Sales enablement is typically discussed in grand, sweeping terms. The effects of implementing a solution are said to be revolutionary and game-changing. Marketing will be able to create better content faster. Sales will be able to improve their outreaches with personalized content and gain deeper insights with engagement analytics. Sales and Marketing will align, and the two departments will work together better than ever.
All of those things are true! An organization that utilizes a sales enablement platform will be one that is better positioned for meeting the needs of its buyers. Seventy-five percent of respondents in a Demand Metric survey said that sales enablement makes a moderate or significant contribution to their business.
However (of course there’s a however), sales enablement is not a Band-Aid to be quickly applied. The problems and issues that plague Sales and Marketing run much deeper than skin level and require something more invasive than a simple bandage.
Untangling processes, resources, and mindsets that have become entrenched over years—and sometimes even decades—takes hard work and significant investment. In large organizations especially, there will be a number of stakeholders across multiple divisions that will need to be consulted.
Proper Content Management
The first step, and seemingly most basic, is ensuring that your content is being properly managed. This step sounds much easier than it may end up being; it’s a road full of potential pitfalls.
Any large organization will have a large amount of content, and it can be living in any number of different locations. Failing to host content in one easily-accessible location can be a serious problem: Ring DNA found that sales reps spend 30 hours a month searching for and creating their own content.
Merely getting a handle on the amount of content that exists and where it lives can be a time intensive exercise. The collection process can often turn into an impromptu content audit session, as materials surface that are outdated, off-brand, or just not needed any longer.
Many organizations already have a content library in place, which will cut down on the time spent searching for materials, but there’s still some commitment involved integrating those databases with a sales enablement solution.
An important step of content management in regards to a sales enablement platform is ensuring every piece of content is tagged properly. A sales enablement solution should provide both Marketing and Sales with a way to easily find the content they’re looking for; and the best way to do so is to have a system that can search and filter through the library.
Whether integrating with an existing content library, or importing all of your materials into the platform’s repository, it will be necessary to give every piece of content the proper metadata so that it can be easily sorted and organized. Proper content management leads to higher adoption rates and better results.
Creating Custom Content Templates
One of the greatest advantages of implementing a sales enablement platform is the ability to allow Sales to create their own custom content. Personalized content is key for engaging buyers and making a lasting impression. Eighty-two percent of people feel more after reading personalized content, according to Demand Metric.
But giving Sales the freedom to generate their own content is easier said than done. Marketing will have reservations about opening up this process due to concerns about consistent branding and need to be assuaged.
To do so, content needs to be made configurable; only certain areas of materials should be able to be personalized. Sales will need templates that provide them with a step-by-step process for personalizing content, while also restricting access to areas they don’t need to edit. These templates will save both Sales and Marketing time.
But the templates themselves need to be built from scratch. For large organizations this will require a level of planning and execution that may not be apparent at first. Custom content can quickly become complicated with sets of rules, data sources, and links to other content. Building these templates will take time and input from several stakeholders. Once they are in place however, they will save countless hours.
A sales enablement solution is a powerful and complex platform. The right one will provide you with so many capabilities that you may feel overwhelmed. As such, just merely wrapping your head around the ins and outs of the system will take time.
As you go through the implementation process, it will be necessary to be trained on all of the solution’s features. In turn, anyone who will have their day-to-day activities impacted will need to be trained. Depending on the size of your organization, it can be a large-scale endeavor to train everyone that will be accessing the system.
In addition to this initial introduction, there will need to be people who are trained as administrators of the platform. A sales enablement solution is not a crockpot—you can’t just set it and forget it. Multiple people will need to be updating content, building new content profiles, creating new configurable content templates, and much more. There will need to be close monitoring of usage statistics to examine how users are interacting with the platform as well. These administrators will likely determine the success of your investment and need to be experts in the system to effectively manage it.
In conclusion, implementing a sales enablement solution provides tremendous benefits to sales and marketing teams, but it is not a magic wand that instantly solves every problem and improves every process. It will take time and hard work to properly implement one, but that investment will be well worth it in the long run.