The Ultimate Guide to Enabling Your Sales Team with Content

In today‘s digital selling landscape, content plays a pivotal role in engaging prospects, building trust, demonstrating value, and ultimately closing deals. Consider these stats:

  • 95% of buyers choose a provider that "provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process." (Source: DemandGen Report)
  • 82% of buyers viewed at least 5 pieces of content from the winning vendor. (Source: Forrester)
  • 70% of buyers say relevant content that speaks directly to their company would make them more likely to engage with a vendor. (Source: Demand Gen Report)

Yet despite content‘s clear impact on buying decisions, many sales organizations still struggle with leveraging content effectively:

  • 65% of sales reps say they can‘t find content to send to prospects. (Source: Highspot)
  • 90% of marketing content goes unused by sales. (Source: AMA)
  • 1 in 3 sales reps cite lack of time as their top reason for not using content. (Source: Seismic)

The disconnect between content marketing efforts and sales results represents a huge missed opportunity. Organizations that align content to both the buyer‘s journey and sales process see significant lifts in key revenue metrics:

  • Using targeted sales content can increase win rates by 33%. (Source: Aberdeen)
  • Sales reps using content outreach have 31% higher close rates. (Source: Seismic)
  • Aligning content to specific selling stages shortens deal cycles by 18%. (Source: SiriusDecisions)

So how can you tap into the power of content to enable your sales team‘s success? Follow this expert guide to develop a winning sales content strategy.

1. Map Content to the Buyer‘s Journey

The first step to content sales enablement is ensuring you have the right content for each stage of the buyer‘s journey.

According to Forrester, today‘s B2B buyers go through a 3-stage purchase process:

  1. Awareness: Prospect realizes they have a problem
  2. Consideration: Prospect identifies potential solutions
  3. Decision: Prospect evaluates providers and makes a choice

To engage prospects effectively, your content needs to align with their informational needs at each of these key stages:

Awareness Stage Content

  • Common Content Types: Blog posts, social media posts, infographics, educational videos
  • Content Goals: Highlight prospect pain points, establish thought leadership
  • Metrics to Track: Views, shares, time on page, newsletter sign-ups
  • Sales Use Case: Proactive outreach to share helpful insights

Consideration Stage Content

  • Common Content Types: eBooks, whitepapers, webinars, podcasts, case studies
  • Content Goals: Educate on solutions, demonstrate authority, introduce brand
  • Metrics to Track: Downloads, views, email click-through rates
  • Sales Use Case: Following up on interested prospects to nurture and advise

Decision Stage Content

  • Common Content Types: Product demos, free trials, ROI calculators, customer stories
  • Content Goals: Prove value, differentiate from competitors, motivate purchase
  • Metrics to Track: Pipeline velocity, deal size, conversion rate
  • Sales Use Case: Overcoming objections and reinforcing choice near deal close

When your content maps to specific buyer stages, it‘s much easier for sales reps to access the most relevant, impactful assets. As Yoav Schwartz, CEO of sales enablement platform Uberflip explains:

"The key to content for sales enablement is to make sure it aligns with the buyer journey and the seller workflow. Great content is useless if your reps can‘t find it or know when to use it in context of the deal stage."

Organize your content by these journey phases in your asset management system so reps can quickly filter for awareness, consideration, or decision stage content depending on their selling scenario. Tag content with other key attributes like persona, industry, product line, and objection handled as well.

2. Centralize Content for Sales Access

Reps should always be able to find the content they need at the moment they need it. That‘s why consolidating all your sales assets in a single, searchable repository is an essential sales enablement best practice.

Options for centralizing sales content include:

  • Using a content management platform (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal
  • Leveraging a file sharing solution like Box, Dropbox, or Google Drive
  • Investing in a dedicated sales enablement tool like Highspot, Seismic, or Showpad

Sales enablement platform usage chart
Source: Demand Metric

Within your chosen system, it‘s important to establish a clear organizational structure and taxonomy. As Sapphire Reels, Director of Portfolio and Integrated Marketing at Pluralsight advises:

"How you set up your sales content repository matters just as much as the content itself. You need to consider how a sales rep would search for content and build your tagging and categorization around that user experience."

Consider setting up filterable categories like:

  • Content Type (e.g. case study, product sheet, presentation)
  • Buyer Persona
  • Industry/Vertical
  • Sales Stage
  • Objection Handled
  • Product/Service Line
  • Geographic Region

Aim to make it dead simple for reps to zero in on the exact content they need with just a few clicks. Implement a standardized naming convention for files as well to eliminate duplicates and confusion.

3. Personalize Content for Prospects

Blasting generic content at buyers is a surefire way to get ignored. Instead, the most effective sales content aligns with the specific needs and priorities of each individual prospect.

Research has found that:

  • 80% of buyers say they are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences. (Source: Epsilon)
  • 77% of buyers expect sales reps to send content and information tailored to their personalized needs. (Source: SAVO Group)
  • Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%. (Source: Aberdeen Group)

For your sales reps, personalizing content can be as simple as:

  • Including a prospect‘s company name or logo
  • Mentioning a recent industry trend or news item
  • Calling out an individual‘s role or business challenge
  • Curating content assets based on a buyer‘s vertical, location, or stage

Some sales enablement solutions like Highspot and Uberflip even offer dynamic personalization capabilities that automatically adapt content to key attributes within the CRM. By giving reps the power to quickly tailor content, you‘ll capture more attention and convert more deals.

4. Leverage Content Analytics & Feedback

To optimize your sales content for maximum impact, you need visibility into how prospects are engaging with assets and what actually influences buying decisions.

Key content usage metrics to track include:

  • Views/downloads
  • Time spent consuming content
  • Shares/forwards within buying group
  • Sales stage velocity
  • Deal close rate

Sales content analytics dashboard example
Example sales content analytics dashboard. Source: MindTickle

By analyzing this data, you can identify which assets are driving the most engagement at each phase of the sale. Share these insights back to both marketing and sales teams so they can double down on top performers.

Don‘t forget to gather qualitative feedback from reps as well. Their frontline experience is invaluable for understanding content use cases and gaps. Consider asking:

  • What content is most helpful for starting conversations?
  • What content helps progress buyers from one stage to the next?
  • What content is most effective for handling common objections?
  • What additional content would help you close more deals?

Regularly surveying sales on their content needs and wins ensures your asset library stays relevant and impactful.

5. Empower Sales to Create Content

While central content production typically sits with marketing, sales reps themselves are a powerful source of subject matter expertise. Encouraging reps to contribute their own content can dramatically expand your sales asset library while tapping into the trust and credibility of these internal thought leaders.

Types of content reps can create include:

  • LinkedIn/social media posts
  • Short blog articles or tips
  • Video prospecting snippets
  • Webinar or podcast interviews
  • Client case studies

According to Demand Gen Report, 87% of buyers give more credence to content authored by real industry professionals versus generic brand content. And reps with an active social media presence generate 45% more sales opportunities versus those without.

"Buyers trust insights from sales reps more than the general brand…Having a sales team member talk about their own experiences and share their unique point of view just comes across as more authentic than polished corporate messaging." – Jill Rowley, Chief Growth Officer at Marketo

To set reps up for content creation success:

  1. Provide basic messaging and brand guidelines
  2. Recommend a consistent posting cadence (e.g. 1-2 posts per week)
  3. Offer ghostwriting or editing support if needed
  4. Recognize top contributors through incentives or spotlights

As reps begin to see the fruits of their content efforts, they‘ll develop a virtuous cycle of establishing credibility, building relationships, and ultimately influencing more sales.

6. Put Content in Context

Even the highest quality, most relevant content will fall flat if not delivered to prospects at the right moment. To increase content usage and impact, sales enablement leaders advise embedding content directly within the selling workflow.

"Suggesting the next best asset in context of the sales stage or customer interaction is incredibly powerful. Instead of forcing reps to break their flow and search for content, we can automatically recommend the perfect follow up piece based on signals from the deal record." -Jeremy Schultz, Sales Strategy & Operations at Salesforce

Ways to provide in-context content recommendations:

  • Integrating content with your CRM or sales force automation (SFA) system
  • Setting up opportunity record triggers based on key attributes like stage, competitor, use case
  • Delivering content in the sales enablement or engagement tools reps use every day
  • Linking content to specific steps in sales playbooks or cadence

Next best content recommendations in CRM
Next best content recommendations delivered in CRM opportunity record. Source: MindTickle

By proactively suggesting content in the natural course of selling, you remove barriers to content adoption while reinforcing winning behaviors. Analytics on content presented versus used can also help identify any gaps in positioning or training.

7. Integrate Content into Sales Plays

Top performing sales teams are 2.3 times more likely to have a structured sales process. Integrating content usage into core sales plays and opportunity progressions ensures a consistent, measurable approach to prospect engagement.

Consider creating content-based sales plays for:

  • Verticalized selling (by industry)
  • Competitor displacement
  • New product launches
  • Target persona outreach
  • Strategic growth accounts

For each play, specify the optimal content mix and sequence to deploy. Here‘s an example of a simple persona-based sales play:

Persona: VP of Finance

  1. Send personalized video intro → Educate on industry trend
  2. Share CFO case study → Offer ROI consultation
  3. Demo tailored product solution → Provide pricing proposal

Having a defined "recipe" for which content to use when eliminates guesswork and focuses reps on the most effective assets for each sales situation. Embedding content-driven plays into your sales process also makes tracking adherence and results far easier.

"Every sales play in our enablement program now includes a recommended content cadence based on what our top performers use in the field. Since instituting this change, we‘ve seen a 32% jump in the number of reps hitting quota." -Daniel Zamudio, Sales Enablement Manager at Experian

Enabling Your Sales Team With Content: A Quick-Start Framework

As content continues to play an outsized role in guiding business purchases, enabling your reps with the right content at the right time has become a critical sales capability. But aligning content efforts to both buyer needs and selling motions doesn‘t happen by chance. It takes a purposeful approach.

To start building your own sales content enablement engine:

  1. Audit existing content assets and map them to the buyer‘s journey
  2. Establish a single source of truth content repository
  3. Arm reps with content personalization best practices and tools
  4. Track key metrics and collect feedback to optimize content performance
  5. Encourage reps to contribute their own content and insights
  6. Integrate content recommendations into rep workflows and tools
  7. Develop content-driven sales plays for key opportunities and personas

By treating your sales content as a strategic asset, you‘ll empower reps to better educate, influence, and persuade prospects. And that means shorter sales cycles and more closed-won deals.