Research shows that an estimated $35 million is lost in Fortune 500 companies due to unshared knowledge. This demonstrates how important effective knowledge management is to your bottom line. Plus, according to CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, only 49% of study participants had Sales Enablement Content Management solutions with adoption rates of 76% or better. These companies experienced win rate improvements of 11.9% and quota improvements of 6%. Here, we look at sales content management, what it is, how to use it in your organization, and the benefits experienced by other companies who already have.
What is sales content management?
A broad variety of content is needed for salespeople throughout the sales cycle. Plus, there’s additional content required for sales reps to learn the skills and knowledge they need to effectively move through the process. Another form of content includes tools and templates used by Sales to perform their day to day activities. All of this content needs to be organized so it may be easily located and fully utilized.
Sales Content Management is knowledge management for sales. According to businessdictionary.com knowledge management is defined as “Strategies and processes designed to identify, capture, structure, value, leverage, and share an organization’s intellectual assets to enhance its performance and competitiveness. It is based on two critical activities: (1) capture and documentation of individual explicit and tacit knowledge, and (2) its dissemination within the organization.”
Managing sales content
The chart below, from CSO Insights’ 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, shows the primary methods used by sales organizations to share content and tools with salespeople.
Unfortunately, these results show that companies increased their use of email by 4.5% in 2017 over 2016. This requires individual sales reps to keep track of and manage this content themselves. With all their responsibilities, this simply creates another burden for your salesforce. Having multiple repositories isn’t much more efficient. The optimum solution, according to the same study, is a sales enablement platform designed for easy access to content. Ideally, this platform should have the ability to track which content is used and its effectiveness. Plus, integration with your company’s CRM system provides your salesforce easy access to content and tools where they already go each day.
What are the benefits?
CSO Insights asked the 16.5% of participants who actually use a sales enablement platform to share the top three benefits they received from such a system. Below is a chart that summarizes the results:
Let’s take a look at some of these top improvements in sales performance experienced by these companies.
Reducing sales’ search time for content and collateral
These two improvements are closely related. When your salesforce has easy access to sales content and tools, their search time is reduced. These two outcomes, alone, increase the amount of selling time that your reps have and increase their overall productivity. According to CSO Insights, salespeople are spending 35.9% of their time selling, with the rest of their week consumed by other tasks. Increasing this amount often leads to improved results.
Increasing win rates
Speaking of improved results, 29.3% of the study participants reported this as a top improvement they received. This makes sense since having a sales enablement platform helps your reps find the content they need when they need it. They quickly find the internal reference materials needed to help them formulate better solutions and communicate more effectively with their prospects. Plus easily accessible content allows them to build a stronger case for their proposed solutions and close more deals.
Improving sales and marketing alignment
Sales and marketing departments worked separately for many years. More recently, they’ve made more efforts to communicate more consistently. Doing so allows Marketing to continually deepen their understanding of your prospects. This makes it easier for them to create content that encourages prospects to move through their buying cycle. In fact, according to a DemandGen study, over half of participants estimated a revenue increase of 20% if they had the right content available at the right time in the sales cycle.
Reducing new sales team members’ ramp times
New rep ramp time varies from company to company. Average sales cycle length and training effectiveness influence the amount of time it takes for a new salesperson to become fully productive. Reducing this time increases your bottom line more quickly as well. Having content more easily distributed and accessible means that new reps are able to learn more in a shorter period of time. Having content at their fingertips helps reps sell more effectively without needing to memorize every proof point. All they have to do is find it, consume it, and/or share it with their prospect. Their questions are answered without slowing down in the learning and sales processes!
Sharing best practices across the sales force
The sharing of best practices can be challenging without some sort of system to gather and organize them. If you collect these in a searchable library, your sales reps can easily access excellent examples whenever they need them. They can use these samples of your top performing reps to elevate their performance, fine-tune their pitch, and learn new techniques. The act of simply sharing best practices has been shown to improve team performance and increase the frequency of quota attainment.
Reduced discounting by selling value
When your reps use value-based selling, they remove price from the discussion and focus on formulating the ideal solution for the specific prospect. Learning how to sell value and staying current with all the related information requires a lot of content. If you’d like to learn more about value selling and its related content, we discuss it in more detail in this article. Keeping all this information organized and easily accessible makes value selling more successful. This, in turn, elevates sales performance and sales results.
Improving the ability to track content usage
Tracking content usage provides valuable insights into marketing’s effectiveness. It enables them to know which content is being used more frequently and which content isn’t being used at all. This information allows them to quickly and easily identify content gaps so they’re able to stay current with new content requirements. This results in Sales always having the content they need throughout the sales cycle for the exact persona in the specific industry. The outcome is increased sales.
Reducing competitive losses
Another type of knowledge that is organized, when using a sales content management platform, is competitive intelligence and insights. When this valuable information is easily accessible to your salesforce they are able to always be prepared to position their proposed solution against the competition. Reps can highlight the appropriate strengths of your product or service and win more competitive deals.
Now you have a better understanding of sales content management, different ways to organize your sales knowledge, and the potential benefits. It’s time for you to implement your sales content management plans.