3 Ways to Optimize Your Sales Content Creation Workflow
You might have the best sales team in your state, but even the best sales professionals can benefit from sales content collateral. Case studies, white papers, eBooks, and other sales content can be immensely valuable to your sales team—but only if they can find it.
If your internal organization system for your sales collateral is structured well, your content becomes one of your sales team’s greatest assets. Giving your reps the ability to instantly find and retrieve a case study or white paper that supports the point they’re making to the prospect on the other end of the phone can make the difference between meeting a monthly sales target and blowing the sale completely.
However, if your sales collateral isn’t organized and archived efficiently, you might as well not have any sales content. What’s the point in spending time, money, and effort producing content for your sales team if they can’t find it when they need it?
To create successful, reliable sales content that converts, you need to do three things:
- Identify the target audience for that content
- Develop content for that audience using transparent, replicable processes
- Empower your sales team to get that content in front of the right people at the right time
Ready to learn more? Here’s how to do all three.
The ‘Three Cs’ of Sales Content
Another way to remember the three goals above is to think of them as the “Three Cs”:
- Customer identification
Each of the Three Cs is crucial to getting the right sales collateral in front of the right prospects at the right moment. Let’s take a look at each.
Customer identification is the process of identifying the target audience of a piece of content. The more you know about who you’re writing for and what their problems are, the more you can ensure that your sales content serves specific goals and isn’t left unread and forgotten on a database:
- Identify the prospect’s use-case for your product
- Determine which industries, sectors, or verticals you’re selling to
- Establish where in the sales funnel your content is intended for
Creation of sales content is what keeps your sales engine moving. Implementing a reliable, high-volume production schedule means you can produce the content assets your sales team needs to close deals consistently. To do this, you’ll need:
- Transparent, end-to-end ownership of the content creation process
- A clearly defined content-creation pipeline
- An effective strategy for ensuring that completed content assets are filed and stored in places where the sales team can access them quickly and easily
Circulation of your sales content allows you to leverage each individual content asset for maximum impact and continually improve the quality and breadth of your growing repository of sales content assets. For this step, you should have:
- A structured system for gathering, evaluating, and acting upon sales reps’ feedback on your content assets
- A quick, lightweight way for sales reps to request the creation of new sales content assets
- A reliable content management system that allows reps to retrieve any content asset almost immediately
This might seem like a lot of legwork, but by structuring your sales content creation process around these principles from the outset, you may save yourself a lot of time and effort further down the road. Plus, you’ll be getting the maximum value from each and every content asset.
I. Know Your Audience
The better you know the target audience for a content asset, the more effectively you can ensure that each individual content asset will be leveraged as efficiently as possible and put to good use. One of the best ways to identify these target audiences is to create detailed user personas.
The more detailed your user personas are, the better. Just like the prospects your sales team talks to every day, your user personas should be rich, detailed, and nuanced. Your reps won’t get much out of cookie-cutter personas, so go the extra mile when creating your audience profiles:
- Think about the specific problems your prospects are trying to solve. How could your content help them visualize a solution to that problem?
- Consider the industries in which your prospects typically work. How can your content empower your audience and help them keep up with developments in those sectors?
- What types of content will your prospects respond most positively to—and why?
Creating rich, detailed user personas does require an upfront investment of time and effort. That said, the more detail you include in your personas, the more effectively you can tailor your sales content assets to helping that person and solving their problems.
II. Build a Better (Content Asset) Mousetrap
Creating sales content involves much more than hiring a freelance blogger and giving them a list of keywords to optimize for. Sales asset creation is a holistic, cross-functional process that should include stakeholders not only from the sales team, but from the marketing and design departments, too.
For busy teams, it can be tempting to assign the job of actually creating your sales collateral to whomever has the time to handle it. However, this is a potentially grave mistake. When you haphazardly assign content creation based purely on workload or bandwidth, it’s far too easy for assets to be left unfinished or overlooked in favor of more urgent, time-sensitive tasks.
To ensure that your reps have the right content at their fingertips as and when they need it, it’s vital to clarify exactly who is responsible for each type of content asset, as well as how content moves from the production phase to the circulation phase.
However you choose to structure your asset creation team and assign responsibilities, ensure that everybody understands what’s expected of them, establish a regular and predictable editorial production schedule, and document each step of the process to minimize disruption in the event one of your key stakeholders is unavailable.
III. Circulate, Evaluate, Repeat
A near-universal truth in content is that the process never really ends. Even once a content asset is published, you then have to circulate that content to the target audience you identified earlier.
As you distribute your content across various channels—on your company’s blog, as part of your next email marketing campaign, in an instant message to a prospect—you’ll have plenty of opportunities to identify ways you can make your next content asset even better. It’s crucial to get your content out there, but it’s just as important (if not more so) to ensure that your reps have the tools they need to directly improve future content assets.
There are two things your sales reps will need in order to do this:
- The ability to submit requests for new content assets
- A pipeline for updating existing content assets
The more complex a system is, the less likely people are to actually use it. That’s why it’s critical that the system you implement for your reps to submit new content asset requests be as simple and streamlined as possible. The easier it is for your reps to request new assets, the more likely they are to do so—and the more assets they have at their disposal, the more deals they’re likely to close.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that make automating a system like this a snap. Cloud-based team collaboration tool Airtable, for example, is ideal for building robust cross-functional systems.
Better Sales Collateral Means Better Sales Calls
It’s easy to look at your sales team and its processes and conclude that it’s virtually impossible to create a flexible yet dependable system for creating, circulating, and updating sales content collateral.
However, with a little planning, the right tools, and buy-in from your sales reps and managers, building and even automating a system for creating better sales collateral is an achievable goal that will have a tangible impact on your sales reps’ calls and the deals they close. Remember, sales enablement is an ongoing, collaborative process. Give everybody a seat at the table, invite and listen to your team’s opinions, and everybody—including your prospective customers—will get a lot out of that conversation.