Make It Count: Content Strategy for 2019
Thoughtful content that purposefully moves the buyer along has the power to change the conversation between your buyers and your business. When sales reps are prepared with the right content in the right context, buyers listen. There is no better time than now to evaluate whether your sales content strategy properly equips your reps to compete in the rapidly evolving sales landscape. As we close out the year, there are a couple things we can say for certain about 2018 trends that we expect to continue:
- Buyers today are more informed, more demanding, and have higher expectations
- Sellers must be more strategic than ever to meet customer demands
By appropriately planning, developing, and managing content, you can stay a beat ahead of buyers and equip your sellers to win more deals. Apply the latest best practices to make your content strategy count in 2019.
1.) Planning: Start Strong to Stand Out
Buyers now view content at increasingly higher volumes and in shorter periods of time. The combination of increasing content accessibility and decreasing consumption time means that any content shown to your customer needs to be more engaging, more relevant, and more targeted than your competitors’ content. Planning how your sales content will be most effective in capturing the attention of buyers is crucial for driving sales success.
Typically, marketers build content strategy around messaging, marketecture, or specific campaigns. This year, strategically place your buyer front and center in this strategy and your business is sure to stand out. How? Align your content to the buyer’s journey. By analyzing each stage of their journey, content can be created that directly aligns with it. This way, sellers are better prepared to address pain points or different scenarios at any point in the sales process with appropriate, tailored information. Doing so thoughtfully will make your content that much more meaningful to your buyers and will give your content strategy the right exposure to pull your customer along.
2.) Developing: Make It Different to Make a Difference
So what is the right content and how do you go about developing it? Decision-makers nowadays live in an omnichannel world where they are buried in messages coming from all angles. It is a seller’s job to communicate on a more personal level to prove that they have the right solution for buyers’ specific needs. It can be difficult to target customers with sales content that directly speaks to them, but it does not mean they do not want it or expect it. By creating highly personalized content that directly applies to buyers’ unique situations, you will be meeting buyers on their terms and winning their attention. For example, creating custom presentations assembled from multiple decks and personalized with previous customer input gives sales reps the ability to address specific questions or objections that may have come up before. The most effective content is easily personalized by your sales reps, all the while staying on message and on brand.
This brings up another point — every piece of content must be developed consistently across the board. When trying provide content that is specific to their buyer, sellers often lose the initial intent of the content. Creating consistent content means anything from implementing dynamic fields for personalized email templates to aligning consistent social selling practices. Sales reps will deliver content to buyers in several forms, and providing a uniform approach is more professional, efficient and more effective.
3.) Managing: Give Your Content a Home
Content is selling power, but this power can only be harnessed when effectively used to guide customer experiences. What if you have high-potential content that your sellers are not using? The value is lost and the effort it took to create it becomes wasted. Organizations with poor content management usually face the same situations; either sales collateral is scattered across various platforms, or all selling material is dumped carelessly into one system. In either case, there is no clear way to browse and search, and valuable resources are simply lost. That is why content management is an imperative component of your overall strategy.
In 2019, organize your content so your reps can efficiently and effectively engage with buyers. In doing so, you will open the dialogue between sales and marketing so that content is consistent and is actually being used. Traditional file and folder systems fail to accomplish this. You need a flexible, easy-to-navigate content management system with powerful search, browsing, and filtering capabilities that provides a one-stop-shop for anything and everything your sellers need. Lack of organization is all too common, and it is time to reorganize with a content management system.
4.) The Secret to a Successful Content Strategy: Sales Enablement
In order to maximize effective content utilization, sellers need to know:
- Where to find relevant content
- What content to use for any given buyer scenario
- How to effectively deliver content for maximum impact
- Whether content is working or not
Not only should modern sellers provide artful, engaging material at the right time in the buyer’s journey, but material needs to find the seller at their stage in the journey as well. With the right content management software, sellers will always know where to find the most relevant content that they can trust is up-to-date. This is where sales enablement comes in. Sales enablement solutions help your sellers deliver the right content in every situation, adding maximum value every step of the journey.
Targeted content means higher quality engagement, and higher quality engagement lands more sales. The final piece to a prosperous sales content strategy is data analytics that measure what is being used by sellers and how different pieces of content are performing with buyers. This alignment informs marketing teams of what is working, what is not working, and which assets to create more of. Sales enablement solutions allow you to quantify the impact of your content, providing the insight necessary to only put content in front of your buyers that truly moves the needle.
The right content strategy can be incredibly advantageous for your organization, but it is only as useful as its implementation. Now is the time to revamp your system and maximize the effectiveness of your assets with a sales enablement solution. All of the practices mentioned in the planning, developing, and managing stages of a content strategy can be put into action using this modern-day technology. We are working in an increasingly competitive landscape, and if your content is not meeting customer expectations, they will easily take their business somewhere else. Implementing a sales enablement system is the key to make your content count and ensure success in the coming year.
Talia Vestal writes for Highspot, the industry’s most advanced sales enablement solution. You can follow Highspot on Twitter @Highspot.