Here at Guru, we are firm believers that you need sales documentation to build a kick-ass sales team. In fact, integrating thorough sales documentation into your processes will make your team’s selling spiel second nature and create the room for reps to have more meaningful, personalized conversations with prospects.
So what exactly falls under the umbrella of ‘sales documentation’ and why should you care? How can you create a scalable documentation process that’ll stick? Documentation efforts are commonly a huge part of sales enablement strategies. It can be the backbone that informs the rest of your enablement program. We’re breaking down why sales documentation is important and some best practices to bear in mind.
Here’s what you can expect to learn:
- Why sales documentation matters
- What are the must-have sales documents?
- The impact of laying a formalized foundation
- How to implement a system that’ll stick
Why is sales documentation important?
Thorough and accessible sales documentation is proven to speed up your sales cycles. The more formalized and well-documented the sales process is, the deeper the relationships vendors are able to cultivate with their customers. CSO Insights found that companies with a dynamically formalized sales process see a 95% overall plan attainment. A big chunk of formalizing your sales process to that “dynamic” level is properly documenting and centralizing company knowledge to be at your reps disposal at all times and within their workflows.
Keeping information like company collateral, competitor insights, and customer case studies at the tips of your reps fingers will allow them to perform in their positions and meet their quotas. These documents should be consistent and digestible; this will expedite the process for everyone. Stick to a consistent set of templates to ensure that your documents are remaining as clear and concise as possible.
What is sales documentation?
Here are the key types of sales documentation that will speed up the velocity of your sales cycles and drive revenue:
- Sales Scripts: No, not the kind that is going to turn your reps into robots. We want to set a foundation and equip your entire team with the base-line knowledge and conversational tactics that they need to build off of. From there, they’ll be positioned to have personalized conversations that strengthen customer relationships.
- Buyer personas and use cases: Lay out your use cases and build buyer personas from there. Establishing the personas and use-cases will allow your reps to pinpoint who to prospect, and conduct their messaging accordingly. These documents should include data-driven insights for reps to pull from that will be considered valuable to your prospects.
- Real time responses to tough competitor questions: Reps should be armed with battlecards in their back pocket. Documenting best responses to commonly asked competitor questions, backed with stats, will allow your reps to keep those responses top of mind at all times.
- Product and feature breakdowns: Documenting all the feature breakdowns of your product will keep your sales teams in the loop and up to date. You want to make sure that their messaging is consistent, concise, and, most importantly correct. These breakdown documents should be updated on a regular basis so that reps know they’re referencing information that can be trusted.
Laying the foundation
It may feel counterintuitive; but structuring information like initial awareness stage call scripts or lead-gen email templates will actually allow your reps to sound more personalized in their messaging. Formalizing these things and building out templates for your team to utilize will lay the foundation of sales documentation. From there, they’ll be freed up to ensure that they’re communicating in a way that feels tailored, not just regurgitating the same “one-size-fits-all” responses. This gives reps the time to focus on what is actually proven to make an impact on their interactions with customers, such as: in-depth prospect research and providing data-driven insights.
Setting up a scalable sales documentation process
So, now we have a clearer understanding of what sales documentation looks like and the impact that it can have. But how much of a lift is creating these documents? Whose wheelhouse does this fall into? And, most importantly, how do you ensure that the system you’re putting into place is scalable.
Commonly, documentation will fall under enablement. Generally it is the enablement person or program’s responsibility to refine these assets and ensure consistency across messaging. Proactive documentation is all well and good, but the bitter truth is that the documentation itself only accounts for a part of the larger problem. Even if you formalize your documentation processes you might still be seeing gaps in your team's knowledge or a lack of adoption. That’s why making the documentation that you create accessible and intuitive is half of the battle. That might require setting up a knowledge base. By establishing a Knowledge-Centered Service methodology you could flip the script on proactive documentation, and empower everyone on your revenue team to work on documenting how they solve problems in the moment that they’re solving them.
This pulls into the centralization piece we talked about earlier. By housing your sales documentation, and all revenue team documentation for that matter, in a central knowledge base, you’ll see much more success in the actual adoption of your documentation efforts.