Only 58% of sales reps made quota last year.

Sales people only spend 37% of their time actually selling.

Sales reps spend 35% of their time searching for or creating sales content.

70% of the reps say they don’t have the knowledge and tools to add value to their sales conversations

Sales managers only spend 20.8% of their time coaching.

These facts come from the 2015 CSO Insights Sales Management Optimization study and from SiriusDecisions.

Houston, we have a sales productivity problem! 

The frustrating part of this problem is that it’s NOT “new news” to anyone involved with B2B sales.

If you’re a sales manager, one way that the sales productivity problem manifests itself is in “the tale of two presentations”.

In an all too familiar situation, you’re in a sales meeting where your sale rep presents inappropriate or outdated slides, or worse, slides meant for a completely different audience. You either sit there and take it, or jump in and try to correct the course of the conversation. You’re feeling terrible.

Or, you experience the opposite situation where the presentation is flawless. The sales rep presents the latest slides with the current sales messages and up-to-date statistics. The sales rep is organized and confident, probably because he/she properly prepared for the meeting in advance. You’re feeling great!

You’d think it would be simple to repeat the second experience every time, but it’s not. We’d like to believe that all reps follow the same process to get prepared for a meeting. We’d like to think they ask the prospect all the right questions and research all the right things to present in their meetings. Here are just a few of the variables that influence the outcome of a presentation:

  • Did the sales rep review the presentation materials with the sales manager before the call? If yes, the manager might have corrected the problem in advance. That’s assuming the manger had the right content to share.
  • Did the sales rep ask the customer “who” specifically would be attending the presentation? If yes, that would allow the rep to select and prepare the right content for the specific audience.
  • Was the sales rep aware that industry- or persona-specific content was available to them for their presentation? If yes, that would go a long way in ensuring the right content was presented.
  • Did the sales rep ask another sales rep in the office for suggestions on presentation materials?  If they asked the “right rep” perhaps they received the “right content”, or if they asked the “wrong rep”, they got the “wrong content”.

Sales coaching is one of the most valued skills for any individual manager or company to develop. There are many aspects to proper sales coaching, but one important aspect is coaching a sales rep on their content delivery and sales presentation skills. It’s critical to ensure that valuable insights and messages are being shared and that the value of your solution is differentiating your offering from that of your competitor’s. But, sales managers have so little time for effective content coaching.

OK, Houston, we’ve isolated one part of the problem….now give me a solution.

Simple. Given that sales managers only have 20.8% of their time available for coaching and that time needs to be spread across many aspects of coaching (account strategies, pipeline management, contract negotiations, etc.), let’s just eliminate any coaching that’s related to content. Let’s automate that process. Surprisingly, this is NOT “new news” either….it’s called a sales enablement system. A system that allow the sales reps to get the right content, to the right person, at the right time, in the right form.

Delivering the right sales content has two parts. First you need the right content to deliver to the sales reps. Second, they’ll need content to share with their customers. Sales reps will need content to:

  •          Get trained
  •          Prospect
  •          Prepare for sales conversations
  •          Engage with the prospects
  •          Share with prospects

No shortcuts! 

Don’t try to redistribute the “marketing content” as a solution to the sales productivity problem. Remember, per the American Marketing Association, 90% of marketing content is not used by sales reps. There’s a reason for that, marketing content and sales content are different, they serve different audiences with different requirements. To really solve the problem, you’ll need a sales content strategy.

Once you have the content, make it easy to find. Even better, have relevant content featured at the “point of work”, in context with the opportunity that the rep is working on. As a sales manager, your content coaching is done for you and the “tale of the two presentations” can become a thing of the past.

In a nutshell

Sales reps are spending way too much time searching for or creating the right content. Sales managers are challenged with finding enough time to coach the reps on preparing and delivering the right content. Automating the process of managing, delivering and tracking content will dramatically increase sales productivity and allow sales to sell more and sales managers to spend more time coaching.

The Value Shift Sales Content Grader