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July 31, 2023

From Chaos to Clarity: 4 Steps to Creating Content that Helps Sellers and Buyers

creating helpful sales content

Sales reps say they spend 51% of their time on non-core selling activity, according to the Forrester Sales Enablement Society 2022 survey. Further, sellers spend 11 hours a month looking for and modifying content for buyers, Forrester’s Q4 2020 Global Sales Enablement survey found.

Through no fault of their own, sellers are caught in the content chaos at their company. They need access to multiple things related to their job, such as how to use sales tools, sales collateral, product information, presentation decks, HR documents, and training materials. But they have a hard time finding it, the content is old, or it isn’t relevant.

Speaking at Allego’s 2023 S3 conference, Kathleen Pierce, principal analyst at Forrester, said on average there are 1,100 pieces of content available to sellers. Of the content they need, she narrowed it down to four specific types of content:

How to work: These are functional skills, such as how to use the tools and software related to their job.

How to sell: This includes the organization’s sales playbook, sales methodology, and sales learning materials.

How to work at your company: This includes formal content, such as HR and employee benefits, processes, employee standards, and meeting minutes or videos.

How to sell your solutions to your customers in your markets and against your competition: That includes product messaging, sales collateral, customer research, competitive analysis, win/loss reports, and stories from the field.

“Content tends toward chaos—anyone can create it. But chaotic content hurts sellers and buyers.”
—Kathleen Pierce, principal analyst, Forrester

The problem with internal content is it grows exponentially, created by multiple people, and often stored in different places. Finding, updating, and managing the content is often a nightmare.

“Content tends toward chaos—anyone can create it. But chaotic content hurts sellers and buyers,” Pierce said.

5 Ways Chaotic Content Hurts Sellers and Buyers:

  • Sellers spend more time looking for content than selling.
  • It slows down the buying process, potentially frustrating the buyer and causing them to lose interest.
  • Buyers receive outdated sales collateral.
  • Sellers are off message and communicate the wrong information to buyers.
  • Sellers don’t know how to use sales tools.

“Keeping content findable and relevant requires skilled attention,” Pierce said. “And each content type needs a different management strategy.”

Enablement leaders play a critical role in eliminating content chaos. They are the orchestrators. They assemble the key players and direct them in how to develop and an efficient process for curating and maintaining sales content.

To get control of your sales content and ensure sellers can easily and quickly find up-to-date content, you need a sales content management platform and a team to help you create and manage it. Pierce suggests following these four steps.

Allego logo with ebook title, The Complete Guide to Sales Content Management on yellow background with paper airplane next to themCreate and Activate Content to Accelerate Sales

Download The Complete Guide to Sales Content Management and learn how to turn your sales content into an engine that will turbo-charge growth for years to come.

4 Steps to Frictionless Sales Content

 1. Staff Up

Assemble your team: “Complex business systems require skilled staff, ongoing support, and strong leadership to deliver the intended return on investment (ROI),” Pierce said. So, you want to create a team of people to lead, train, curate content, and design the sales content management experience. The types of people you need:

Visionary leader: Someone who can tell the story, create buy-in to get others to use the system, and maintain momentum.

Trainers and change managers: These folks will onboard and support your sellers. People need continual training for the life of the platform, Forrester said. The training role ensures the training your reps receive sticks and scales as their skills grow.

Information managers: These team members curate the content and design the user experience.

Influencers: Look for three key personas in sales, marketing, customer success, customer support, and your channel who can provide insight, share thoughts about the type of content needed, and help make changes stick. Pierce categorized them as such:

Complainers: Look for people who complain about the content. They care about the content and want to be heard. If you get them on your side, they will be strong allies.

Teachers: These folks know the complexity of the sales content solution and want their work to be valued.

Newbies: These are past the initial onboarding stage and have been with the company for as much as three years. They are open and receptive, and they may have good content ideas from previous employers.

2. Listen Up

Conduct a survey of your stakeholders. Uncover what they like and dislike about the current content management system, their challenges, and what they want the system to do. Here are your key stakeholders and questions to ask, Pierce said:

Sales reps: What are your biggest challenges? Can you find the content? Is the content effective? What do you have to modify? How efficient is the process? How satisfied are you with enablement?

Sales managers: Do you have the insight you need to manage the sales team? Do you understand how enablement helps your team? How satisfied are you with enablement? How could enablement make your job easier?

Content contributors: How important is it to understand your impact on sales? How satisfied are you with your visibility into content? How well do you think you are enabling sellers? How satisfied are you with the level of effort needed to create and manage content?

3. Assess the Mess

Get baseline metrics for content findability, quality, and relevance.

Findability: Are there too many repositories? Is there too much content? Are there too many contributors? Is the content organized poorly?

Quality: Is the content outdated, inaccurate, incomplete, non-compliant, or unbranded?

Relevance: Does the content have the wrong level of detail? Are reps able to customize content? Does it fail to answer needed questions? 

Step 4: Set the Stage to Engage

During this stage, you want to “drive uptake, innovation, and ROI by removing barriers to optimal use and keeping the focus on buyers and sellers,” Pierce said.

This involves five action items:

  1. Integrate content into sales motions and readiness activities. Empower your sales reps with access to the knowledge and best practices they need to provide the right information to the right prospect at exactly the right time.
  2. Standardize where content resides. Determine the location and organization of each content type, and make sure your sellers know where to find the content. That will prevent sellers from wondering where to look.
  3. Allow content to be customized. Today’s buying experience must be hyper-personalized. That means sellers must be able to customize content they share with buyers. So, make sure sellers can adapt content. “Content should be dynamic and adaptable to each sales scenario,” Pierce said.
  4. Engage buyers with appealing relevant content and digital sales rooms (DSR). Today’s buyers are savvy, increasingly self-sufficient, and expect personalized buying experiences. Giving them personalized DSRs filled with engaging, helpful content allows you to meet their needs.
  5. Engage sellers by listening to them and highlighting their success. Acknowledge your sellers needs and challenges; create engaging, helpful content; make content easy to find; and share their content success stories.

By following these four steps, you’ll bring clarity to your content, increase productivity, and help sellers win more deals. You’ll write your own sales content story, Pierce said: “You listened, you learned, you acted, we benefitted.”

Create and Activate Content to Accelerate Sales

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