You’ve spent weeks, even months, creating stellar content for your next campaign. You’ve worked tirelessly with your team members in Content Strategy, Marketing Ops, Product Marketing, and numerous other divisions to ensure your messaging and execution are top notch. You design and roll out your campaign and wait for the results to come in.
Sure you may be using a variety of different amplification channels to get the word out about your latest content offering. Social media, paid advertising, blogs…the list goes on and on. But you may be missing one important channel: your sales team.
If this is the case, you’re not alone. In fact, very few companies are extending content and resources to sales reps so they have more relevant conversations. According to HubSpot’s The State of Inbound 2016 report, 70% organizations focused primarily on closing deals, while only 16% prioritized sales enablement. Of course, content plays an important role in that sales enablement mix, which can also include tools and platforms.
You can leverage your sales team to amplify the reach of your brand and content. After all, each of your reps has a unique network of peers and connections across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and contacts that they engage with directly on the phone and via email. While it’s great that they share your core white papers, E-books and case studies, there are four key best practices you should follow if you want to turn your sales reps into content marketing champions:
- Create content cheat sheets: Face it, your sales team isn’t always going to have time to thoroughly read your latest offering, especially if it’s an in-depth research report, E-book or white paper. Quick-hitting content “cheat sheets” can get them up to speed without making them spend precious time away from their work. Include some foundational information, such as the target audience for the asset, the high-level topic or trend discussed, and how the content is positioned. (For example, is it a high-level, trend-focused asset, or is it more focused on your brand, and its solutions and services?) Then, provide a bulleted list of relevant statistics, tips and best practices from the piece so they can easily refer to them as they’re crafting social posts and emails, or when they’re having one-on-one conversations with prospects.
- Share pre-canned social posts and images: If you want to get your sales team to show support for your latest asset, you should make it as easy as possible for them to spread the word. Up to 79% of sales reps use social media to sell, so creating a list of pre-canned social posts and even approved images will give your reps the ammunition they need to be successful. Create a short link for your content so they don’t go over character counts, and have your social team craft a variety of posts and images. It’s best if you include a variety of different approaches. For example, have a few posts that focus on relevant statistics and have others tease the topics, best practices or case studies that will be discussed. All your sales reps need to do is copy and paste, so they will very likely spread the word.
- Aggregate content into tailored toolkits: Your business may sell a variety of solutions that serve businesses of different sizes and industries. That means the content your sales team should share and refer to will vary based on their area of focus and their overall expertise. Combine content into easy-to-navigate toolkits so sales reps know which assets are most relevant for their target buyers. Content can be organized based on buying stage, solution focus, company size and industry, among other factors. Ask your sales team what categorization would be most beneficial for them and create customized toolkits based on these parameters.
- Embrace interactive content: There are a lot of interactive content formats that are extremely effective for sales presentations and one-on-one discussions with prospects and clients. For example, a sales rep can use an ROI calculator to prove the value of an investment. A product selection tool can walk prospects through a series of questions so they’re guided towards the right solution. Finally, an interactive assessment can rate buyers based on their current tactics and offer them recommendations and ways to improve. The best part about these interactive tools is that they help spark conversation.
Of course, the world of sales enablement is constantly changing, and the emergence of new content tools and formats will off your brand a plethora of new opportunities to extend your assets to and through your sales teams. Has your organization embraced these or any other sales enablement best practices? Share your story in the comments section below.