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Content Authoring Tools: The Workhorse of Great Sales Enablement

Nov 30th, 2018

You already know that salespeople need excellent internal and customer-facing content to succeed. But how, exactly, are organizations producing all of this critical content?

New research from CSO Insights finds that several business functions have a hand in creating sales content, including:

  • Marketing (33.8%)
  • Sales enablement (14.3%)
  • Product management (15.9%)
  • Sales ops and legal (10.6%)
  • The sales reps themselves (20.7%)

Yet only 1 out of 3 organizations have implemented a formal strategy for creating sales enablement content, according to the research firm, which defines this as establishing target audiences, content use cases across the buyer’s journey, a content collaboration model, and a formal content creation process.

The benefits of checking these boxes are clear in CSO Insights’ latest report. Organizations that were confident in their sales content strategy enjoyed 28% higher win rates (and better customer relationships) than companies without any sort of strategy.

“We learned the impact of having a content strategy for operational, enablement and customer-facing content,” said CSO Insights’ Research Director, Tamara Schenk, during a Brainshark webinar. “It’s very important to have a strategy and to have (sales) enablement orchestrating that.”

For sales enablement leaders with no content strategy in place, the natural question might be, “how do I get started?” The answer begins with implementing a content authoring tool – or, more specifically, a sales readiness solution – that can support your sales team’s content creation needs.

What are Content Authoring Tools?

Content authoring tools are software platforms that allow businesses to create and distribute rich content assets (which are often video-based). It’s a broadly-defined technology that can be used for a variety of purposes, including corporate training, knowledge sharing, and internal communications.

However, there are also content authoring tools specifically designed to support sales training. These are not the traditional LMS apps you might see used for corporate training; rather, they are sales enablement and readiness tools that include content authoring functionality aligned to the unique learning needs of salespeople.

Here’s how Forrester Research defines sales readiness technology:

“Digital tools that increase seller and manager effectiveness through practice, coaching, and collaboration. Leveraging repetition, gamification, and analytics, these tools help firms increase seller and manager skills, improve brand and message consistency, and enable sales leaders to make data-driven decisions to maximize commercial outcomes.”

You can’t buy great sales content off the shelf; you have to build it yourself. Sales readiness tools with content authoring functionality like Brainshark simplify the creation process and make all assets easily accessible through a centralized content portal. These capabilities enable sales teams to seamlessly take important information and turn it into engaging training and sales content for reps to review, use on-demand and access from anywhere.

How Content Authoring Tools Help Sales Teams

The right technology can make sales content creation more scalable, repeatable and engaging in a few notable ways, including but not limited to:

1. Incorporating video

Leveraging video for training not only improves knowledge retention, but according to Forrester Research, it’s also a preferred learning format for 3 out of 4 employees. Sales readiness solutions like Brainshark make creating video training content easy by allowing users to transform PDFs, PowerPoints, web pages and other assets by adding audio to create interactive video presentations.

2. Track How Content is Used

As a sales enablement leader, do you know which pieces of training content your sales force consumes the most? Do you know which customer-facing sales content your reps are sharing? Content authoring technology allows you to get a much better sense of content effectiveness with analytics and team dashboards.

3. Tap Into Your Subject Matter Experts​

Subject matter experts possess some of your most valuable institutional knowledge. In fact, reps are some of your most valuable subject matter experts and it’s important to document their knowledge, tips and tricks and best practices so the entire sales team can benefit from it.

Sales readiness tools with content authoring capabilities enable any subject matter expert (not just reps – but also product experts, engineers and more) to easily share their knowledge and create engaging sales content for the rest of the organization. The best part: they don’t need to be savvy content creators or instructional designers to do it.

With Brainshark, we feel confident that reps know where to access content and how to find it, which ultimately helps to scale our business and drive sales velocity.” – Christi Wall, Director of Training & Enablement, Ping Identity

Finding the Best Content Authoring Tools for Your Organization

Before investing in a content authoring tool (or a sales readiness platform), it’s important to assess your own business needs by asking the right questions. Some content authoring tools are designed more like a traditional LMS. Others, such as sales readiness platforms, are built with specific needs and use cases in mind. Most importantly, you need to determine how a technology will align with your sales enablement program’s strategic priorities.

Training Industry recently released its annual list of top content authoring tools for 2019. (Spoiler: Brainshark is one of them!). In their announcement, Training Industry said it took several factors into account, including:

  • Leadership and innovation of authoring tool
  • Breadth and quality of authoring tool features and capabilities
  • Company size and growth potential
  • Quality and number of clients
  • Awards, recognition and competitive differentiation

Whatever your organization’s challenges and goals may be, you should select a tool that makes it easy for anyone at your company to create engaging and memorable training content.

Looking for more information to help your organization choose the right sales readiness technology? Check out our Sales Readiness Buyer’s Guide below.