The 4 Most Effective Types of Sales Enablement Content
In theory, any piece of content can work as sales enablement. If a top-funnel blog post can assist some prospect, then a seller should pass it along. However, when it’s time to make a sale, certain content types hold more weight.
As you progress down the funnel, that content becomes technical and highly specific. By design, it focuses on you, explaining what problem your offering solves. But that doesn’t mean it has to be overly promotional. That’s one of the worst mistakes marketers make—assuming that enablement content has to be some dry sales pitch.
If your awareness and lead gen content jumps off the page with strong narratives, then the assets you hand to sales should do the same. If that sounds like something your organization lacks, here are the best types of enablement content, complete with ways to elevate your sales materials way above the status quo.
When leads enter the bottom half of the funnel, they already have a handle on their pain points and goals. As a result, their priorities shift as they begin evaluating their options before making a purchase. Now on the lookout for proof that’ll guide them toward a decision, leads want to know what you have to offer and how you can help them. That’s why the case study is the strongest currency in sales enablement content.
Case studies are vital because they illustrate your key benefits without being a blatant pitch. Telling someone your product works is one thing, but showing them how through a specific example is a powerful form of persuasion. These assets are, by far, the most popular content request from Contently’s sales team.
Putting together a good case study calls for a few main ingredients. You’ll want a clear story, a source who can provide a quote, and quantifiable results. The story should include a beginning, middle, and end, which highlights the initial problem and how your company offers a way to solve it. The source should be someone who can speak to your relationship with the client. And the results section should supply easily digestible stats.
Aim to package all that together in no more than two pages, but experiment outside your comfort zone. If all your competitors pass around written case studies, add something new to the conversation with an infographic or media. We’ve played around with different case study formats like short infographics and videos to give some much-needed variety.
Producing utility content is like teaching someone to fish. Most content marketing, no matter how creative, is passive. You read a blog post or watch a video. With tools, though, you can empower your customers to act instead of asking them to memorize a bunch of details about your product. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 66 percent of marketers saw greater audience engagement after using interactive content.
The calculator is the most common tool, helping consumers make sense of the data at their disposal and the costs they’re willing to take on. The College Board has a tuition calculator for parents and students. WedMD offers a food calculator for dieting. Salesforce even released a CRM benefit calculator for marketers and sales teams.
You can also push the boundaries by creating other kinds of tools like checklists, templates, and quizzes. If they all have one thing in common, it’s the ability to let users try out different scenarios (thus giving them agency.) Zenni Optical’s Virtual Try-On tool is a great example of this. Customers record a 5-second video of themselves and can see how any pair of glasses would look on them without having to go to the store. Not only does this help the buyer, but it also simplifies the sales process since people don’t have to go to a store to make a purchase.
You may not think of it this way, but your company sales deck is a piece of content. A really important one at that. Unlike your typical posts that come daily or weekly, you’re only going to have one core sales deck, so you need to make sure it resonates.
Your deck is so much more than a rundown of what someone can buy. You want to sell a vision in addition to a product, so it pays to have a narrative drive the deck forward. That means outlining the problem your buyers face, what’s at stake, how you can help, and why that problem needs to be addressed right now.
The format matters a lot here as well. Taking in slides is a different experience than reading an article or watching a short clip. It’s crucial that all copy is absolutely essential, which means marketers need to fight against the impulse to include as much info as possible on their slides. Static visuals and economical headlines will go a long way, giving the seller space to complement the content with a custom script.
For reference, here’s a HubSpot roundup of 25 decks that abide by many of those rules.
You might be wondering, with all this talk about sales, when are you supposed to talk about your products? Rest assured, there’s a time and place for diving into your solution.
The one-sheet (or one-pager, as some call it) is a single document that describes parts of your solution. The format provides breathing room for more text and stats that validate what you can offer.
To visualize it, check out this example of a one-sheet for our Docalytics feature, which gives companies the ability to embed their downloadable assets online for easier tracking, data collection, and version control. There’s more to read here than a slide from a deck, but there’s also space for screenshots and close-up views of the feature in action.
This is an excerpt from The Content Marketer’s Playbook: The Art of Sales Enablement. Click here to read the entire e-book.Image by william87