Increasing Sales Productivity – Does Content Hold the Key?

July 01, 2013 | Brendan Cournoyer
Increasing Sales Productivity – Does Content Hold the Key?

More companies are looking to expand their content efforts with an eye on increasing sales productivity and effectiveness.

increasing-sales-productivityI’ve written a lot recently about how sales enablement should be a major component of a good content strategy.  In a recent Q&A, for example, sales coach Bob Apollo spoke about how important it is for marketing messages to be aligned with sales conversations, and content marketing is certainly a big part of that.

But while content is obviously a major marketing asset, when done right, it can also help sales reps to not only sell better, but sell more as well. Just think about the different ways a well-planned content strategy can help increase sales productivity:

Ramp up new hires quickly. There is always a lot of information for new sales reps to learn. It’s not all about process and technique, either; reps also need a strong grasp of product/service information and an understanding of the individual personas they’ll be communicating with.

When it comes to employee onboarding, the more up-to-date and relevant content new reps have at their disposal, the faster and more easily they’ll be able to get up to speed. Obviously a lot of these training resources will come from HR or your L&D team, but marketing content plays a role here as well, including everything from product data sheets and demo videos to customer success stories and testimonials.

Keep reps in the know. Existing reps also need to stay updated on the latest product information, industry trends, and so on. Prospects and customers are more informed these days than ever, so salespeople need to keep up in order to be authoritative in meetings and maintain your brand’s position as a trusted source of information in your space.

The reality is, however, that developing this content on its own isn’t enough. Salespeople are notorious “just-in-time” learners, and once out in the field, will often only engage with sales training resources when they need to (even if it’s just before their next sales meeting). This means that on-demand access to content is just as critical to enabling reps as the content itself when it comes to increasing sales productivity.

Generate more qualified opportunities. Quality content is critical to supporting and ensuring the effectiveness of lead and demand generation campaigns. Not only can different  resources (like online video, specifically) help improve open and click-through rates for email marketing, but the analytics gained through the combination of content and marketing automation can help shed light on the most viable sales opportunities.

This way, salespeople and BDRs can more easily identify the prospects that are most interested based on their levels of engagement with the content – resulting in less time focused on cold leads.

Create effective selling tools. The CMO Council has estimated that modern salespeople spend as much as 40% of their time either looking for or developing their own materials to share with prospects and customers. This tells use two things: one, reps rely on content to sell, and two, they are wasting far too much time finding and creating it.

In terms of increasing sales productivity, the obvious answer here is to align marketing content closely with sales enablement so that marketers generate content assets that sales reps can truly use, then once again, also making it easy for them to access when needed.

These are just a few examples, but I think it’s pretty clear that a well-planned and structured content strategy is necessary to a productive sales process. How has content helped improve the effectiveness of your sales enablement strategies? Sound off in the comments and share your stories.

For more tips and ideas, check out the resources below and take a moment to learn how Brainshark sales enablement solutions can help increase your team’s productivity.

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CSO Insights
CSO Insights’ 2016 Sales Enablement Study
Latest trends and research to guide your sales enablement strategy.
Coaching Solutions
Inside Brainshark for Coaching
See how you can help sales reps master their skills and improve performance in this 2-minute demo video.
GE Digital
GE Digital’s Sales Enablement Story
See how GE Digital’s strategy has them on pace for +40% YoY growth.