Driving Sales Effectiveness with Great Content Quick Reference Guide
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Driving Sales Effectiveness with Great Content Quick Reference Guide

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This quick reference guide identifies three common root ...

This quick reference guide identifies three common root
causes of the sales content problem and three strategies
for addressing it. You’ll learn about short-term strategies
that can help you drive customer value and sales
effectiveness. You’ll also learn how small investments
in content development can lead to outsized returns in
bigger deals and higher close rates.

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Driving Sales Effectiveness with Great Content Quick Reference Guide Driving Sales Effectiveness with Great Content Quick Reference Guide Document Transcript

  • How effective are your company’s sales content and tools? Do they help improve close rates and deal sizes? Or do your reps waste time on failed searches and become amateur marketers who create their own content? Today, many companies exhaust valuable resources on tools and assets that never get used, or worse, steer salespeople toward low conversion rates, small deal sizes, and heavy discounts. This quick reference guide identifies three common root causes of the sales content problem and three strategies for addressing it. You’ll learn about short-term strategies that can help you drive customer value and sales effectiveness. You’ll also learn how small investments in content development can lead to outsized returns in bigger deals and higher close rates. PRODUCTOVERLOAD CONSISTENCY CONTEXT Customers and prospects care about their problems first – not your products. How much time do your salespeople spend looking for information, mashing up documents, or writing new ones? What does a salesperson need to do to prepare for a meeting, have a successful conversation, and close to a next step? DRIVING SALES EFFECTIVENESS WITH GREAT CONTENT Your fastest path to revenue may lie in improving one or more stages in the buying/selling process. If your sales leadership can identify a set of activities where small improvements will deliver big returns, you may be able to make a large contribution to revenue with minimal resources. Unlike the previously described Standards transformation, where you create content across the portfolio, here you concentrate on a window of opportunity in the buying/selling process and create just enough content to make a difference. Here’s how to start: • Ask sales leaders to identify stages in the selling/buying process where small improvements can pay big dividends (e.g., developing a business case) • Ask sales operations or training leaders to explain what should be happening at these stages • Interview sellers and subject matter experts to find what they need to be successful • Identify a set of assets that could help make a difference • Pilot a set of assets and ask for feedback You can use these transformation strategies together, but be careful not to do too much at once. For example, a sales-process transformation focused on the Solution Development stage might also require some standardized solution product information. The result is a Process transformation (#3) combined with a limited Consistency transformation (#2) focused on only one or two documents. Keep in mind that the larger your portfolio and company, the more stakeholders you’ll have to work with, and you’ll have to spend more effort rolling out your program. So plan accordingly. TRANSFORMATION: PROCESS FINAL THOUGHTS 95 West Court Street Doylestown, PA 18901 215.230.4340 info@launchintl.com www.launchinternational.com WHY CONTENT MISSES THE MARK What it is: Content develop- ment targeted at a specific point in the buying/selling process Use it when: You’ve identi- fied a buying/selling stage where small improvements can yield a large return It leads to: Increased opportunities, larger deal sizes, and higher win rates
  • What it is: Systematic approach to driving consisten- cy in sales and marketing assets Use it when: You need to deliver time savings over a short period or facilitate bundled product & service solutions It leads to: Time savings for sellers and authors, larger deal sizes, brand consistency, and reduced risk WHAT TO DO? No company can shut its doors and replace everything. What’s needed is a phased approach starting with areas that produce the biggest return. Customers and prospects care about their problems first – not your products. It’s a truth as old as sales itself, but recent trends make it even more significant. With today’s availability of information, buyers do more research and form their own opinions before talking to your salespeople. And recent studies have confirmed that buyers are increasingly frustrated with salespeople who lead with product pitches. Yet all too often, companies overload their content libraries with product and solution information. They fail to provide resources on customer issues and how to guide a buyer toward addressing them. This sets their salespeople up for deals where the buyer is driving the agenda, leading to single product transactions, head-to-head feature/function battles with competitor products, and deal decisions based on lowest price. Which way are you steering your salespeople? To find out, do a simple audit on a representative sample of sales and marketing content. Create two piles for what you review: • Pile 1: Industry information, business trends, customer problems, and ways to address them • Pile 2: Product and solution descriptions, features, functions, and technical specifications If the count skews toward Pile 2, your reps may be missing opportunities to sell high, increase deal sizes, and differentiate against competitors. How much time do your salespeople spend looking for information, mashing up documents, or writing new ones? Do your vendors, marketers, and subject matter experts know what to create or what standards to follow? If not, even the most diligent, well-intentioned authors will contribute to a hodgepodge of materials – a virtual flea market of multiple document types, many of which are likely redundant and out-of-date. The most immediate symptoms are complaints from sales and low usage rates. Beyond that are the frustrations of authors who churn out content by the bushel and still have to respond to one-off requests. But there is also an effectiveness problem. Salespeople often have a subset of products they are comfortable discussing. Content chaos makes it difficult for salespeople to learn about new offerings. It persuades them to sell further into that comfort zone and dissuades them from offering more of your portfolio. The result is money left on the table in the form of smaller deals and missed opportunities. Your reps conduct a wide variety of sales meetings depending on where the buyer is on a journey from identifying a problem to solving it. In order to create effective content, authors need help understanding what actually happens in these meetings. What does the buyer know and care about? What does a salesperson need to do to prepare for a meeting, have a successful conversation, and close to a next step? Companies often try to help with training and playbooks. Too often, however, training is all about the product, and playbooks are little more than repurposed data sheets and solution guides. How much of your content helps a salesperson to share valuable insights, ask the right questions, and help buyers understand the positive outcomes they can achieve with your help? If it doesn’t support these activities, your salespeople may be missing opportunities altogether, or leaving money on the table with small deals. PROBLEM: PRODUCT OVERLOAD PROBLEM: CONSISTENCY PROBLEM: CONTEXT If buyers don’t want products pushed at them, what do they want? Research has shown that buyers value sales meetings in which they can develop a deeper understanding of the business issues and problems they face. They want insights, not product pitches. But where do these insights come from? Our experience has shown that most companies have a wealth of unique points of view – they wouldn’t be in business without a distinctive way of delivering value to customers. The problem is, these companies haven’t shown their salespeople how to use those insights to engage buyers. The good news is, arming your salespeople with tools to do so is easier than you think. In fact, the fastest path to elevating sales conversations lies in packaging those insights into buyer-friendly content and training your salespeople to share those insights. Here’s how to start: • Review your website, company publications, and marketing materials • Select up to three insights that are unique to your company and simple enough to be communicated in a sales conversation • For each one, ask subject matter experts to explain how it connects to your company’s products and solutions • Select a finalist based on its potential to motivate customers • Create a short, buyer-facing document that summarizes the insight in simple terms • For salespeople, develop a presentation, whiteboard, and/or discussion guide • Ask your sales leadership team to encourage salespeople to engage prospects with that insight • Gather feedback on those efforts, and use them to develop additional insights Dealing with content chaos may take precedence over any other objective in the short term. Perhaps Marketing is concerned about brand consistency, or Sales is fed up with time wasted on searches, or your CEO is worried about liability risk from “rogue” content. In most cases, it’s impossible to replace all content in the short term. Instead, success lies in starting with a set of high-impact documents and creating in-depth authoring guidance. By encouraging usage of the “must-haves,” you may find that other assets types are no longer needed. The result? Less content, more brand compliance, time savings for authors and sellers, and reduced risk of the wrong promises being made to buyers. Here’s how to start: • Interview salespeople to identify the highest-priority assets • Create fully designed prototypes, and ask for feedback • Create authoring standards and guides – include directions on branding, messaging, and writing style • Train authors and vendors on following the standards, and provide coaching as necessary • Include this training in onboarding programs for new staff TRANSFORMATION: INSIGHTS TRANSFORMATION: STANDARDS CONTENT TRANSFORMATION STRATEGIES
  • What it is: Systematic approach to driving consisten- cy in sales and marketing assets Use it when: You need to deliver time savings over a short period or facilitate bundled product & service solutions It leads to: Time savings for sellers and authors, larger deal sizes, brand consistency, and reduced risk WHAT TO DO? No company can shut its doors and replace everything. What’s needed is a phased approach starting with areas that produce the biggest return. Customers and prospects care about their problems first – not your products. It’s a truth as old as sales itself, but recent trends make it even more significant. With today’s availability of information, buyers do more research and form their own opinions before talking to your salespeople. And recent studies have confirmed that buyers are increasingly frustrated with salespeople who lead with product pitches. Yet all too often, companies overload their content libraries with product and solution information. They fail to provide resources on customer issues and how to guide a buyer toward addressing them. This sets their salespeople up for deals where the buyer is driving the agenda, leading to single product transactions, head-to-head feature/function battles with competitor products, and deal decisions based on lowest price. Which way are you steering your salespeople? To find out, do a simple audit on a representative sample of sales and marketing content. Create two piles for what you review: • Pile 1: Industry information, business trends, customer problems, and ways to address them • Pile 2: Product and solution descriptions, features, functions, and technical specifications If the count skews toward Pile 2, your reps may be missing opportunities to sell high, increase deal sizes, and differentiate against competitors. How much time do your salespeople spend looking for information, mashing up documents, or writing new ones? Do your vendors, marketers, and subject matter experts know what to create or what standards to follow? If not, even the most diligent, well-intentioned authors will contribute to a hodgepodge of materials – a virtual flea market of multiple document types, many of which are likely redundant and out-of-date. The most immediate symptoms are complaints from sales and low usage rates. Beyond that are the frustrations of authors who churn out content by the bushel and still have to respond to one-off requests. But there is also an effectiveness problem. Salespeople often have a subset of products they are comfortable discussing. Content chaos makes it difficult for salespeople to learn about new offerings. It persuades them to sell further into that comfort zone and dissuades them from offering more of your portfolio. The result is money left on the table in the form of smaller deals and missed opportunities. Your reps conduct a wide variety of sales meetings depending on where the buyer is on a journey from identifying a problem to solving it. In order to create effective content, authors need help understanding what actually happens in these meetings. What does the buyer know and care about? What does a salesperson need to do to prepare for a meeting, have a successful conversation, and close to a next step? Companies often try to help with training and playbooks. Too often, however, training is all about the product, and playbooks are little more than repurposed data sheets and solution guides. How much of your content helps a salesperson to share valuable insights, ask the right questions, and help buyers understand the positive outcomes they can achieve with your help? If it doesn’t support these activities, your salespeople may be missing opportunities altogether, or leaving money on the table with small deals. PROBLEM: PRODUCT OVERLOAD PROBLEM: CONSISTENCY PROBLEM: CONTEXT If buyers don’t want products pushed at them, what do they want? Research has shown that buyers value sales meetings in which they can develop a deeper understanding of the business issues and problems they face. They want insights, not product pitches. But where do these insights come from? Our experience has shown that most companies have a wealth of unique points of view – they wouldn’t be in business without a distinctive way of delivering value to customers. The problem is, these companies haven’t shown their salespeople how to use those insights to engage buyers. The good news is, arming your salespeople with tools to do so is easier than you think. In fact, the fastest path to elevating sales conversations lies in packaging those insights into buyer-friendly content and training your salespeople to share those insights. Here’s how to start: • Review your website, company publications, and marketing materials • Select up to three insights that are unique to your company and simple enough to be communicated in a sales conversation • For each one, ask subject matter experts to explain how it connects to your company’s products and solutions • Select a finalist based on its potential to motivate customers • Create a short, buyer-facing document that summarizes the insight in simple terms • For salespeople, develop a presentation, whiteboard, and/or discussion guide • Ask your sales leadership team to encourage salespeople to engage prospects with that insight • Gather feedback on those efforts, and use them to develop additional insights Dealing with content chaos may take precedence over any other objective in the short term. Perhaps Marketing is concerned about brand consistency, or Sales is fed up with time wasted on searches, or your CEO is worried about liability risk from “rogue” content. In most cases, it’s impossible to replace all content in the short term. Instead, success lies in starting with a set of high-impact documents and creating in-depth authoring guidance. By encouraging usage of the “must-haves,” you may find that other assets types are no longer needed. The result? Less content, more brand compliance, time savings for authors and sellers, and reduced risk of the wrong promises being made to buyers. Here’s how to start: • Interview salespeople to identify the highest-priority assets • Create fully designed prototypes, and ask for feedback • Create authoring standards and guides – include directions on branding, messaging, and writing style • Train authors and vendors on following the standards, and provide coaching as necessary • Include this training in onboarding programs for new staff TRANSFORMATION: INSIGHTS TRANSFORMATION: STANDARDS CONTENT TRANSFORMATION STRATEGIES
  • How effective are your company’s sales content and tools? Do they help improve close rates and deal sizes? Or do your reps waste time on failed searches and become amateur marketers who create their own content? Today, many companies exhaust valuable resources on tools and assets that never get used, or worse, steer salespeople toward low conversion rates, small deal sizes, and heavy discounts. This quick reference guide identifies three common root causes of the sales content problem and three strategies for addressing it. You’ll learn about short-term strategies that can help you drive customer value and sales effectiveness. You’ll also learn how small investments in content development can lead to outsized returns in bigger deals and higher close rates. PRODUCTOVERLOAD CONSISTENCY CONTEXT Customers and prospects care about their problems first – not your products. How much time do your salespeople spend looking for information, mashing up documents, or writing new ones? What does a salesperson need to do to prepare for a meeting, have a successful conversation, and close to a next step? DRIVING SALES EFFECTIVENESS WITH GREAT CONTENT Your fastest path to revenue may lie in improving one or more stages in the buying/selling process. If your sales leadership can identify a set of activities where small improvements will deliver big returns, you may be able to make a large contribution to revenue with minimal resources. Unlike the previously described Standards transformation, where you create content across the portfolio, here you concentrate on a window of opportunity in the buying/selling process and create just enough content to make a difference. Here’s how to start: • Ask sales leaders to identify stages in the selling/buying process where small improvements can pay big dividends (e.g., developing a business case) • Ask sales operations or training leaders to explain what should be happening at these stages • Interview sellers and subject matter experts to find what they need to be successful • Identify a set of assets that could help make a difference • Pilot a set of assets and ask for feedback You can use these transformation strategies together, but be careful not to do too much at once. For example, a sales-process transformation focused on the Solution Development stage might also require some standardized solution product information. The result is a Process transformation (#3) combined with a limited Consistency transformation (#2) focused on only one or two documents. Keep in mind that the larger your portfolio and company, the more stakeholders you’ll have to work with, and you’ll have to spend more effort rolling out your program. So plan accordingly. TRANSFORMATION: PROCESS FINAL THOUGHTS 95 West Court Street Doylestown, PA 18901 215.230.4340 info@launchintl.com www.launchinternational.com WHY CONTENT MISSES THE MARK What it is: Content develop- ment targeted at a specific point in the buying/selling process Use it when: You’ve identi- fied a buying/selling stage where small improvements can yield a large return It leads to: Increased opportunities, larger deal sizes, and higher win rates