Choosing the right Sales Enablement content types can be challenging. However, getting this right will ensure your buyers and sellers have the best experience possible.
In my last article, we spent a lot of time discussing how you go about determining your Sales Enablement content needs. In this article, we will dive into the types of sales content as well as the document types that can best deliver the value to your sellers.
Sales asset management and content are part of every sales enablement strategy – and should be designed to support the salesperson at each stage of the buyer’s journey. It is often an overlooked area within organizations, with the majority of the content only serving lead generation tactics.
The type of collateral you should create is dependent on many factors, including the buyer journey, your sales methodology, and the complexity of your sales cycle.
Types of Sales Collateral
It is essential to thoroughly understand the buyer personas that your teams will be seeking to help. Being a successful seller means that you must understand the business problems faced by your prospects. To help them, you must be able to step into their shoes; this is where persona documents help.
To define your persona document, sketch out information like the following to help you visualize and sympathize with their needs:
- Job Title
- Job Description
- Size of their company
- Their pain points
- Business problems they are seeking to solve
- Actions they take to solve these problems
Case Studies, or customer testimonials, are a critical Sales Enablement content type. Testimonials demonstrate to prospects that you have worked with other businesses to overcome the challenges they are currently facing.
Case Studies not only display competency but builds additional trust as they demonstrate your ability to work well with other businesses. You may solve a customer’s problem, but getting them to do a testimonial often shows you were also an excellent business partner.
Sales Outcome Wires
While most teams are familiar with the concept of a win wire, you should consider creating this Sales Enablement collateral type for all deal outcomes.
You can create these sales outcome wires as quick videos or simple text documents. Either way, capture:
- Explain how you won the deal or why the deal was lost (do this for both no decision and a decision-based loss).
- If you won, how did you beat the competition?
- If you lost, were you outmaneuvered by the competition, did you fail to sell to value, did you lose to the status quo?
- Either way, what could you have done differently to either increase the deal size or win the deal altogether?
- What was the business problem you were working to overcome? Is the product well suited?
- Who else in your organization did you partner with during the deal?
- Who else in the customer’s organization did you partner with during the deal?
- Did you have content at each step of the journey to keep the deal moving forward?
- Was there any training you could have used to improve upon the outcome?
This sort of report will allow your sellers, and your Sales Enablement teams, to improve.
Sales scripts help sales reps to ensure consistency and increase efficiency through the sales cycle. Sales scripts can provide dialogs for conversation, templates for emails, and process checklist to ensure leads are properly qualified. As an example, a cold call script might cover:
- An outline of a conversation
- The critical words to use
- The important words to avoid
- Clarity as to the outcome, booking a meeting
The downside with Sales scripts is that sellers can begin to sound robotic. No one enjoys talking to a robot. How many times did the Star Wars crew shut down C3PO?
Practice. Make sure your sellers are role-playing, recording video coaching sessions, or any other approach that enables them to make the script their own. These are generally not meant to to be read word for word. Be human, flow with the conversation, and your buyers are more likely to be interested in continuing the conversation.
Datasheets and Product Documents
If you are selling more than a single product, you should not expect your sales reps to become product experts. Datasheets provide your sales teams with enough detail to educate customers with the more technical aspects.
Product documents accompany data sheets to help the salesperson sell and the added benefits for the buyer that address their specific pain points and challenges.
These documents should be clear as to:
- What the product does
- The environments within which the product operates (e.g., operating system, types of devices)
- Important Product Features
- Product Pricing and Options
- Where you can learn more
eBooks provide deeper dives into solutions for specific business problems than case studies or customer testimonials. A White Paper will generally offer in-depth information about the particular business problems being discussed and go into detail as to how the sales or product can be configured to overcome this challenge.
Sales battlecards are used to differentiate your products and solutions from those of your competitors. You should create a single battle card for each competitor and update them quarterly (or more often if market conditions change).
A sound battlecard will include the following information for your competitor.
- Product name
- Product description
- How they beat you
- How you beat them
Sales Playbooks – A different type of B2B Sales Enablement Content
Sales playbooks are set up to provide sales teams with a replicable model to move a deal through all stages of the team’s sales cycle. There may be multiple playbooks and could be set up based upon individual products, specific industries, or even the make-up of the buying committees or the specific persona who owns the budget.
The playbook will generally house the other types of content identified in this article to ensure sellers are using the right content at the right time.
Sales Enablement Content Types that are Needed
Okay, you now have a sense for the Sales Enablement content types you need, and in our first article, you are clear about the specific needs of the sales team. Let’s review the various document and content types that you should consider using for your organization.
Consider the following guidelines for new content that you are creating.
For most information, PDF is a solid choice. It works on multiple devices without requiring extra software; it works on and offline, and it is reasonably small.
For general information, this is the way to go.
One thing that can negatively impact the value of your PDF files is the addition of embedded images. These are a couple of the challenges caused by using images embedded in PDF files.
- While many systems can search the text that is part of a PDF file, few of them can search the text on an image embedded within a PDF file.
- The PDF files become much larger when they include embedded images.
- PDF files do an excellent job at rendering text as the dimensions of the file are adjusted on various screens of different sizes. However, the embedded images do not always do as good a job and can become difficult to read.
Video content is a very popular type of digital sales collateral. The content format can be perfect for demonstrations but may be overkill for other sales-specific use cases. When you do produce video, remember:
- Videos should be in MP4 format, so they play everywhere.
- Encode the videos as small as possible and align that with the devices upon which your sales teams will be using. The majority of these videos do not need to be movie-quality; they need to work well for the salesperson.
- Remember, if you these are to be delivered to mobile phones and tablets, you need to take connectivity into account. You do not want to run the risk of a salesperson being unable to view/stream/download your content.
- Along the same lines, do you want to stream video or have your teams download and play it locally on their device? Either solution will work. The right answer will be dependent upon the size and quality of the videos; the bandwidth available to your sellers; the criticality of the videos to your sales motions.
I often see salespeople selling in locations with no-to-low bandwidth area, like in a lab in the basement of a hospital. Know your audience.
Extended Reality (XR)
When you need to be able to demonstrate, interact, or better understand something larger than you can carry, XR is often an excellent choice.
We just finished discussing video, an excellent format for unidirectional demonstrations. What if you want to let customers interact with the products they are looking to buy, but it’s not feasible to carry these products with you? XR solutions may be the right solution. Let’s explore, but first, here are a couple of definitions for you.
Augmented Reality – a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.
Virtual Reality – The computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.
Augmented Reality allows you to create computer-based models that will enable people to interact with your products without having to have the actual object in front of them. As an example, let’s say you sell large oil rigs. You will not be able to carry the actual machinery with you on client visits. However, you can easily carry a model of the oil rigs you sell on your mobile phone and let prospective buyers interact with these models.
Virtual reality allows you to create an immersive environment that you can carry with you or deliver through a mix of computers and other hardware (like VR goggles). For example, you may want to train new oil rig employees about rig maintenance. However, it is expensive to shut down one of these systems. You could create a virtual environment for employees to train on how to behave during a variety of simulated situations.
The cost to develop VR solutions can be inexpensive. The return on this investment can be huge for creating reusable simulation scenarios when the price of other alternatives are sufficiently high.
Sales Collateral Format – HTML5 Interactive Content
The human brain is designed to filter unnecessary stimuli so that we can concentrate on just what is essential. Often, when you are listening to a monotonous speaker or watching a boring piece of content, your brain will decide to zone out.
How can you overcome this natural behavior? Consider these techniques to encourage the brain to engage with your content:
- Variety– Varying the stimulus doesn’t have to be some crazy animation or flashy design. Something as simple as slight movement, design elements that build upon one another, or even the pattern of text presented can do the trick. The stimulus has to be just different enough that the brain can’t ignore it. This trick can help turn the blandest of topics into a presentation that delights your mind.
- Challenge– Think about the times your brain is most engaged. Perhaps you are trying to remember the name of that song, or trying to remember how to spell a word. Neither is a particularly hard task, but they do take effort on the part of the brain. Adding in questions to your content is an easy way to increase engagement.
- Complexity– Humans don’t like to participate in something that’s “too easy.” Human brains enjoy complexity; give them just a little bit to avoid putting them to sleep.
HTML5 can be used to create content, as we have discussed, or rich, cross-platform, mobile-friendly, applications. Consider HTML5 for ROI calculators, for example.