Sales effectiveness is a major concern for organisations at the present time. In fact, one of the key findings of the CSO Insights 2017 World-Class Sales Practices Report was the fact that average quota attainment rates dropped from 63 percent to 53 percent over the five year period starting in 2012.
This is part of the reason why investment in sales enablement is on the rise, and although many people think of enablement as being about sales training and sales coaching services, a major part is also about enabling salespeople through content. It is here that many organisations can make a simple fix to boost their sales teams.
In this post, we take a closer look at the role that sales enablement can play in assisting with content creation, as well as facilitating the sharing of content, so that it can be used by salespeople and customer-facing professionals.
Getting the content creation process right is imperative for businesses looking to improve their overall sales effectiveness. Indeed, CSO Insights’ 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study found that the quality of content can have a positive impact on both quota attainment and win rates.
Across the study, average quota attainment was 57.7 percent. Among organisations that said that major redesign or improvement was needed to their content strategy, quota attainment was below average, at just 50.1 percent. Conversely, when content was rated as meeting or exceeding expectations, the figure improved to 62.3 percent.
The same study found that the role of sales enablement in content creation was increasing too, with 16.1 percent of content being created by the sales enablement team, compared with 11.9 percent in 2016. However, salespeople themselves are still creating 18.4 percent of all content and this is time they could be spending on selling.
While the sales enablement function does not need to be responsible for all content creation, or even the majority, the department is ideally placed to create internal enablement content, such as value messaging guidelines, or playbooks. In addition, it can help to orchestrate cross-departmental efforts from marketing, product management, the legal department, sales/operations and any other functions involved in the creation process.
One of the keys to all enablement services – from sales coaching to content creation – is that they should be designed around customer needs, challenges and expectations. This is why sales content should be continually assessed, using direct feedback from customers, to ensure that it is relevant and is delivering real value.
Although the creation process and the quality of content itself are both of the utmost importance, there is another sales content aspect that organisations need to focus on if they are to improve the effectiveness of their sales teams: content sharing. After all, content is useless if it does not find its way to the right people, and salespeople must also be able to find and access the right content, in the right moment, through the right channels.
“You might assume that most organisations use some kind of sales enablement content management solutions. I did, too,” explains Tamara Schenk, Research Director of CSO Insights, in a blog post written for the company’s website. “However, the data says something different, based on our 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study.”
In actual fact, what the research shows us is that the most popular means for sharing content with salespeople is via email, while multiple document repositories are also popular. Only 12.2 percent of companies said a CRM system was their primary sharing method, while just 9.5 percent cited a sales enablement platform with CRM.
The reality of the situation is that salespeople – and all other customer-facing professionals – require quality content at each stage of the customer journey. They also need to be able to access content quickly and easily. Moreover, it needs to be the right content for the particular customer they are speaking to, so that they can deliver the right message, based on that customer’s needs, expectations, challenges and business objectives.
Sales enablement content solutions, especially when integrated into the CRM system, have been shown to improve sales effectiveness, which is why investment in this area is vital. For those who remain unconvinced, CSO Insights found that with such a solution in place, quota attainment is improved by 9.5 percent over the current average.
With sales organisations experiencing something of a performance crisis, it is important to establish robust enablement services, with a proven track record of success. Our research indicates that content solutions linked to the enablement function can significantly improve effectiveness and should be a key priority.
The topic of sales enablement and the role that the function can play in a sales content strategy will be examined in more detail at upcoming Miller Heiman Group events, including the 2018 Sales Enablement Summit in London, which is being held in November. For more information about these events, please click here.