Shortening B2B Sales Cycles With Sales Enablement Content
Content marketing isn’t just for marketing or bringing more traffic. There is marketing content, as we all know.
Then there is also sales enablement content, which makes sales easier.
Content is a key ingredient of a system that empowers sales teams to sell more and sell faster. This sales system consists of software, technology, processes, and most importantly—content.
In other words, you enable your sales teams to use content to supplement their sales conversations. That content can be used to educate potential buyers, answer questions, overcome objections, and improve efficiency while selling at scale—leading to increased revenue.
Hence, sales enablement.
Because I wanted to learn more about sales enablement and how content can help, I talked to a Sales Training expert, Meghann Misiak, who has been in sales since she was 16.
“I went into retail at a specialty bathing suit shop and would run needs assessments based on women’s body types or what type of suit they wanted. Every job I’ve ever had I was selling. I worked from horrible commission-only jobs up to enterprise SaaS sales and sales leadership roles,” Misiak said.
I asked her some more questions about why she went into sales and how she uses content for sales enablement. Read on to see how our interview went.
Interview with Meghann Misiak, a Sales Training and On-boarding Specialist
Nabeel: What makes you so passionate about sales? What drives you in this field?
Meghann: What makes me so passionate about this field is the strategy. Sales is so simple and human in some ways, but complex and methodical in other ways. You could spend a lifetime learning about it, and that’s what I plan on doing.
Nabeel: That’s amazing, Meghann! So I’d love to learn more about sales enablement. What does this mean? How do you define it?
What is sales enablement?
Meghann: Sales enablement is the process of helping sellers succeed through strategy, training, content, and tools. The best Sales Enablement Specialists are the ones poring over CRM reports and constantly working with sales reps, assessing the current strategy’s strengths, and finding gaps.
They’re the ones at conferences speaking to sales leaders from across the world about sales trends and the latest techniques. They guide the sales strategy and are also known for being the ones that understand the team’s needs the most.
They are constantly asking what’s working and what’s not. They’re always filling the gaps with updated training and the latest content. They collaborate with RevOps, Sales Leadership, Marketing, Product, and even Business Development teams to develop sales enablement content that enables sellers and buyers alike.
Nabeel: That makes a lot of sense. It seems sales enablement specialists are the glue that pulls everything together in a company’s sales strategy.
How sales enablement content helps sales teams
Nabeel: So tell me more about the content. How does content fit into sales enablement?
Meghann: Sure, Nabeel. Content is the physical manifestation of your strategy. Training is typically the vehicle by which the strategy and content are delivered. Without the right sales enablement content, sales teams struggle to digest and implement their sales strategies.
If the content isn’t high quality or is based on an ineffective strategy, then you’ll see sales reps abandon the content and revert to inconsistent or outdated content that they’ve seen work in the past. We’ve all seen those sales organizations where no one is using the same deck. Performance suffers as a result. Content is the way to consistency, scalability, and ultimately performance.
Nabeel: Okay, and what types of content do you consider most effective sales enablers?
Meghann: This is a tough question to answer because content is so critical to sales organizations. If I could give my top 3, I’d say case studies, talk tracks (i.e. sales scripts), and training content.
Case studies help new reps quickly learn the value of a solution. Existing reps sell that value to other companies. Marketing teams inform how they position the value of that solution.
Relevant: 8 Essential Types of Sales Enablement Content (Digital Marketing Institute)
Meghann: Most collateral is built to do just that—benefit sales and marketing. But there are often huge misalignments between these two teams’ strategies and priorities.
Nabeel: How’s that?
Meghann: Sales teams aren’t using the marketing decks because they feel like they don’t reflect the sales strategy. Marketing is frustrated because they’re spending countless hours building decks and resources requested by sales, but ultimately don’t get used.
Nabeel: And what should we do about it?
Meghann: To solve this disconnect, I recommend forming a clear process for how collateral gets prioritized, built, tested, measured, and updated. Sales and marketing should be aligned with what content should be prioritized.
Nabeel: I agree they should be aligned. Tell me more. How can we do this in practice?
Meghann: When developing the content, sales leaders should be involved. Even better, key content (e.g. a new pitch deck) should be tested and measured within a pilot group of users before launching to the full team. Once launched, there should be strong feedback loops in terms of what’s working and what’s not working.
For teams using sophisticated asset management systems such as Highspot and Showpad, you should be measuring what the reps are searching for, what content they’re using or not using, how they’re adjusting that content, and how effective that content is at engaging potential buyers.
Only by aligning the content strategy will you drive content usage and beneficial outcomes for both teams.
What a streamlined sales enablement process looks like
Nabeel: Meghann, I’m loving this conversation about sales enablement content. Let’s zoom out for a minute, and please walk me through the usual process of sales enablement, and how sales teams use content to nudge leads through the pipeline and close deals. What does that process look like?
Meghann: Sales needs to know when, how, and why they should be using content throughout the sales process. There is typically so much content to leverage that it can be challenging for reps to keep up with the best content to use for every scenario.
This is why it’s critical to ensure that marketing and enablement is mapping content accordingly and supporting sellers’ utilization of that content with talk tracks, recorded examples, live workshops/role plays, and even systems to support the management of internal collateral.
There is such an opportunity to leverage content throughout the sales cycle:
- Mockups and case studies to generate initial interest.
- Presentation decks and client examples to deepen interest and facilitate discovery.
- ROI calculators and business case templates to streamline pricing conversations.
- Value reports assessing what your clients are seeing from your partnership.
By streamlining the strategies between marketing and sales makes it extremely easy for reps to find and utilize the content, you’ll ensure that you’re maximizing the value of each piece of content as well as maximizing deal health and close rates.
As we can see, content marketing doesn’t stop when a qualified lead gets passed on to sales.
On the contrary, it is often just the beginning. A content strategy that integrates both sales and marketing, as well as customer success, is much likelier to succeed in terms of bringing in more revenue and retaining more customers.
When we create 1) content that generates initial interest, 2) content that facilitates discovery, 3) content that moves pricing discussions forward, and 4) content that demonstrates the value your customers are getting from your company, we have a sales enablement process that is more complete, streamlined, and better able to drive revenue growth.