Equipping sales teams with the right content at the right time is a common pain point for product marketing and sales enablement teams. Sales reps are often reliant on content (sometimes too much so) to move deals along, but for any number of reasons, they aren’t always able to easily access it when they need it. This topic was covered in a Forbes article titled 5 Ways For Your Sales Team To Get The Exact Content It Needs, which suggests five strategies to align marketing and sales, create the right content, and empower your team to spend more time selling.
These strategies resonated with us. In fact, since coming to market in 2014, we’ve learned a lot about the way a modern sales org operates. Working closely with teams like Square, Zoom, Looker, Yext, Buzzfeed and Gong.io, we’ve been privileged to get a front row seat for what world class sales enablement actually looks like. And, while there are a number of tools and tactics to accomplish this, we thought we’d use John Hall’s Forbes framework to show you how some of our customers are using Guru to get their sales reps the content they need.
1. Make content triggering a habit
“Your sales reps are some of your best researchers, and what they discover in their conversations with prospects and partners can lead to some of your best content — but only when they keep track of those content triggers.
Your sales reps need to get into the habit of recording common questions, objections, and more that can be addressed with content. They’re probably already doing something similar, templating basic responses to popular questions and customizing them when they need to. Instead of keeping that intel to themselves, they need to pass it along. Any time ideas for content come up in their conversations with prospects, your sales reps should write them down and keep them ready for their next meeting.” – John Hall, Forbes
Documenting learnings as they occur is a great way to democratize knowledge and share the wealth, (it’s a cornerstone of knowledge-centered service) but is often difficult to do in practice. How should reps document that knowledge? Where should it live so that their fellow reps can leverage it in real time whenever they need it on calls? Posting those insights in Slack or dumping them into a running Google Doc doesn’t make them easy to find or reference after the fact.
When sales teams use Guru to manage their content and knowledge, that information becomes easily searchable over any web browser – Salesforce, Gmail, video conferencing tools, you name it – in Slack, and on mobile. Plus, the bite-size nature of Guru cards is a great medium for documenting quick tidbits of knowledge that salespeople would come across, like “basic responses to popular questions.” Guru users can also create content directly from Slack: if someone answers a popular question succinctly in Slack, a quick click allows any user to quickly capture and add that content to Guru as a new piece of knowledge for the rest of the team to use.
In addition to having reps save frequently used responses, marketing teams can also be more prescriptive about what their reps are saying. Marketing can write up their preferred responses to common questions and then use Guru’s AI Suggest functionality to push that content to reps when they need it. AI Suggest surfaces relevant content based on the context of a given web page, so if a prospect emails asking about implementation, Guru can use that information to suggest the proper card to the rep, without them even having to search for it or leave their email window.
2. Create a marketing and sales roundtable
It’s no secret that there is often a disconnect between the sales and marketing teams within an organization. It’s a well-documented fact that misaligned priorities can put these two teams at odds. Sales wants tailored content for every new deal. Marketing wants sales to use the content they’ve already worked so hard to create. Part of this disconnect lies in sales teams lacking visibility into what content marketing has created and marketing lacking visibility into what content sales is using.
By making knowledge available and trackable across all teams, Guru helps close the gaps between sales and marketing teams. When all content lives in one place, sales will have an easier time understanding what is at their disposal and will be able to utilize more of marketing’s content. On the flip side, analytics within Guru can show marketing teams which pieces of knowledge are being used and shared externally the most and which are being ignored. Marketing teams can also dig into knowledge gaps to see what the sales team is looking for and not finding, which can inform future content strategies.
Find out how Guru’s analytics brings value to Lever’s sales team here.
3. Involve sales in content creation
“Not everyone who needs content is going to be a good writer, and that’s fine. Still, your sales reps should be involved in content creation to some degree because they’re the ones who know the questions leads are asking and what kinds of answers resonate.” – John Hall, Forbes
Involving sales reps in content creation because they’re the ones who know what kind of answers resonate with prospects is important, but I would extend that sentiment to all subject matter experts (SMEs). All SMEs should be involved in the content creation process because they are all experts in different areas that sales needs to be knowledgeable in to properly converse with customers. Customers today are better informed and have tougher questions that they expect sales reps to be able to answer. They don’t care how technical their questions may be, they assume that reps are product experts.
Because Guru is an org-wide solution, any team can add knowledge for sales reps to access. Product managers, security experts, revenue ops, and more have knowledge that reps may need while on the phone with prospects. At Guru, we call this the knowledge network and believe that the more people that have access to shared knowledge, the more efficiently we can all work together.
4. Create a resource library
“This might seem intuitive, but having all your resources — such as blog posts, guest posts, infographics, videos, whitepapers, and case studies — in one central place will take a lot of the guesswork out of finding the right resources to send prospects.” – John Hall, Forbes
A resource library is great. “All your resources – such as blog posts, guest posts, infographics, videos, whitepapers, and case studies” have a home in Guru. Guru can host PDFs and PPTs, link out to web pages, and iframe in Google Suite resources like Slides and Docs. Any marketing resource stored in Guru that is sent to a prospect can also be tracked to show whether the prospect clicked on it or not.
Resources are all well and good, but there is more to sales than one sheets and case studies. This goes back to point #1 with basic responses to popular questions. Reps need more than a resource library; they need a knowledge library that includes all the information they may need to do their jobs. That includes resources like the ones listed above, but it also includes FAQs, objection handling, qualification questions, best practices, policies and processes, and all sorts of crucial tidbits that don’t fit into PDFs or whitepapers.
“Creating a sales resource library ensures that your sales team always has access to all your marketing team’s best sales enablement content. Break the library down by content type, stage of the buyer journey, persona, or common questions, and your sales reps will always be able to find the exact resources they need for each situation when they need them most.” – John Hall, Forbes
The structure of the Guru web app helps teams organize knowledge exactly as Hall suggests: “by content type, stage of the buyer journey, persona, or common questions,” and more. Guru’s tag structure makes surfacing content a cinch. We tag our knowledge by segment, use case, persona, funnel stage, content type, or any other keywords that will help reps find info on the fly. Guru’s boards and sections also makes it easy to visually organize knowledge in a deliberate flow. Our sales engineering team internally uses Guru to create playbooks by persona so reps can walk through step-by-step knowledge based on who they’re selling to.
5. Keep communication open
“Your sales and marketing teams should continue talking as new ideas come up in conversations with leads and partners. No one on either team can just “set up sales enablement” and forget about it. Content is a constant; there are always new data points, technologies, and questions that come up to keep both sales and marketing on their toes, and they need to be working together to address those questions.” – John Hall, Forbes
Content is a constant and it’s constantly changing. That’s why knowing that knowledge is up-to-date is so important. Guru’s verification feature instills confidence by showing reps when a piece of knowledge was last updated and by whom.
Reps can also use the verification and comments features to communicate about knowledge. If a rep learns something new about a competitor that is not reflected on that competitor’s battle card, they can request verification on that card and post the new intel they learned in a comment to the card’s owner. That card will remain unverified until the owner can update it with the most recent information, after which the trust status will return to green and reps will know that it’s accurate.
Find out how Guru’s verification brings value to Splash’s sales team here.