Sales enablement tips to boost productivityWith sales spending two-thirds of their time last year on non-selling activities, it should come as no surprise that with such low sales productivity, 79% of companies surveyed report that their top priority is to improve sales productivity.
If only one-third of a salesperson’s time is spent selling- what’s happening the rest of the time?   Sales bandwidth is consumed by a number of non-selling activities including internal meetings, administrative tasks, service calls, training, researching accounts, generating leads, and preparing for sales calls.

Some of the above mentioned tasks are unavoidable, however one stat is very revealing:  31% of rep time is spent searching for and creating content, which indicates a major disconnect between what reps need and what is being done to support them. 

Content is considered critical to sales success; case studies, presentations, and other content engage sales leads and advance opportunities. In fact, up to 95% of B2B sales are heavily influenced by sales content. (Content Marketing Institute) And according to the survey, sales reports that content and value messaging are seen as top drivers of winning deals
  • 70% cite ability to convey value messages as top driver
  • 57% cite high quality content as top driver
One of the major reasons for this drain on productivity is that sales is creating their own materials due to the lack of readily available high quality content.  
So why aren’t your sales people using the content your marketing and sales enablement teams produce? And what can you do?

#1 Create the content they need
Why are reps creating their own content? It’s generally because they can’t find relevant materials. Sales people need to advance conversations with their prospects. If they use content in this process, it has to match the buyer they’re working with. A classic example is a sales presentation. You likely have a “modular” slide deck filled with dozens of slides, many of which don’t match the sales situation. When sales people can’t find relevant material, like slides, they’re more likely to create their own materials. That means significant wasted time and inefficiency. 
In order for Sales to have relevant materials, marketing needs to understand buyer behavior inside and out.  Often times marketing fails to develop content based on the  buyers journey and doesn’t take into account that there are often multiple players involved in the purchase decision who each have different pain points and motivations.   Consequently, it becomes marketing’s job to know who the players are in the buying process, (personas, roles) where they are in the buying process (buyer’s journey stages) and what problems need to be addressed based on the person's role and their stage in the buying process. It is also marketing’s job to understand the proper medium for delivering this information (slides, white papers, demos, case studies, etc.).

#2 Teach them when and how to use the content 
Studies have shown that 41% of salespeople don’t know which marketing content to use, how to use it, or when to use it (IDC). The end result is using sales content that may be irrelevant, outdated, or unengaging for prospects.  If you map your content to buyer persona’s, pain points, their role in the purchase decision and the stage in the buying cycle, then sales will be able to provide the right information at the right time to move the prospect through their decision.  Providing guidelines on content use will take the guesswork out of selecting content.    Sales will still need to pick and choose the right materials and may need to assemble sales decks, but with the proper education and tools sales will be able to use a range of content, including “modular” presentations, with minimal effort and won’t need to create any new materials.

#3 Make content easy to find by creating a central hub 
How often is sales re-inventing the wheel and creating new content because they didn’t know it already existed or couldn’t find it?   Bringing together an organization’s sales assets into an easy to use central repository is critical to addressing this problem.   Sales and marketing should establish a centralized platform and an owner with responsibility for keeping content current.    Since sales material can be scattered across multiple desktops and throughout multiple cloud storage platforms, it can be a hassle to find and use documents- especially on a mobile device. A solution should connect all corporate accounts and then make it easy for users to search and view all material in a central location on any device. Besides finding the right material, salespeople need up to date collateral to best serve prospective clients – assign an owner to the material and keep in regular communications with the sales team to inform them of updates to the materials.

#4 Keep learning and refining the content
Once you put in place the above-mentioned improvements, don’t stop there.   Get feedback from sales to improve the content, leverage a centralized repository to obtain feedback and suggestions, track what is being used and what isn’t – ask specific questions about what is missing and how content and process can be improved.

For a salesperson to be effective in today’s market, he or she will need the right tools to succeed. With an increasing number of ways to easily access information, buyers are more knowledgeable about products and services than in the past. Providing your sales teams with easy to find concise targeted content will improve their productivity and increase the top and bottom lines

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