Content Strategies for the New Mobile Frontier


Published on

Published in: Marketing, Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Content Strategies for the New Mobile Frontier

  1. 1. Tips and techniques for improving early-stage conversations Content Strategies for the NewMobile Frontier
  2. 2. Learn how to: Identify where mobile content can improve the quality and impact of sales conversations Make a case for creating a mobile content strategy to support sales initiatives Select the most important assets to develop or repurpose into a mobile-friendly format Follow a few simple guiding principles for effective mobile-ready sales content Start This ebook is about mobility in the world of sales content. 2
  3. 3. Introduction Mobile devices are spreading across the business-to-business landscape, and salespeople are among the leading users. If you’ve seen a salesperson in action—at trade shows, on airplanes, in lobbies—no doubt a smartphone or tablet was present. As a marketing or sales enablement professional, you might be concerned about what mobility means to your programs, the content you produce to support sales activities, and the goals you’re trying to achieve. The Good News? Mobile content can actually help your salespeople perform better, and the investment required is less than you would expect. 3
  4. 4. Why mobility matters You might be tempted to wait until later to establish a mobile strategy. Think again. The risks of doing nothing mount every day as mobile device adoption grows. Badly rendered content As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, tablets can cause content to appear incorrectly. For example, PowerPoint slides that look great on a laptop can look amateurish on tablets.2 Bring your own device (BYOD) 48% Salespeople using their own devices1 1 Sales Management Association. “The iPad’s Impact on the Salesforce” [Webinar]. Retrieved from 2 Tibken, Shara. “Here Come Tablets. Here Come Problems.” Wall Street Journal Online. April 2, 2012. You Your Competitors Customer Perception A large component of your brand’s equity comes as a result of the sales experience. If your competitor is using great looking content on mobile devices, you will look antiquated in comparison if you are not. Here are a few reasons to act now. 4
  5. 5. Where can mobile content make the greatest impact? Forrester Research3 asked a group of technology executives to describe a good sales meeting with one of their suppliers. 3 Holmes, Bradford. “Calling All Sales Enablement Leaders.” Weblog entry. Technology Sales Enablement Professionals. January 25, 2012. 65% 13% characterized a valuable meeting as one in which a salesperson “can address both their business problem and how the vendor can help.” of executive buyers believe that a salesperson can CLEARLY SHOW they understand their business issues and articulate a way to solve them. However, only... 5
  6. 6. Typically, buyers complete 57% of the buying process before contacting a supplier.4 That could be bad news for you. Problems Before Products The best salespeople use early-stage conversations to identify customer problems. They wait until the business issues are properly identified before talking about products. Buyer-led buying = shrinking deal sizes One CEO told us that better problem identification can mean “the difference between a $100,000 opportunity and a $10,000,000 opportunity.” 4. Your buyers create a list of needed features, find a handful of providers, and pick the lowest-priced option. 3. Your salesperson goes into product conversations and neglects to learn about underlying business issues. 2. They ask your salespeople about those products. 1. Your potential buyers conduct extensive research and form opinions about the products they need. Moral of the story: Buyers need your guidance to solve the underlying problem, not just find the lowest price.4 Toman, Nick. “10 Trends Every Sales Exec Must Know For 2012” Weblog entry. The Sales Challenger. December 7, 2011. ( Complex portfolios + High turnover rates = Confused salespeople 6
  7. 7. Tom and Maureen work for competing companies. Both have scheduled meetings with the Vice President of IT Operations for a large manufacturing company to talk about data storage. Mobile content in action: A tale of two great salespeople Tom Maureen The Product Pusher • Uses his rehearsed presentation to guide the discussion • Identifies a product opportunity during the first pitch • Develops a single-product sales opportunity • Closes a $50,000 deal within two months The Problem Solver • Uses mobile devices before, during, and after the meetings to guide the conversation • Uses a mobile-enabled coaching guide to anticipate needs and choose questions to ask • Identifies a business problem first, which leads to a multi-product sales opportunity • Closes a $1,000,000 deal in six months Which approach are you enabling? 7
  8. 8. Are your sales teams trying to cross-sell, up-sell, or solution-sell their way to larger deals? Salespeople (like Maureen) who focus on customer problems can offer multiple products and services as a unique solution—one that is harder for your competitors to match. Product-first sales opportunities (like Tom’s) run the risk of becoming small deals with greater pricing pressure. Early-stage meetings represent the critical fork in the sales road. In one direction, your buyers end up thinking you have an interesting product. In the other, your buyers conclude that you can help them solve a problem. Help your salespeople take buyers down that second path. How can you help drive better sales conversations? { Sales Effectiveness Better Conversations • Interactive • Collaborative • Just-in-time • Problem-centric High Adoption • Appealing • Sales-friendly • Simplified + = Mobility has a key role to play in this effort. In the following pages, you’ll learn how the right content, optimized for tablets and smart phones, can lead to greater sales effectiveness. Increasing Sales Effectiveness with Mobile Content 8
  9. 9. The key to your mobile content strategy is providing assets and tools that are: Making a case for a mobile content strategy Salespeople want easy-to-use, simple tools. They want to be proud to show them to customers. Go light on text, maximize white space, and you’ll see adoption skyrocket. Problem-centric: Shift the conversation from presenting products to solving problems Collaborative: Enable buyers and sellers to work together to create a buying vision Interactive: Help users navigate to the right information Just-in-time: Deliver tools that your team can use at the right point of the conversation Good Design is Important! 9
  10. 10. Sales methodologies have been encouraging a problem-first selling for decades. But salespeople have told us that their content and tools don’t support those approaches. Content designed for the sales experience On-the-go Offline Always on Active/engaging Mobile devices with the right content are a perfect fit for salespeople who spend so much time out of the office. Salespeople need content when internet access isn’t available. Synchronization ensures that latest versions will always be available. Rather than wait for a laptop to power up, salespeople can pull a tablet out of a bag to immediately illustrate a point or concept. Salespeople can pass tablets to a customer during a meeting and encourage active participation. Mobile-friendly content is your best opportunity to help sellers bring that approach to life: “We are told to focus on solutions, but all of our content is product-focused!” 10
  11. 11. Examples of two different mobile-enabled conversation paths What will this new content actually look like? How can your content get your salespeople to speak to multiple buying influences with differing agendas and sift through a wide variety of business issues? Early-stage conversations are commonly about either broad topics or specific products or solutions. We call these trend and feature conversations. Trend conversations Senior audiences care about broader issues that have significant impact on their business. Examples in IT include: • Compliance • Cloud computing • Consumerization of IT Your salespeople need to be conversant in these topics and, equally importantly, get beyond that initial interest to understand the business issues that are driving that interest. feature conversations Your salespeople still need to prepare for conversations about product features. Whether or not they have executive access, your salespeople still need to prepare for conversations about product features. And, they need to place these details into the larger context of relevant business problems. In these cases, it is equally important to understand the business issues that are driving that interest. 1. 2. 11
  12. 12. 1. Trend to Solution Conversations Salespeople, who are often uncomfortable with strategic topics, need help developing confidence to speak with executives. These guides promote fluency in higher-level issues as a starting point for identifying specific business problems. Here, success depends on finding “business pain” that will serve as a starting point for developing a solution. These guides help salespeople build a comfort level with strategic discussions by: • Anticipating potential topics of interest based on the buyer’s role • Providing simple talking points so that a salesperson can first master the basics of the conversation • Linking to additional details within the document and to external sources Whether starting at the trend or feature level, your salespeople need guidance to identify the underlying business problems. Easy-to-use, intuitive mobile conversation guides are the perfect tool. Here are two examples: 2 12
  13. 13. 2. Feature to Solution Conversations Not all meetings can be strategic. Buyers often want to talk about products and features; they may have conducted their own research and identified specific requirements. Your salespeople may be satisfied to merely answer questions rather than expand the opportunity beyond a single product. Your salespeople need to broaden the discussion and identify the business problems behind the interest. This conversation guide is designed to offer a product as an entry point and connect it to problems, needs, and initiatives commonly associated with it. For example, if a customer is interested in the MNZ 6.1 solution, your salespeople should share why other customers commonly deploy it. Identifying the underlying issue or initiative makes it possible to increase the size of the opportunity with multiple products or solutions. 13
  14. 14. These guides work equally well on smartphones, tablets, and traditional desktops and laptops. Salespeople can use them for preparation right before a meeting or even in front of a customer to guide the discussion. They are designed to be: • Simple, providing information at the highest level with drill-downs available for those who need details • Interactive, so that salespeople can easily navigate the document to follow the direction of conversation or the buyer’s interest • low-tech, requiring no investment in technology infrastructure 14
  15. 15. Make existing tools mobile-readyMake existing tools mobile-ready BEFORE Case studies Sales training modules White papers and Executive briefs RFP response content Product collateral Subject matter experts (SMEs) AFTER - Hard-hitting proof points with links to details - Mobile-ready flash cards to reinforce key points - Guides that support trend- to-solution conversations - Fast facts that can be accessed on-the-fly - Guides that support feature-to-solution conversations - Mobile-friendly deliverables, such as videos and podcasts Is your budget limited? Much of the content for these guides can come from existing materials. Repurpose existing content! Most companies have a large number of great sales and marketing assets that, with limited effort, can be transformed into great mobile tools. Common places to look include public websites, sales portals, and RFP response databases. 15
  16. 16. PowerPoint plays a central role in most sales content suites. But when used incorrectly, even the most beautiful presentation can result in a lost or undersized deal. Is PowerPoint Dead? Roles: • As a summary of previous conversations • Listing key customer issues • Setting a meeting agenda and seeking confirmation from the audience • As a just-in-time tool to illustrate key points and customer success stories Risks: • Making the meeting about your company and not the customer • Packing too much information into a short meeting, especially if your salespeople aren’t comfortable editing the story • Telling a linear story when a multi- directional dialogue is needed • Under-representing the expertise of your sales team For early-stage meetings where problem definition takes place, coach your salespeople to limit the use of slides. 16
  17. 17. You don’t need to invest in technology in order to take advantage of the benefits of mobile content. Many companies start with “low-tech” solutions. These are documents (like the conversation guides already shown) that offer ease-of-use and interactivity without requiring any new platforms. Key technology success factors That said, you can benefit from a mobile content distribution platform. If you are considering any, here are some key technology success factors to consider: Synchronization A common issue with sales portals is the “download and forget” trend, where users log into a site, save all of the content they want, and never come back. This puts your users at the risk of leveraging outdated content and missing out on updates and new releases. But with the ability to synchronize content, you can ensure that users have the most up-to-date versions. Tracking How do you know if what you are creating is effective? The ability to track who is using what ensures you understand what users are interested in and helps you follow-up with them to get feedback and results. Customer follow-up Many platforms allow salespeople to bundle content and send it to prospects after a meeting via a link to a personalized sharing area. Many mobile platforms offer a private sharing area where prospects can review information and share it with their colleagues. Offline access Salespeople spend a lot of time outside of their offices in such places as airplanes, public areas, and even customer offices where Internet access may not be available. Offline access allows you to utilize critical information anywhere. Application building Once you have delivered the basics, you may be ready for more advanced applications. Examples include quoting, configuration, and business-case tools. Make sure that your platform supports customized development and integration. 17
  18. 18. At the other extreme are the many ways you can go wrong with your technology investment. Here are a few pitfalls to avoid: Putting technology before the conversation Technology can’t replace the need for salespeople to understand problems and guide buyers toward a solution that uses their company’s capabilities. Before spending on new systems, seek first to understand the stages that make up this process. For more information on how to do this, check out our 6 Steps to Great Content. Designing for just one device Most salespeople use more than one technology and/or operating system in a single day. Resist the temptation to develop everything for one device type only. Not working with your stakeholders What does good content look like? The answer is complicated, so spend time defining content requirements and developing consensus between users and content authors. Think differently about the tools you create. Narrowing the focus We see companies get excited about apps that only support a few, narrowly defined sales situations. By doing this, you run the risk of neglecting other areas of the buying cycles that can have a bigger revenue impact (like problem definition). Pitfalls to avoid to Giving Your Sales Teamsthe Content They Need(and Want) 6steps An E-book for Sales Content Creators and Sales Enablement Professionals — Jim Moliski SVP, Strategic ServicesLaunch International ® 18
  19. 19. Companies are justifiably optimistic about the potential of mobile technology in business-to- business sales. But tablets and smartphones by themselves won’t move the revenue needle. Your company needs a strategy for filling these great devices with the content that will help transform your sellers from product pushers to problem solvers. The good news is, you don’t have to rewrite all of your content or break your budget on new infrastructure. An approach that targets the most important sales conversations with a limited number of upgraded tools promises the biggest benefit. Leading companies have already made huge strides in this direction—they could be your competitors. Conclusion 19
  20. 20. As Senior Vice President of Strategic Services at Launch International, Jim brings more than 17 years of experience to the challenge of enabling customer-facing teams with better content. Jim has worked with more than 80 organizations in this area and gathered insight from conversations with over 750 salespeople, marketers, sales support staff, and subject matter experts. He uses this knowledge to help Launch International clients empower their sales teams with situation-specific selling tools that help push opportunities through the pipeline and grow revenue. Contact Jim directly to learn more about how Launch International can help you give your sales team the messages and content they need (and want). Jim can be reached at: 215-230-4340 Follow Jim on Twitter @moliski author/jimmoliski/ For nearly 20 years, Launch International has helped marketing and sales teams create and deliver high- value messages and content for technology buyers and sellers. Clients employ our Integrated Enablement Marketing™ methodology to: 3 Develop messages that connect business problems to successful outcomes 3 Identify the highest impact content for each buying and selling step 3 Provide the right tools to each audience—whether that’s sales, customers, or prospects Our unique approach is based on years of experience working with marketers, sellers, subject matter experts, and customers. About the Author About Launch International ©2012 Launch International, Inc. All rights reserved. 20