The Problem With Sales Enablement (and How to Fix It)

Content can help your sales team build relationships, handle objections, target key accounts, and expedite the sales cycle. So, why is it that according to the American Marketing Association, 90% of content goes unused by sales?

The answer is simple: They can’t find it.

It’s not enough for marketers to simply create relevant content for sales enablement. If you want to encourage your sales team to put your content to work, you have to make it readily available to help them to do so.

When Sales Isn’t Exactly “Enabled”

Your sales team’s current method of finding and using your content probably involves a few ineffective tactics.

1. They search for your organization’s content on Google.

They know that your marketing team created that one whitepaper that covers exactly what their prospect needs to hear. But where is that URL?

Google Search

As great as it is that your sales team is actively searching for your content, expecting them to rely on Google is problematic for a couple of reasons. First, it takes an unnecessary amount of time (time that should be spent selling, not searching). Second, when it comes to sending an ebook, whitepaper, or another asset that should be gated for lead generation, it could disrupt your marketing team’s lead flow because Google will index the assets over time (making the content more widely available without a gate). And also, at the end of day, you want your salespeople to use content relevant that’s relevant today, not what Google has indexed as what’s relevant over time.

2. They’re constantly requesting content from the marketing team.

When Google fails, your sales team turns to marketing. Again, this is better than not leveraging content at all; however, it means that marketing’s productivity takes a hit because they’re bombarded with content requests. As much as marketing wants to help sales, sometimes you simply don’t have time to respond every time a salesperson taps on your shoulder (sorry!). That’s what a content library for sales enablement does–it provides the content that sales needs in one central place. From there, it’s up to sales to send the content to their prospect.

3. And when they do pass it along…

They probably end up sending something that looks like this:

URL Email

This is what I like to call the “black and blue” email. You don’t need to be an optimization expert to see that this email has issues…the overwhelming text! The stack of links! Yikes, come on…we’re all marketers here–no more than one CTA per email, right? If the recipient decides to click anything at all, it’s unlikely that they’ll click beyond the first link. Even after a great first asset, sending them back to their inbox for more is dangerous as they probably have 20 new messages waiting for them, meaning all your other links are forgotten. And the worst part? All that time that was spent hunting down content goes to waste.

Arm Your Sales Team for Success

In order to help sales effectively send the right content to the right prospect at the right time (and see the right results), you need to aggregate the content you’ve created for sales enablement into one centralized library. This could be through a marketing resources center, back-end system archive, or a content hub.

Be sure to include a variety of content formats that:

  • Answer non-product related questions
  • Manage objections and address pain points
  • Feature customer challenges that were resolved using your solution (e.g. case studies)

Important: Educate your sales team on how to access your content library using whatever method of communication works best for your organization. Hold a team meeting, send an email or Slack message, or host an internal webinar if your team works remotely. (In my experience, offering free lunch always seems to capture our sales team’s attention.) Whatever you do, take the necessary amount of time to show your sales team where they can find available content.

Put Content in Action

Once you ‘ve created your content library for sales enablement and educated your sales team on how to use it, sales should be able to hand pick the content they need to close a deal.

Simply sending the content from your marketing resources center is one way to do it. However, another way is to provide a targeted stream of content that is tailored to meet a prospect’s content needs. This comes in handy when you want to package assets together at once, rather than sending piece by piece (which does come in handy fur nurture campaigns).

The example below shows a targeted stream of content set up by one of our sales reps. Disclaimer: This screenshot is from our company’s product and is just one example of how you can package your content together.

Target Stream

Providing targeted content in a tailored stream like this works well because:

  • It’s personalized. Personalization works–in fact, a recent report by VB Insight found that 87% of companies see a lift in key metrics (conversion rates, lead generation, etc.) when they employ personalization.
  • The content is extremely relevant. Not only can you customize the copy to call out a prospect by name, all of the content is highly relevant to that prospect’s role, team size, tools, industry, particular pain points, and so on. There’s no need for them to sift through your resources center to find what they’re looking for.
  • It’s free of distractions. Unlike marketing content (in which you want visitors to embark on an engagement path and get lost in your content), these targeted streams are free of distractions (e.g. extraneous CTAs and external navigation) that will pull them away from actually reading the content at hand.
  • It’s visually appealing. If your sales team has the content they need and it’s set up in an effective content experience, the last problem that needs solving is how to get rid of that ugly “black and blue” email. Your content needs to be embedded into emails in a way that’s pleasing to the eye.

Given the last point and knowing content with visuals get more views than those without (Jeff Bullas cites as much as 94% more)–why not leverage this insight in your sales emails, too? Consider embedding content directly in an email or get creative by including informative and/or entertaining images or GIFs. Some content platforms allow users to embed content directly into an email.

Don’t Make Your Sales Team Jump Through Hoops

Trying to achieve sales and marketing alignment can seem like a circus some days, but that doesn’t mean sales should have to jump through hoops to effectively leverage the content. So, make your content easy to find internally, and ensure sales has the tools they need to zero-in on prospects using this content. Content empowers closers, but only if it’s readily available to them.

Have you successfully enabled your sales team with readily available content? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments below.

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