Contrary to common belief, marketers are not the only people involved in content creation. According to the Miller Heiman Group, marketing only creates about 39% of the content salespeople need. Other people involved in the process include Salespeople (18%), Product Management (16%), and Sales Enablement (16%) among others.
Content examples for every 3 steps of the Sales funnel:
1. Top of the funnel (Tofu): blog, chats
2. Middle of the funnel (Mofu): white papers, case studies
3. Bottom of the funnel (Bofu): surveys, templated follow-up emails
As you may know by now, content is a key element of a Sales Enablement strategy. Therefore, analyzing and optimizing content regularly is a must for every organization aiming for a successful Sales Enablement strategy that achieves marketing and sales alignment.
The idea that marketing teams can help sales focus on selling by creating assertive and optimized content is real, and here are a few things to keep in mind while creating a content-based Sales Enablement strategy.
The role of content in Sales Enablement
What is Sales Enablement content?
In Sales Enablement much like in Content Marketing, efforts go beyond sales collateral and product-specific information. Content can be anything that answers specific questions people may have and provides them with an answer they would not have been able to get elsewhere.
Digital content is remarkably diverse and accompanies potential customers throughout their journey, indirectly helping sales qualify leads and encouraging people toward conversion. Some examples of content are webinars, white books, one-pagers, sales presentations, demos, best practices, case studies, product reviews, customer success stories. If you think about it for a second, this article is also considered as content, as it reeled you into our website and might make you curious to find out what kind of product we provide.
What is the role of content?
Content is so essential to Sales Enablement, that it deserves its category within the strategy. Miller Heiman Group’s CEO, Byron Matthews says that “the modern buyer has become better at buying faster than the seller has gotten better at selling”.
In other words, sales need to adapt their approach so they can meet a prospect’s needs at any given point of the process. Customers are eager for content and will try and find it on their own before you even knew they might be needing it. To stay a step ahead relies heavily on the type and the quality of the content a company has.
If you are still not convinced that content, and especially its quality and optimization, have a direct impact on conversion, there are numbers to back this up. According to 2018 CSO Insights, companies that have a clear content strategy have a 55% win rate as compared to 43% for organizations that don’t.
Adapting your content
For content to be truly relevant, it needs to be adapted to the customer’s journey. For example, you would not show the same type of content to a prospect who has never heard of your company as you would to a prospect who is practically ready to sign a deal.
To visualize the buyer’s journey, we will use a funnel model. Engaging a prospect at the top, the middle or the bottom of the funnel requires different types and usage of the content.
Top of the funnel
At the top of the funnel, or the beginning of the prospect’s journey, the idea is to attract their attention, with an inbound strategy. To acquire an audience at this stage implies using SEO-optimized content for example. In other words, you’re taking the first step in qualifying leads for Sales through content that might interest them.
Quality content must address your prospect’s intent or purpose, as the goal is to draw in potential customers who will essentially take the next step into their journey on their own. For example, if you are selling a Sales Enablement tool, you need to create content that people looking into Sales Enablement might be interested in.
At this stage, analytics indicating the content categories that are drawing the biggest audience can be established. This gives salespeople an edge when addressing potential customers. Moreover, marketing can also adjust and create content accordingly. For example, many subtopics surround Sales Enablement, and all these topics should be researched and prioritized.
When topics are defined, SEO-optimized content can be created. It is also important that this content works for Sales, so prospects are engaged to keep digging for information. For example, adding live chats on a blog to encourage further questions or making it possible to schedule a meeting or a product demo directly with a sales representative are some ideas.
Middle of the funnel
At the middle of the funnel, prospects already know more about the company and are in a stage of consideration. This means they will be comparing competitors, looking for reviews or success stories. In other words, the middle of the funnel requires more in-depth content to reel your potential customers further down the funnel.
At this stage, content can be both available online and sent directly to prospects. Content qualifying for the middle of the funnel must be more specific and in-depth providing insights on your product or service. For example, appropriate content for the middle of the funnel includes video demos, white papers, case studies, e-books, or customer success stories.
This type of content is essentially created by Sales, as they are the ones who would have the most relevant information regarding more product-specific topics. However, it is key that marketing is involved and even owns this content to preserve and convey the brand image correctly. Middle-of-the-funnel content should reflect the brand’s image and message just as clearly as the top of the funnel to maintain the established credibility.
Bottom of the funnel
At the bottom of the funnel, the conversion is just around the corner and sales representatives play a key role in achieving it. To do so, they need the most specific- yet still properly branded- content to back up their sales speech and make it more convincing. Interesting types of content to present the prospect with are this stage are specific sales collateral or expected results during a final presentation for example.
Moreover, it is key to always keep that prospect in mind even after they’ve signed that deal. It is a virtuous circle after all, and your prospects from yesterday should become the customers that will recommend you tomorrow. To do this, content such as templated follow-up emails, one-pagers, surveys, or newsletters is relevant.