Competition is stiff in the business world, meaning sales reps need every advantage to drive sales home and increase their win rate.
This is where sales enablement content can be the ace in your back pocket.
When used correctly, it’s a highly effective tool for closing deals and driving customers down the sales funnel.
In this article, we’ll go over the basics of sales enablement content, what it is, what it isn’t, how it differs from content marketing, and the best practices to create an effective sales enablement content strategy.
What is sales enablement content?
Sales enablement content is the type of content that sales professionals utilize to effectively present a product’s value and how it will effectively address users’ needs and pain points.
Salespeople use it both before and during the sales process.
This type of content is part of the broader sales enablement process.
For more information on the process, feel free to visit our sales enablement guide.
But to put it simply, sales enablement is a more comprehensive approach that includes sales ops and sales training, alongside sales content.
It usually includes people from different departments, such as sales, sales ops, product development, or marketing, to develop and optimize the entire strategy; content creation and deployment included.
Internal vs. external sales enablement content
In terms of the actual sales enablement content, it can be broken down into two main categories.
On the one hand, there’s internal sales content. As its name implies, this is the type of content sales reps use for themselves.
It helps them acquire the necessary product knowledge, which they can later use during the sales process.
Sales team-facing content takes on several forms. The most common include things like battlecards, sales playbooks, sales scripts, online training courses, buyer personas, email templates, and more.
Some of these work to reinforce the sales knowledge and know-how acquired during training.
Others aid reps in improving their sales conversations and talking points with potential customers, helping them increase their win rate.
On the other hand, we have external sales content.
This type of content is geared toward the target audience.
It can come in the form of case studies, use cases, whitepapers, industry-specific e-books or blog posts, webinars, product demos, explainer videos, one-pagers, customer testimonials, and other forms of social proof, etc.
It’s typically used throughout the entire buyer’s journey, ultimately influencing the purchase decision.
Potential customers can consume it independently, or sales reps can present it to prospective leads to highlight product features and benefits to help close the deal.
Looking at these content examples, it’s easy to see the similarities between sales enablement content and content marketing. However, there are some notable differences.
How is sales enablement content different from content marketing?
While there’s some obvious overlap between sales enablement content and content marketing, they do differ, especially when it comes to their use.
As mentioned previously, sales enablement content is focused on improving the sales rep/potential client interaction.
It empowers the sales team with the necessary tools to help customers move forward through the buyer’s journey.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is designed to attract potential leads by raising awareness of the product or service. Marketing teams use inbound marketing, in particular, to achieve this goal.
That’s opposed to outbound marketing, which typically involves ads, billboards, commercials, etc., to attract the attention of potential customers.
Inbound marketing provides value to its target audience, usually through high-value content, to achieve a similar goal.
Content marketing generally focuses on top-of-funnel content, whereas sales enablement follows the entire customer journey, sometimes even including customer onboarding.
Furthermore, content marketing is typically measured in terms of website traffic, unique visitors, or email subscribers. Conversely, sales enablement tracks metrics like deals closed, win rate, lead-conversion rate, quota attainment, or sales cycle length.
Let’s now take a more in-depth look at the different types of sales enablement content that you can use.
10 types of sales enablement content to implement
Different types of sales enablement content work best at different phases of the sales cycle. Therefore, businesses should aim to include a good mix in their strategy.
They should also separate internal from external sales content based on the specific usage.
These are some of the most common and efficient types of sales enablement content that every business should implement into its processes.
For internal use
The following five content types are for internal use. This means that sales reps will use it for themselves to improve their interactions with potential customers or to refresh their sales training.
#1: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
FAQs are a great tool to quickly and effectively onboard new sales reps, providing them with snippets of information regarding the company and its products.
FAQs are also a great resource on hand when sales professionals need quick answers to any questions potential customers may have.
#2: Customer persona guide
Customer or buyer persona guides aid salespeople in better understanding the target audience and improving their sales messaging to match.
Put simply, buyer personas are detailed descriptions of the ideal customer based on various relevant criteria such as age, gender, income, education, geographical location, job description, experience, interests, pain points, challenges, etc.
This information helps empower sales reps to tailor their sales conversations and pitches to fit each individual’s needs and pain points.
#3: Online training courses
Online sales rep training courses are an excellent way to onboard new employees, providing them with the necessary skills and tools to follow your sales enablement processes.
These training courses can take many forms, depending on the complexity of the product or service.
For instance, you can have blended training courses, which combine in-class sessions with online learning modules.
There’s also multimodal learning, which combines various training content formats—live text, video, audio, and practice tests—for increased knowledge retention.
With an employee training learning management system (LMS) like Docebo, you can also implement microlearning, which is great for reinforcing key information.
Likewise, adding gamification elements to your training courses can further drive learner engagement and knowledge retention.
These are great for sales reps to have with them every time they interact with a potential new customer.
Battlecards provide talking points on a wide range of topics likely to arise during conversation.
These can include things such as common challenges and objections, statistics, FAQs, pricing information, and more.
They help the sales team always have quick answers to any questions potential customers may have.
#5: Sales playbook
The sales playbook is packed with general best practices for certain situations that sales professionals can find themselves in.
It considers various challenging scenarios and provides effective ways to address them.
It’s generally a good idea for sales leaders to come together with the marketing and sales enablement teams to identify and plan out these types of scenarios and how to handle them most effectively.
The examples above are some of the most efficient internal sales enablement content types you can implement. Let’s now take a closer look at several customer-facing content examples.
For external use (customer-facing enablement content)
It’s not enough to just have internal content for sales enablement. External, or customer-facing content is a great addition to a sales rep’s arsenal to back up their points.
It also helps potential customers better understand the product’s value.
#1: High-value blog content
Blog posts excel during the initial awareness stage of the customer journey.
However, they need to provide a high degree of value to the target audience in terms of addressing industry challenges and pain points.
Generic blogs just don’t cut it nowadays.
Google recently updated its helpful content system algorithm to rank better blog posts and other web pages that provide genuinely high value to the reader.
In terms of sales enablement, this means high-value blog content that highlights industry challenges or provides actionable insights to potential customers.
You shouldn’t create blog posts just for their own sake or simply to rank high in search results.
You need to ensure the blog post is as educational as possible while maintaining the reader’s engagement.
Generic blogs, on the other hand, tend to address one or more topics but provide very little substance or actionable insights.
#2: Industry-topic e-books and whitepapers
Industry-topic e-books are the more comprehensive versions of high-value blog posts. They tend to address similar topics but will go more in-depth, answering as many questions as the target audience might have.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to get the sales team involved in creating e-books. They’re usually in the best position to know potential customers’ most pressing issues.
Whitepapers are no-nonsense, fact and statistics-based versions of e-books.
They are generally reserved for the initial awareness and subsequent decision stages of the buyer’s journey, when customers need that final push to make a purchasing decision.
Since both e-books and whitepapers tend to be somewhat dry —with limited or no personal opinions whatsoever—it’s generally good practice to use visuals to keep readers engaged.
Speaking of engaging visuals, infographics are great for packing in lists, statistics, and other dry facts in a visually appealing package.
Sprinkling infographics across your other types of customer-facing content can help increase engagement, knowledge retention, and even brand awareness.
#4: Case studies
Case studies generally work best during the consideration stage of the customer journey. This is when future buyers have defined their needs and are considering the options.
This type of content highlights the product or service’s benefits in a real-life situation.
It shows how they can solve particular problems, allowing potential customers to envision themselves having their needs met as well.
Case studies have the added benefit of including social proof, tipping the balance in your favor when compared to the competition.
For this reason, case studies can also be effective during the decision stage, alongside e-books and whitepapers.
#5: On-demand learning content
Last but not least is on-demand learning content. This typically applies after a sale has been made or when a new customer subscribes to a product demo version.
Just because you managed to close a deal doesn’t mean your job is done.
You also need to consider the customer life cycle or—in buyer-journey terms—the loyalty phase.
At this point, they get to learn how to use the product or service effectively and derive as much value from it as possible.
With an LMS like Docebo, you can provide on-demand customer training, helping new clients learn how to use the product and minimize their time-to-value.
The mobile app gives customers access to the content on the go, offering a flexible learning experience.
Since not all learning happens in a formal environment, Docebo’s social learning features allow customers to ask questions directly on the platform, share knowledge, and form a community with other users.
Keep in mind that Docebo also provides sales training so that the sales team is more effective in getting customers to the purchase phase and beyond.
While not exhaustive, this list of sales enablement content can put you on the right track to a more effective sales process.
Let’s now take a look at six sales enablement content strategy best practices.
6 steps to create a sales enablement content strategy
It’s one thing to have all the right content you need, but it’s another to know how to use it effectively. You need a sales enablement content strategy for that.
Here are six actionable steps to get you there.
#1: Assess your current content and analyze its performance
The first step in your sales engagement strategy should be to analyze your existing content.
As we mentioned, there’s some overlap between content marketing and sales enablement content. Therefore, you may find content created by the marketing team you can also repurpose for your sales enablement initiative.
Just make sure to also analyze its performance so that you can be sure it’s effective enough for customer education or sales training.
You can do this by analyzing content marketing metrics on each piece of content, such as click-through and bounce rates, user engagement, or conversion rates.
#2: Identify your buyers’ personas
Next up, you should identify and develop buyer personas for the different types of customers in your target audience.
The best way to develop these personas is to analyze your existing customer base.
Determine who are your high-value clients and emulate your ideal customer profiles based on their characteristics.
You can gather further information from your sales and marketing teams, as well as your customer relationship management (CRM) or LMS analytics.
Generally, the more detailed these customer personas are, the better.
But try to keep the variables, be they age, industry, gender, pain points, interests, etc., as relevant to the product or service as possible.
#3: Match the content to each step of the customer’s journey
While there are no strict rules when it comes to what type of content should go where, it’s generally good practice to have some guidelines for your sales teams to follow.
When creating content, you can divide the customer journey into four main phases.
- The awareness phase: Use social media posts, high-value blog posts, infographics, e-books, whitepapers, etc.
- The consideration phase: Use case studies, infographics, product comparison posts, podcasts, etc.
- The decision phase: Use e-books, whitepapers, testimonials and other social proof, case studies, product reviews, etc.
- The loyalty phase: Use on-demand learning content, user guides, learning pills, how-to videos, knowledge bases, FAQs, etc.
This doesn’t mean that sales reps can’t use content outside of their designated buyer-journey phases if the situation calls for it. But by and large, this is where they tend to be most effective.
It’s best to map out your content based on your buyer personas to better anticipate and answer client questions at every stage of the sales cycle.
#4: Continually improve your content
No matter how good or effective your sales enablement content is, it still has a shelf-life.
As you roll out new product updates or features, you also need to adapt your content to match. The same thing goes for the industry landscape as a whole.
Conduct regular competitor research to see where you stand and what type of content you need to better highlight your product’s benefits in comparison to the competition’s.
#5: Talk to your sales team
You should also make sure the sales team knows how to effectively use the content you create.
It’s no use designing loads of great content if the team doesn’t know when or where to use it for maximum effect.
If you want to boost sales, you need to ensure that your sales team gets the necessary training to get the job done.
Keep in mind that your sales team is also a good source of customer information. They have the most knowledge about client needs and pain points, and may even have insights into how to best address them.
Make a habit of talking to your sales team regularly to see if you can use this information to improve your sales enablement content.
#6: Track and measure content performance
Lastly, you should also continuously track and measure the effectiveness and performance of content.
You’ll track different metrics depending on the type of content you’re analyzing.
For example, you can measure the effectiveness of blog posts by the number of people reading them, how long they stay on the page (bounce rates), or how many take action after reading them.
Similarly, you can measure internal use content based on sales team performance, such as closed deals, win rate, attained quotas, length of sales cycle, etc.
For customer or sales rep training performance, you can use Docebo Learn Data. It will track user performance and course completion rates, net promoter scores (NPS), new feature adoption, and other relevant KPIs.
This way, you’ll always be on top of the situation and can fix any issues before they become full-blown problems.
Serve the best sales enablement content with a high-quality LMS
With a high-quality LMS, you can deliver the right kind of sales enablement content to your customers and reps at the right time.
Leading LMSs come with powerful analytics to track sales enablement performance, as well as engagement features to improve knowledge retention and learner experience. An LMS also provides a user-friendly platform for customers to access content whenever and wherever they need.
Schedule a demo with Docebo today and see how it can enhance your sales enablement initiatives.