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4 Steps to Sales Content Creation and Management from a Solutions Marketer

Today’s buyers expect personalized sales experiences. Their televisions tell them what shows to watch. They get served ads for things they were just talking about. Restaurants will modify dishes to an unrecognizable state just to please them. They no longer have the patience for irrelevant information.

To win them over, sellers must demonstrate that they truly understand their needs and can help solve their problems. And this can’t be accomplished with one-size-fits-all messaging that describes every product and service offered.

Companies that recognize this take a solutions-oriented approach to sales content creation. They support their revenue team with assets that can be personalized to different audiences based on their needs.

This post will help you assess where your company is at with respect to enabling personalized selling and provide guidance on how to take it to the next level.

The 4 Steps to Personalized Sales Content Creation

Step 1: Segment your audience

If your company has multiple products that solve problems for different personas, business sizes, and verticals — you need to segment out your key target audiences and build individual messaging and sales content for each.

What to do:

  • Don’t try to boil the ocean. Start with your most commonly encountered audience. If you’re not 100% sure analyze opportunities in your CRM from the past year or two and look for trends. Or ask sellers what the most immediate need for targeted content is.
  • Define the target audience’s problems. Interview salespeople and as many customers as you can to understand the common pain points. Here are some customer questions to guide your discovery:
    • What are your core responsibilities?
    • What are your goals?
    • How do you measure success?
    • What are your biggest challenges? What keeps them awake at night?
    • What would life be like without a solution like ours?
  • Develop a messaging framework that will guide sales content creation and keep messaging consistent. Use this messaging template to get started.
  • Create targeted assets for your audience as they move through the buyer journey with your company. Below is a table with some examples of useful content for each stage:

Mapping content to buyer journey

Repeat for your next target audience.

Step 2: Get a dedicated sales content management solution

Now that you have created sales content for different audiences and stages in the buyer journey, you need to facilitate personalization by guiding sellers to the most relevant assets for a given opportunity.

Doing this with a shared folder drive has limitations and risks. If sellers aren’t exactly sure if and where content around a topic exists, it can send them on a lengthy search through folder tunnels where they still might not find what they need.

A sales content solution quickly leads reps to the most appropriate content in several ways:

  1. Tags — Not a new concept, but a simple and effective way to surface content for commonly encountered topics and selling scenarios.
  2. Intuitive organization — Rather than sprawling branches of folders, content can be added to simple collections around topics like verticals, personas, and sales stage.
  3. AI-powered search — These will return the best content based on a complete analysis of its internal contents (not just file names) and its successful use in other opportunities with similar characteristics.
  4. Content recommendations — Most platforms offer integrations with commonly used CRM platforms and can be configured to recommend content-based fields like industry, role, or opportunity stage.

What to do:

  • Pick a sales enablement and content management solution that meets your needs. We recently posted a comparison guide to help you with your decision.
  • Use tags to organize your content by audience segment and by sales cycle stage.
  • Drive adoption by holding a training session with your revenue team to explain how to use it and get the most value.
  • Determine some baseline numbers — win rates, sales cycle lengths — so you can demonstrate the effectiveness of your program and justify the investment in a sales content management solution.

Step 3: Allow for more granular personalization

The next level of personalization involves taking the individual pieces of targeted content and customizing them at a deeper level for an opportunity. A seller might selectively piece together and share different pieces of content or add custom text and images.

At this stage, I’m assuming the existence of a sales content solution. Achieving this without one is challenging. Sharing multiple files in different formats, whether via screen share or email, is a poor buying experience — and in the case of email attachments, a practice that is likely to get your messages caught in spam filters. Additionally, a process in which marketing must fulfill endless requests to customize text and images in decks, RFPs, and other documents simply does not scale.

Depending on which one you selected, sales content management solutions enable this level of personalization in the following ways:

  1. Assembly — Easily stitch together different assets in multiple formats into one seamless presentation.
  2. Slide reordering and hiding — Move slides and pages around or hide irrelevant ones without leaving the platform.
  3. Text and image customization — Insert editable text and image fields into content to allow reps to add personalized touches.
  4. Document automation — Rapidly produce customized documents out of templates and live data.
  5. Personalized microsites — Build digital spaces with links to different content that buyers can consume at their own discretion.

What to do:

  • Train sellers to use the various personalization features available in your sales content solution to their full value. For example, in the case of personalized microsites, instruct them to dynamically add fresh content to keep their prospects engaged.
  • If you have a feature that enables you to add customizable text and image fields to slides and pages here are some ideas on how to use it:
    • Include spaces for sellers to enter their name, title, and contact information.
    • Add a “What we heard from you” slide where sellers can list key pain points uncovered during discovery.
    • Insert a blank customer success slide where sellers can add client logos that will resonate most with a prospect.
  • If your sales content management solution is doing its job, your involvement at this level is minimal and you can focus on investigating content performance (see the next section).

Stage 4: Use engagement insights to guide next-steps

The slide-level engagement insights provided by sales content solutions can help both creators and sellers with their future personalization efforts.

What to do:

  • Monitor which content types (case studies, ebooks, whitepapers, analyst reports), topics, and formats (presentation, PDF, video) and look for trends in engagement to determine where to focus sales content creation efforts next.
  • Conversely, look for gaps in usage and engagement to stop wasting resources on content types, topics, and formats that aren’t garnering much attention.
  • Remember those baseline metrics from earlier? Make sure you’re continuously monitoring them for measurable improvements that you can link to your new process.
  • In the case of sellers, make sure they’re using engagement insights to personalize buyer interactions by:
    • Monitoring open notifications for shared content and immediately reaching out while they’re top of mind.
    • Use slide-level engagement insights to better understand their buyers’ main interests and tailor the next steps in the deal around that. For instance, if they opened a proposal and focused on the section devoted to security, they might come to their next meeting armed with a subject matter expert so the prospect can get any questions answered quickly.

I hope this post has provided some guidance on targeted sales content creation and how to scalably support sellers in their efforts to deliver personalized buying experiences for the different audiences they encounter.

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