Sales Enablement Content Mapping Best Practices
Sales Enablement content mapping is a pivotal step in the implementation of any sales enablement plan. It allows you to chart the organization of your content and create a more strategic plan for how you’re going to implement content into your selling process. Many companies have content at their disposal—in some cases, a lot of content—but it’s simply not being used effectively. Content mapping is a way to more strategically and thoughtfully organize, use, and analyze that content.
Sales Enablement Content Mapping : What It Is and Why It Matters
What Is Content Mapping?
Sales Enablement content mapping is essentially a way to organize and categorize your content. Because every company has different types and volumes of content and different organizational structures, the specifics of what that content mapping entails are going to vary from company to company.
Most often, though, it’s as simple as a spreadsheet that organizes content by different factors (content publisher, content type, content description, targeted buyer persona, and so on). This aims to ensure that anyone who needs the content, specifically salespeople, can easily and intuitively find it.
The Steps Involved with Effective Content Mapping
1. Identify the stakeholders.
The first step is to ascertain who’s going to be doing what with these various pieces of content. You’ll want to identify not only who creates the content but who publishes it and analyzes it after the fact. Determine who these people are as well as their roles in the system.
In a large company, there might be many people who deal with any given type of content. However, it’s best to have one publisher for each of these categories. That person can then manage the process and communicate directly to sales representatives.
2. Map the content.
Once you’ve identified stakeholders, it’s time to actually think about what content needs to be captured within this system. At this stage, it’s important to remember to be focused. Dedicate your time and energy to what’s most important for your salespeople rather than anything and everything content-related that a seller might need.
Time is a limited commodity for your salespeople, and they simply can’t sift through a burdensome amount of content. If, for example, you provide a salesperson with all your case studies rather than one or two highly specific case studies that apply to his or her selling situation, you’re just inundating that salesperson with content. If your system doesn’t provide precise information, you haven’t developed an organized, strategic plan of attack.
Remember also that the improvement process in this Sales Enablement content mapping stage is never complete. It’s always evolving and changing as your company evolves and changes, so waiting until the system is “perfect” or “done” is only going to delay the launch. Never lose sight of your number one job: making your map organized, easy to understand, intuitive, straightforward, and effective for your salespeople.
A content map, which will ultimately look different for every company, should include some or all of the following information:
- Content type.
- Publisher (including the one point of contact within a team or division who will manage this content type).
- A brief description of the content.
- Targeted buyer persona.
Limit the top-level content types to eight to twelve categories. For example, a content map could include:
- Case studies.
- Product marketing.
- Demo material.
- Sales training.
- Sales tools.
- Lead generation.
- Competitor information.
- Industry news.
- Prospecting (including e-mail templates, social media prospecting, etc.).
Note, these categories should be broad. If they are overly specific, your Sales Enablement content mapping will quickly become unruly, confusing, and ineffective. When developing these topics, have your most universal selling situations in mind. Get your content right for these common, repeatable situations before organizing and dealing with niche sales, sales in specific regions, and so on.
These categories should always be obvious and unambiguous. The last thing you want is a salesperson having to guess where content might be stored or any other employee guessing what category to file something under.
That single point of contact for a content type is also crucial. Even if an entire team or department handles that content type, having one person as the lead minimizes confusion and facilitates problem solving.
3. Consider the buyer’s journey with Sales Enablement content mapping.
As is the case with every step in this process, the buyer’s journey is going to look different for every company—and it could even vary for different selling transactions within that company. With that in mind, the steps of the buyer’s journey are not set in stone. They are always approximations of the stages people typically go through when making a purchasing decision, but they are certainly an effective starting point.
While the buyer’s journey is crucial to creating the right kind of content, it is not the ideal way to organize that content. A case study, for example, could be requested at any stage in the buying process. Therefore, trying to organize your content around a given stage will only lead to confusion, since case studies are equally plausible in the lead stage and the negotiation stage.
Create plans for common selling scenarios within your company, varying content according to key differentiators, such as product, region, and customer type. (After all, somebody expanding the account of an existing customer is necessarily going to need different content than a salesperson dealing with a customer who’s never even heard of your company.) Limit yourself to no more than seven crucial pieces of content that salesperson would need in that situation. Create these plans for the various stages of the buyer’s journey and then create a generalized plan (for any deal at any stage) from that information.
This is by no means a static process. Start simple and refine as you go, examining what is and isn’t working and adjusting accordingly. If you wait for the system to be perfect, you’ll never even get it off the ground.
4. Integrate existing resources with the new solution.
If you’ve invested in content marketing at all, chances are you already have existing resources. For example, you probably have a content catalog where this content is stored. To effectively implement sales enablement solutions, your existing resources will need to integrate with your new changes.
This integration includes the CRM you’re using to track sales opportunities as well as tools that enhance selling, such as web conferencing to facilitate demonstrating the product or answering questions in real time.
If all you have to facilitate your sales enablement efforts is a slew of content, you’ve probably already discovered just how little help disorganized content can be. By changing how you organize (or map) your content, however, you can ensure your content is findable, usable, and effective in closing more deals and generating more revenue.
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