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Content Effectiveness

Sales Content Effectiveness is Hard to Achieve—Here’s 4 Steps to Get There

February 18, 2021

As a community, sales professionals and sales leaders are continually looking for ways to drive sales effectiveness. Adopting sales methodologies, rolling out enablement strategies, and automating repetitive tasks for reps, are just a handful of the levers we look to pull to drive results across the revenue team.

But, there is a missing (and highly fundamental) piece of the puzzle we’ve yet to crack: sales content. The content our teams use is the gasoline that powers the sales engine. A few examples: 

  • The product information new account executives digest as they are onboarding
  • The email response a solutions consultant crafts to a prospect’s technical question
  • An upsell proposal used to grow an existing strategic account
  • A statement of work that outlines a professional services engagement 

There is a myriad of tools to generate this content more quickly, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to sales content effectiveness. In other words, is your revenue team using the very best content available in each of these instances?

Below, we’ve mapped the four stages to true sales content effectiveness, so your organization can optimize and scale sales content instead of just superficially speeding up the creation. 

1. Making content more efficient.

Typically the first content “pain” teams feel is in repetitive, response-focused content - RFPs are a great example. That’s because these requests can be highly monotonous, arduous, and require a lot of manual effort. Those dimensions also make the associated processes ripe for automation.

Process considerations:

  • What portions of this content can be automated? (Especially for Security Questionnaires, you can often make these requests painless and quick.)
  • Who quarterbacks this process?
  • Which teams are typically involved in the response process?
  • Have we documented and created a clear process for these requests?

Software/Tool considerations:

  • Project Management software (especially if there are many stakeholders involved)
  • Content Management System for easy access to boilerplate content storage
  • RFP/Proposal software to manage these requests

2. Personalizing content at scale.

Personalization is an aspect of content that can be difficult to achieve early on. As requests pile up and deals become more complex, this can become quite manual and difficult to execute well. 

You may be adding sales proposals to the mix as well as the traditional response management requests to provide prospects and customers with a more strategic, tailored message. 

So, how can you inject creativity into your responses and differentiate yourself from the competition? You’ll need to find a way to automate content personalization for simple customizations like company names and short phrases. 

Process considerations:

  • Can you rely on the information within your CRM to drive personalization effectively?
  • What can you easily personalize? What changes with each request or proposal?
  • Do you need to phrase content differently to insert personalization tokens easily?

Software/Tool considerations:

  • CRM integration with your RFP software
  • Sales Enablement software to personalize more media-rich proposals

3. Ensuring content is compliant and accurate at all times.

As you scale, you may run into difficulties ensuring the content you’re putting forth is compliant, up to date, and accurate. Perhaps the issue of tribal knowledge sitting within pockets of your team has become pervasive enough to impact the accuracy of your content

With disparate teams, multiple regions, and various offerings, these challenges become all the more real. 

So, you need a solution that allows for full content transparency, review, and archival when it inevitably becomes stale. In other words, a dynamic, single source of truth.

Process considerations:

  • What is the process to ensure we update content when regulations, specifications, or messaging changes?
  • Who alerts us to these changes? Security? Presales? Marketing?
  • How often do these updates happen? Do we need an ad-hoc process or a more regular cadence?

Software/Tool considerations:

  • Sales Content Collaboration software (an upgrade from RFP software to allow for boilerplate content creation/updates in the system)

4. Tracking and monitoring content effectiveness.

Now that you’ve streamlined processes and systems to generate high-quality content, you’re ready to transform that content into expertise in the way you articulate value and communicate with customers and prospects. 

Likely, your organization has grown in size, and now the complexity of knowledge and content you need to harness is wide and deep. Whether it’s understanding what resonates in a particular industry or vertical or deep product and functionality knowledge that updates frequently, you need the ability to track the effectiveness of every message. 

So, the final rung of the sales content effectiveness ladder is finding a solution that assists in curating and maintaining vast subject matter expert knowledge. 

Process considerations:

  • What effectiveness metrics matter to your team? (If you’re at a loss, we have some suggestions)
  • What reporting cadence will you operate within?
  • Who is responsible for reporting and associated improvements?
  • Do you have a Sales Content Collaboration partner who can consult with you on these?

Software/Tool considerations:

  • Deep CRM integration with your Sales Content Collaboration software

Where are you on your sales content optimization journey?

No matter where you are in your approach to content, one thing is certain: taking an intentional approach to your content will pay dividends later on. By prioritizing content and looking at it as an invaluable asset for your business, rather than a mere hindrance or box to check, you will set yourself apart from the competition. 

Want to learn more about the Sales Content Maturity Cycle and how you can improve processes? Check out our infographic to learn more.

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