Engagement is the lifeblood of the sales conversation – an indifferent customer is a deal waiting to fail. And in our hyper-informed age, you can’t deeply engage your customer without content. Every interaction with customers involves content and more content – pitch decks, white papers, case studies and on and on. To meet the insatiable need, marketing teams are churning out a sea of material. Sales teams are overwhelmed by it all and feel like they are drowning .. but still don’t have exactly what they need.
Everyone knows their content isn’t moving the sales process forward as effectively as it should, but nobody is sure exactly why or how. We have met with many, many customers to understand how they use content to drive sales. Virtually all of them complain about three problems that constantly hold them back from closing more deals.
1. Sellers Don’t Have The Right Content
Your sales team should be connected to exactly the content they need – relevant, engaging, tailored to the current opportunity, and proven to be effective in moving the deal forward. As if. What really happens is that content is scattered across multiple internal portals, Dropbox and Box directories, and on their disk drives. Search doesn’t work, half the items they use are out of date, nothing is scored to show how effective it is, and the main way to find something is by sending email to another seller.
2. Customer Engagement is Invisible
You sent three attachments to your customer, and you hope that it was what they wanted to see. Did they open it? Spend any time on it? Which part of the sales deck really interested them? You have no idea – once you ship it off, you are flying blind.
3. Marketing Can’t Tell What Works
The marketing team is constantly under the gun to produce more content – white papers, battlecards, case studies … there is never enough. Every day there are more requests and more complaints that the sales team doesn’t have what it needs. “We’re getting killed by competitor X – give us something we can send!” “Where is the demo script to show off product Y?” The marketers churn out item after item, and then … nothing. No feedback, no data – did the sales team find it? Has any customer ever actually seen it? Did they read it or ignore it? Nobody knows .. but another dozen requests just came in, so marketing keeps grinding out even more. The purpose of a sales enablement platform is to solve those three problems, so that companies engage more effectively with their customers and win more deals. It does that by closing the loop between marketing, sales, and the customer … so you have the visibility and insight that lets you optimize content usage across the entire sales cycle. How? By having four components that work together:
- A sales portal with a modern search and browse experience. We take it for granted that we can find whatever we need on the Web by typing a few words into Google. Behind the scenes, the magic of data science looks through billions of items to find what we want to see. Yet when your sales team needs to find a document, they probably send an email. An effective portal brings your content into the modern age, so every seller can find what they need, ranked by what is most relevant and what has performed the best.
- A sales playbook shows every seller carefully targeted content for each opportunity they are working on. Particularly valuable in a more prescribed selling environment, the playbook highlights exactly the items that a seller is most likely to need, with content scored based on how effectively it has performed in previous deals. Playbook content can appear as part of the opportunity inside your CRM system, so that sellers don’t have to hunt around for it.
- A sales pitch service that lets you present directly to customers and track their engagement. Sellers are alerted the moment a prospect clicks through to look at any of the content. They can see exactly which part of the pitch caught the customer’s attention, so they know what to focus on … and when to call.
- Engagement analytics for every stage of the sales cycle. Know the items that the sales team is looking at and what they are ignoring. See what gets pitched to customers, whether it engages their interest, and which content influences the deals that close. Measure the impact on deal velocity and conversion rates.
Together, these four building blocks represent the flow of content from marketing to sales to the customer. The portal and playbook connect sellers to the best and most relevant content for each situation. The pitch service gives them flexible ways to present it to customers and see if it is getting any attention. Analytics shows the content that is being used and how it is performing. The result is that customers get more relevant and more compelling content. Which means that you will engage them more effectively, close more deals, and drive more revenue. Engagement is at the heart of the sales process, and now you can measure and optimize it through every step of the buyer’s journey.