Sales enablement can be thought of as the meeting ground of sales, marketing, and technology.
More precisely, it’s an intersection point where marketing materials and technological resources are created either specifically for use by the sales department, or when the sales department makes use of pre-existing marketing materials and technologies to supercharge their efforts.
Hubspot defines sales enablement as a process in which a sales team is provided with the resources they need to close more deals. This can take the form of tools, i.e., sales engagement platforms like Mailshake, or content resources like blogs, sales scripts, and white papers.
Today, we’re going to focus on the content side of sales enablement. Specifically, we’re going to cover different types of content that you can provide your sales team with to give them the best chance of success.
This is not a completely exhaustive list, but it’s a good jumping off point that you can use to get the creative juices flowing. After reading this guide, you should have a clear idea of how to move forward with your sales enablement focused content strategy.
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1. Case Studies
When people think of sales, they often picture salespeople who speak quickly and persuasively to get a prospective customer to make a purchase.
But in actuality, that sort of strategy is usually the mark of an inexperienced and ineffective salesperson.
Sales is most effective when the process is centered around listening to a customer’s wants and needs, and providing them information on how your product fits what they’re looking for – or may be looking for in the future.
And that’s where case studies come in. Surprisingly, the people who run a company and develop products and services aren’t always completely clear on what is most important to consumers.
The sales team may think that their automation features are the main selling points, for example, when customers are really buying their product because of its outstanding customer service.
Case studies can help elucidate what customers really care about, which can arm salespeople with the information they need to convert new customers.
A useful case study should cover the challenges a customer faced, the solution they found in your product, and ultimately what sort of results they achieved. That is why getting feedback from customers is extremely important.
Essentially, case studies are an exercise in listening and letting your customers guide your sales strategy.
2. Customer Testimonials
Customer testimonials are similar to case studies, but they aren’t in-depth looks at products or services from a challenge, solutions, and results perspective.
Instead, customer testimonials are more like quick reviews – short but pithy quotes that extol the best parts of the product or service that your sales team is selling. They can sometimes be particularly useful in the beginning stages of a business when case studies aren’t available yet, but you have quite a few good reviews and happy customers.
To use customer testimonials in your sales enablement strategy, you can provide your sales team with a list of testimonials that they can then reference when selling to prospects or even make engaging testimonial videos. To make things even easier for the sales reps, you can split them up into different topics, such as customer service, features, pricing, competition, etc.
That way, if a lead starts talking about a competitor, the rep can quickly flip to that section of their sheet and alleviate some of their hesitations by telling them real-world accounts of what made customers switch over from the competition.
3. Sales Scripts
According to Forrester, only 30% of executive buyers feel that sales reps are prepared for the questions they ask during meetings, and less than a quarter (22%) said that reps understand their issues and how their product or service can help.
Those types of numbers should strike fear into the hearts of sales managers.
So, what can you do to make sure that your sales reps are as prepared as possible? It’s simple: don’t leave anything up to chance.
Sales scripts are a type of content that give your sales reps clear steps on how to conduct their sales calls. These types of scripts still allow for natural conversation, but they should include a framework along with main points that reps should hit during their calls
They may also include responses to common sales objections – ideally pulling from other content, such as customer testimonials – so that reps are prepared to handle any pushback they may get from leads.
Sales scripts are typically tested over time and based on objective data that shows that they’re effective. In this way, sales scripts can be thought of as “evidence-based sales,” much like evidence-based medicine.
While discretionary sales methods can be effective as well, having the backbone of a solid sales script to fall back on can prevent major improvised blunders that can quickly sink a sale.
There is one risk however: relying too heavily on sales scripts can make the job less interesting for your sales reps and consequently decrease their motivation. So, you may need to find a balance between heavily scripted interactions and more free flowing conversations.
4. EBooks and White Papers
Ebooks and white papers are perhaps the most information-dense types of content available. Typically, they’re loaded with facts and figures that salespeople can reference when conversing with a lead.
Originally, white papers referred to government reports, but now the term has come to be used for any document that discusses the solution to a problem.
Although they’re usually thought of as top-of-the-funnel content, having sales reps thoroughly study them can arm them with lots of information. Considering that white papers specifically are generally written to be an authoritative summary of a topic, i.e., your business, they should be required reading for all sales reps, new and old.
5. Product Demos
When people are considering buying a product, they almost always want to see how it actually works before they spend any money on it. Product demos provide a way for leads to experience the product firsthand and evaluate it on their own.
Sales reps armed with product demos have extra firepower at their disposal. When a lead asks about certain features or functionalities, the sales rep can direct them to a pre-made demo that covers that topic.
The only downside to pre-made product demos is that they aren’t as personal as a live demo from a salesperson. However, it’s always possible to use webinar software to pre-record a fine-tuned demo that a salesperson can then use as a general guide for their own personalized demos – sort of like a loose sales script.
6. One-Sheets and One-Pagers
A one-pager or one-sheet is exactly what it sounds like: a one-page overview of a company and its products or services along with a convincing summary of how it can solve various pain points.
Sales reps can use one-pagers in several ways. First, they can provide an interested lead with the one-pager to peruse over on their own. However, they can also use the one-pager as a template for their own personalized conversations and pull data and copy off of it to use in their communications.
7. Competitor Comparisons
These days, no one is shopping in a vacuum. No matter what type of product you’re selling, the customers you’re trying to reach are probably already considering at least two or three other brands that offer something very similar.
The saying that one should keep friends close and enemies closer could not be more apt.
To stay afloat in this competitive landscape, sales reps need to understand the market and how their product fits into it. To convert leads, they need to be able to pinpoint specific issues that aren’t addressed by their competitors or that their own product addresses better.
Writing up in-depth competitor comparisons can give your reps the information they need to do this effectively. Plus, these write-ups can serve as effective bottom-of-the-funnel blog content as well.
8. Email Campaigns
Effective email campaigns can help sales do their job by laying the bait for leads to bite. Whether it’s personalized cold outreach or sending email blasts to large lists, email campaigns can make contact, provide leads with some information to chew on, and ideally spark a connection.
When a lead responds well to an email, they’ll reach out, and the sales team can take it from there. Sales reps can then focus their conversations around the talking points that the initiating email covered.
It’s a bit more of a hands off approach than some of the other content types on this list, but it can be equally effective.
Sales enablement is all about arming your sales team with the resources they need to sell effectively.
Whether it’s white papers to acquaint them with your product in more detail, customer testimonials to pick out common pain points, or direct-to-consumer content like email campaigns, product demos, and one-pagers, getting the right content into the hands of your sales team can mean the difference between making and losing a sale.
This list should provide you with the foundational knowledge you need to start rolling out effective sales enablement content. Getting it right will take a long time to master, but it’s a task worth undertaking.