Are you asking your sales team to perform with one hand tied behind their back or blindfolded? Maybe you’re not hindering their ability to sell to that extreme, but many organizations are creating unproductive environments when they don’t provide their sales teams with the resources they need. Often the scarcest resource of all is content the sales person can use to at various stages of the sales process. Research indicates that sales reps can spend up to 30% of their day looking for or creating content (KnowledgeTree). It’s getting more and more challenging to capture the attention of a prospect; uncover a need and opportunity; demonstrate value; and maneuver through the increasingly complex decision-making processes of our prospects. Having the right content to share with a prospect in just the right format and at just the right time can be invaluable.
What content does our team need? How do you know what to provide? The most direct way to discover what they need is to simply ask them. Talk through various sales scenarios and ask them what they use for support and what they wish they had. This list may help stimulate some conversation.
Blogs aren’t just for attracting visitors to websites and generating leads. Blog articles should be written to educate and inform the market. The best articles are those that anticipate a prospect’s question and provides answers before they’re asked. Emailing a link to a recent or archived blog article can be a great way to overcome an objection; address a concern; and position yourself as a thought leader/subject matter expert.
This is a document that describes the “nuts and bolts” of your product or service. It may provide any technical specifications and descriptions so the prospect can determine how your product service will integrate with their business.
Whenever possible a sales presentation should be customized for each specific prospect, but there are many situations where the same (or similar) slides can be used for multiple prospects. An introductory meeting is one example.
Don’t recreate the wheel every time it’s time to create a proposal. The template should include a cover page or executive summary; a summary of the problem the proposes solution will address; an outline of the product/service deliverable; a summary of capabilities; an outline of expectation/assumptions; investment requirements; and an outline of the critical next steps in implementing the proposal. A boiler plate template can be prepared for most of it and then each proposal can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of each opportunity.
Not every aspect of your company or your services/products will be applicable for every prospect and proposal. Develop “plug and play” content that can easily be inserted into a proposal when appropriate.
The objective of a case study is to communicate a success story that was experienced by one of your clients. There are four critical elements of a good case study. Clearly state the problem/need/challenge that prompted the client’s purchase of your solution. Share how you and your client worked together to solve the problem. Provide an overview of the customized solution that you delivered. Finally, share the “happy ending” – Explain how the solution impacted the client business.
This type of content can help position the sales person and the company as a thought leader and trusted adviser. This is especially true if the content is educational; shares your unique perspective on a subject; and even gives some insight into your firm’s proprietary expertise. These can be valuable tools to help nurture a long-term “not-ready-to-buy-yet” prospect.
List the questions that just about every prospect asks at some point in the sales process. Having the frequently asked questions in one place and on one document can serve two purposes. It can be a valuable tool to help new reps interact with prospects. It can also be a great resource for prospects who are just beginning to explore your solution.
A list of quotes from satisfied clients. The more information you can include, the better these are. You may not always be able to attribute quotes to a specific contact and company name. However, these can still be powerful if you provide a general description of the client (i.e., A Vice President of Sales at a Fortune 500 Financial Services firm).
This is only required if you consistently sell against the same competitors. Don’t rely on the prospect to accurately compare you with the other solutions. Take control of the situation and highlight how you favorably compare with your most common competitors.
All of the content should be stored in a central repository that is accessible to the entire sales team. Make it easy for them to access and use and make sure you notify the sales team whenever a new document is created or when a existing document is updated.