As I always say - businesses are in the business of making money. So, no matter how much value you want to impart to your audience via your content, sales and revenue is always going to be one of the focus areas. Revenue enabled by content is what determines the ROI of your content marketing efforts, and measuring it right will ensure you are allocating your resources and bandwidth in a way best suited for an accelerated growth of your business.
After all, all businesses want more sales, more revenue. Who wouldn’t!
The problem is, when it comes to revenue, businesses often resort to increasing their marketing spend or hiring a massive salesforce to boost their revenue and growth. That’s absolutely fine and reasonable. The problem is, content often gets ignored and takes a back seat in this discussion. Despite the fact that creating effective sales-enabling content is more fundamental, affordable, scalable and long-term solution to growth, content strategy is often an after thought in sales meetings and growth discussions.
So today, let us look at what sales-enabling content is, how does it help your business and how can you go about creating such content.
What exactly is sales-enabling content?
Take a moment to visualise your sales process. Is there any content asset you find yourself using during the whole process? Or, any content that you see your prospect engaging with while he is being fed through the sales process? Any piece of content that qualifies as an answer to either of those questions is a sales-enabling content, since it is directly contributing to the sales process.
This content manifests itself in different shapes and sizes, including case studies, usecases, statistics, tutorials and guides, product walk-throughs etc.
In this day and age of B2B SaaS products where customers engage with the product themselves, and one-to-one demos are getting lesser and lesser, it should come as no surprise that more than 60% of B2B customers make their buying decision solely based on your content - without ever engaging with an actual sales rep. If you look at percentage cases where your content plays a pivotal role, the number goes higher. So, it stands to reason that sales-enabling content has been getting more and more crucial for the success, growth and scale of businesses - even more so for B2B SaaS products.
Now that we have established the necessity and criticality of sales-enabling content, let’s move on to the next step - coming up with a methodology to create this content.
Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when you start creating sales-enabling content:
#1. Whenever possible, replace text with visualizations
Steve Jobs was great at it.
If you look at any of the presentations Jobs made, the amount of text was insanely little. The amount of prominent text - even less. Just look at this one slide.
“2 million iphones sold in first 59 days”
That’s not a lot of text. You can have it on one slide. But, as you can see in the screengrab, the prominent text was one fourth of that - “2 million”. That’s it.
Channel your inner Steve Jobs, and take a scalpel to your sales-enabling content (in this case, demos, presentations, guides, walk-throughs etc.)
Trim all the fat off of it, and keep on repeating that process till you are left with a final draft that packs a solid punch with every single word that’s in there.
Images, graphs, charts capture and hold attention in a way like words cannot, and they have a better recall value as well.
- You can create easy-to-digest data representations, comparisons etc. by using charts, tables, illustrations.
- Steps and processes can be illustrated using timelines, flow-charts, mind-map diagrams etc.
- Important points can be highlighting using quotes, by-lines, user testimonials etc.
What you need to remember is that your visualizations need to be contextual, meaningful and organic. They shouldn’t come across as forced. As long as the flow is smooth and seamless, you can even go ahead and use a comic panel or a funny meme/gif.
#2. Product demos work better than almost anything else
That is one button you would see on almost every other SaaS product’s homepage now. Right in the first fold of the website. Why? Because prospective customers engage with them more and more. Demos are a great way of helping customers overcome their indecision and inhibition about your product, and get a taste of the product’s capabilities before committing to it. Once a customer has gone through your demo, he has more clarity about what the product does and how can it help him in his day-to-day workflow - which means, he is one step closer to the decision making stage.
Now, despite the fact that demonstrating the capabilities of your product is one of the most crucial aspects of sales enablement, in past, a traditional salesperson would have considered it one of the most challenging aspects of his sales process. Why? Because the demos used to be one-on-one where you would walk a prospect through the capabilities of your product, and if the product is not mature enough, there was always the possibility of a lot of things going wrong. From unforeseen crashes and bugs in the software itself, to an off-script tangential shift in the conversation, there were just way too many variables. With “Live demos” of SaaS products, a lot of these challenges can be mitigated.
Since the live demo of your product follows a certain flowpath, there is a certain degree of predictability associated with it. Add to it an product onboarding or user guide library, and the user ends up taking pretty much the route you want them to take while exploring the product.
Another way of leveraging product demos is to create customised demos of specific usecases and product capabilities. These mini demos, if coupled with analytics tracking, also helps you identify your best-performing demos helping you isolate the usecases most popular with your target audience.
#3. Always keep key stakeholders in mind
There are multiple different parties involved when you think of your product getting adopted in any organisation. There is the decision maker who signs off on purchasing the product, and then there are the actual users of the product.
Take a simple example of any CRM tool, such as Salesforce. While the decision to take up the Salesforce license would come from the top, the people who actually use the product the most, and to the fullest are the sales executives and associates.
So, your customer - at the end of the day - is an entity that encompasses these different stakeholders. On hand you need to ensure that the benefits of using and paying for the product is communicated well to the decision makers. At the same time, you also need to ensure that the actual users of the product have enough information, knowledge and know-how. They need to know how to use the product the best way possible so as to extract maximum value out of it. Your sales-enabling content needs to address both these parties for the sale process to be quicker and more efficient.
To get a better sense of who the different stakeholders are, use your product’s sales experience. Get a sense of who all are involved on the prospect’s side while they evaluate the product. You should also use the analytics data provided by Benne Analytics, Google Analytics etc. to get a better overview of who is engaging with different pages on your website and the content you produce. What pages are being checked on your website, and what content is being engaged with will give you a better understanding of who different stakeholders are, and what are their motivations for considering your product.
#4. Answer questions via your content even before your prospective customers ask them
When a customer is researching for a product/solution, there are many questions they are looking to get answered before they can make a buying decision. And most of this research happens on search engines. So, if your content is addressing the most common questions your target audience is looking for answers for, it increases the odds of your product getting discovered faster, and furthermore, leaving an impression in front of your prospective customer.
Tools like Text Optimizer, Answer the Public, and even Google’s People Also Ask can be good starting points for you to compile a list of most popular and prevalent questions your audience has.
The more sales enabling content you have on your website, the less time you will need to spend convincing a prospective customer on why they should use your product/service. Your content will do most of the heavy lifting for you. Any questions the customer now has about your product will be in follow up to the answers they have already found and been presented with. These follow up questions will also form the basis of future sales enabling content you would be producing.
Do you create content that enables and strengthens your sales processes? Want to know how you can use your Benne Analytics data dashboard to make better decisions while creating sales-enabling content? You know where to find me at, let’s chat.
That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.
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