and speak intelligently to the decision-maker.
This content can be a safety blanket and ultimately put a newer sales rep on the road to self-sufficiency.
...all while providing a better buying experience and less effort by the greater team.
We frequently talk about how valuable pre-sales and sales engineers are to your revenue team.
If these individuals are such valuable and crucial team members, we should be optimizing the time they’re spending engaging with the team and prospects. By spending less time answering one-off questions and enabling new reps, they’ll be able to provide greater value and better customer experiences farther down the funnel—helping your team can close more business.
Along with presales, this benefits your sales managers, who can spend less time coaching on product nuances and more on sales strategies. Senior sales executives can spend less time providing past deal context and more on their own active deals. Sales operations will spend less time finding content and resources and spend more time on supporting the broader team efforts. AND it benefits your buyers by ultimately removing friction from the buying experience (no one loves those “I don’t know, let me ask” answers).
All while building sales rep confidence and creating more momentum in the sales funnel.
So, why don’t we tap this resource more often?
Usually, if a team hasn’t tapped this resource, it’s because their content may be living in disparate places or isn’t searchable in an easy way.
Ask yourself this: If a new rep is looking for a targeted executive summary for a targeted industry, where might they begin?
If you can’t think of a clear answer to that question, the rep won’t know either. So, they’ll reinvent the wheel, maybe get some feedback from the team, and be on their way.
Most RFP response systems aren’t built for this type of searching, and sales enablement solutions can be hit or miss depending on what gets added into the system.
That’s why we built a sales content collaboration system that bridges the gap—housing all your sales content in one place, making it easily searchable and usable for any situation. Check out more about sales content collaboration here.