Is your marketing and sales enablement content driving the results that you need?
If your answer is no, you aren’t alone. Building strong content for the new sales reality is a tough job even if you have a great content strategy, passionate subject matter experts, and the resources needed to execute.
Here’s the good news: making a few simple changes can improve both the sales enablement content development process and the quality of your content. To get started, ask yourself the following three questions:
1. What does your audience care about?
As you develop sales enablement content pieces, it’s tempting to lead with how great your product, solution, or program is — “it’s intelligent, scalable, and comes in every color of the rainbow!” But the truth is, feature-oriented content rarely gets traction; people care about solving their problems and meeting their needs. No matter how cool your product is, they just won’t care about its features until it’s clear what’s in it for them.
So, how do you make sure your content is grounded in problems and benefits? By including a checkpoint in your content development process. At this stage, explicitly ask:
Is the right problem outlined up front in audience-friendly language?
Are the benefits clearly stated?
Are there any features or capabilities masquerading as benefits?
Even better, have a member of the target audience review and get their take.
2. Do you identify a primary audience for every asset?
When budgets and time are tight, it’s common to use one piece of content across multiple audiences. While this might seem like a way to get more bang for the buck, it’s a short-sighted approach. Best-case scenario, the content turns out to be most relevant for a certain audience – but that might not be the primary audience. Worst case, the content speaks to different audiences in different places creating confusion.
A stronger approach is to identify the primary audience for each piece of content.
By optimizing for a target audience, your content stands a better chance of having the desired impact.
One simple way to make sure sales enablement content is focused on the right audience is by explicitly validating the target audience during a deliverable kickoff meeting. This gets all stakeholders on the same page at the outset and helps to avoid unproductive debates about audience down the road.
3. Are you confident your content will get done on time?
On-time execution is a perennial challenge. It’s hard enough to establish a strong project plan. And it can be even harder to stick to that schedule, given fire drills, travel, and other competing priorities. As a result, it’s common for content projects to get behind schedule.
There are several things you can do to minimize delays. One is to create a project plan with defined review cycles that account for events, vacations, and other known factors that impact team member participation. Tying the project completion date to a scheduled commitment – such as a sales training call or a slot on an editorial calendar – is an especially helpful forcing function.
Another best practice is to set clear expectations with your core sales enablement team (subject matter experts, reviewers, approvers) about their roles and what’s needed by when. Once expectations are set, schedule review meetings at the outset of the project to avoid fighting for time on calendars later on.
Perhaps the best way to drive on-time completion is to manage the project plan on a daily basis.
This doesn’t have to be heavy-handed or a huge time commitment — it’s a matter of consistently holding people accountable for completing action items and providing input and reviews at the relevant times.