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manufacturing sales content management
September 1, 2022

7 Steps to Turbo–Charge Sales Content for Manufacturers

manufacturing sales content management

I think we can all agree that the best use of a salesperson’s time is not creating collateral. Cutting and pasting a deck together or editing a product sheet on the fly means less time prospecting and closing deals.

Yet that’s what many sales reps do—especially those working at manufacturing and industrial companies. They can’t find the content they need, so they create their own—and cut into valuable selling time.

As a result, sales teams end up with a disjointed content “system,” with content located in multiple locations. Not only that, but there’s a high chance the content is off message, has duplicates, or is out of date. Teams also have no way of knowing if the content is effective in moving deals forward.

Manufacturers need a modern sales content management system that is organized, secure, and easily accessible, so sales reps always have the right information at the right time to be successful. Because when you empower your sales team with the right content, they’re able to sell more confidently, effectively, and efficiently.

7 Steps to a Strong Sales Content Management System

Creating a strong sales content management system may seem daunting, but if you break the task into parts and enlist the help of others, the job becomes much more manageable.

Using this seven-step process, you will soon have a system that helps you organize, manage, distribute, and track the highest-performing resources—so your sellers are always equipped to solve every buyer’s challenges.

1. Build a Sales Content Team

If you are the primary in-house content owner, responsible for leading the sales content strategy for your company, reach out to colleagues and build a team to support your content transformation process.

Suggested roles include:

Content Lead: This person is responsible for the ongoing content lifecycle management for the organization. In larger companies, you may also want one or two team members from each business unit to support the project.

Content Creators: These include product and content marketers, thought leaders and influencers within your organization, subject matter experts (SMEs), specialists, sales leaders, and top-performing sales reps.

Content SME: This is an in-house expert from the sales or marketing team who deeply understands your sellers’ needs.

2. Create Your Sales Content Goals

Start with your organization or business unit goals and the opportunities to align your sales content with those goals. Use the SMART goal methodology to define your project goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

Examples of SMART Content Strategy Goals:

Create <X Number> of new pieces of content by <date>

Transform <X Percent> of our content by <date>

Drive <X Percent> of users to view content in <Y> Channel by <date>

3. Audit Your Existing Sales Content

Conduct an audit of your existing sales content to understand the current state of your materials. The goal is to review all the content your sales team uses today.

Taking stock of your content library across all sources helps you decide whether each item fits your strategic plan. Begin by cataloging the existing library, surveying key constituents, and analyzing results.

Note when each item was created and last updated. This will help you determine content that may no longer be relevant or compliant and should be omitted from your platform. You should also identify duplicate content and missing content and keep track of opportunities for new content.

In addition, collect input from the sales team to help guide your updated content strategy. Ask sellers about the content they have access to today and identify gaps in content topics and types. Develop a plan for migrating, transferring, or adding to this content.

4. Organize Your Sales Content

After you perform your content audit, it’s time to get organized. Start by identifying your content taxonomy: What channels, categories, sections, and tags do you want to implement to effectively organize your content? Then, finalize your list of content creators so that you can address relevant topics.

Your next step is to think about the actions you want to take for each item included in your content inventory:

  • Keep content as is
  • Remove content entirely
  • Update and enhance content
  • Create new content

Document each action, assign owners, set due dates, and prioritize the content that needs to be migrated to your platform or must be created. This also enables you to track, prioritize, and streamline the progress made to your entire content library while securing alignment across your team.

5. Create, Activate, and Share Content

Now it’s time to put your plan into action. This includes working with your content creators to generate content, as well as optimizing existing content through tags and collection curation.

You must also “activate” each piece of content to make sure your sellers understand its purpose, when to use it, and how to use it. You can transform static content and boost seller adoption by embedding it into video, breaking up longer form content with chapters, or adding prompts to videos to make them more engaging or interactive.

For example, PowerPoint documents and PDFs often lack context, and text-heavy one-pagers can be overwhelming. Your sellers may not know how to use these documents in conversations with customers or prospects.

Try augmenting these documents with video. You can teach sellers how to use collateral by having an expert explain it, provide best practices, or show examples of “what good looks like.” Externally, you can provide buyers with the story behind the collateral and highlight key takeaways.

After uploading, transforming, or creating your content, share the collections with the appropriate audiences across your user base.

6. Monitor Sales Rep Engagement with Your Content

The next step is to monitor content use and platform adoption. Based on these insights, your team will continue to learn and adapt, uncovering gaps within your existing framework, updating content, and identifying new opportunities to refine your strategy as you evolve.

There are two types of measurement: quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative measurement allows you to monitor platform engagement and content usage. Your platform dashboards should help you quantify the effectiveness of your content and internal and external content use.

  • Which type of content is driving the most views?
  • How many unique viewers are driving the views?
  • Which content is being shared the most externally or not getting used at all?
  • Which content is generating the most views by external audiences?

With qualitative measurement, you want to gather feedback through surveys and brainstorming. It’s a great way to measure how receptive sellers are to your sales content. To get sellers’ feedback, record videos in which you describe content you plan to create and ask users to respond.

7. Update and Optimize Your Sales Content

Once you have measured the effectiveness of your content, it’s time to start optimizing it. Use your qualitative and quantitative data to improve and iterate your sales content management.

Keep doing what’s working well and create more of the content that is driving higher engagement rates. Consider transforming existing content to improve engagement and results. Archive unused or outdated/non-compliant content.

Keep in mind that measuring and optimizing your content strategy is an ongoing cyclical process. You want to make sure content remains relevant and useful for your sellers.

The Power of a Modern Sales Content Management System

With a modern sales content management system, not only will you make it easier for sellers to find content, but you’ll also offer contextual guidance on how to use that content most effectively.

In addition, content creators can get real-world feedback on what they produce, allowing you to improve the effectiveness of content and messaging. You’ll also understand which content lifts sales to spend your energy more wisely to create content that wins over buyers.

More importantly, your sellers will spend more time doing what they want to do—talking with buyers and selling.

Learn More:

Download The Manufacturer’s Guide to Sales Content Management and learn how to turn your manufacturing sales content into an engine that will turbo-charge growth.

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