Sales Enablement Content Mapping Best Practices

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.

Learn how to increase marketing and sales productivity by developing a predictable, gowning sales pipeline through isales enablement.

Sales Enablement Needs to Be Managed As A Business Within a Business

Sales Enablement Needs to Be Managed As A Business Within a Business

Sales enablement continues to be a growing, evolving industry, and with those changes comes a level of uncertainty about how best to implement sales enablement solutions. From enterprise companies to middle-market firms to startups, alignment between departments is consistently an issue—as is overall organization and communication—making the implementation of sales enablement problematic. Obviously, companies want to increase the productivity of their sales teams and consequently increase revenue, but in today’s competitive business landscape it’s becoming more difficult to reach their sales goals. Treating sales enablement as a business within your business is one crucial step toward that goal.

How to Implement Sales Enablement as a Business within a Business

The Sales Enablement Society

Although the best practices of sales enablement historically have been difficult to define, the establishment of the Sales Enablement Society has done much to bring together various sales enablement practitioners and formalize the strategic processes and goals of sales enablement.

In order to make sales managers and representatives more productive and give them the ability to increase sales productivity, the Sales Enablement Society promotes this business within a business model. So, what exactly does that look like?


Establish a Central Location for Sales Enablement Programs

It’s not enough for a company to simply say it is dedicated and committed to sales enablement. The people running the enablement efforts for sales need to approach their processes, strategy, and implementation like any business. This ensure there is a centralized, defined department to handle these issues, and it identifies points of contact to deal with the enabling sales within a company.

Often, departments don’t know what sales needs to be effective. Other departments can even inadvertently work against the efforts of sales. By operating like a business, there’s a central place to identify, tackle, and solve these organizational miscommunications and issues. 


Alignment between Sales and Marketing and Other Department

Sales enablement is an incredibly effective way to bridge any existing gap between marketing and sales and ultimately make both teams more effective. However, a truly effective sales enablement program isn’t exclusive to marketing and sales divisions. It’s a whole-company approach.

For example, Human Resources needs to be involved because they’re crucial to hiring the actual sales representatives. If HR doesn’t know what to look for in a sales rep, they could hire people who will allow these enablement processes to fall by the wayside. Similarly, IT needs to be involved. They install and integrate many enablement tools for sales, such as your CRM, marketing automation functions, content catalogs, and more.


Three Steps to Implementing Sales Enablement


1. Identify internal stakeholders.

The first step is defining your internal customers, which will usually predominantly be the sales force. Just like any business, you have to understand your customers for success, so you must identify, define, and seek to understand the needs and barriers to success of the customers your sales  force is looking to help.


2. Identify business needs—and how sales enablement can address those needs.

For a sales enablement program to be effective, the company must first understand their overarching goals and then determine how enabling sales  can help facilitate those goals. Sales enablement goals must always align with overall company goals, which means specific enablement processes are going to be different for every company. This is part of why sales enablement is hard to pin down. The framework can be similar, but the specifics and the sales ennoblement playbook are always going to be contingent on the company.

As with any effective goal, you must define sales enablement services with measurable metrics. This will allow you to ascertain if your efforts are reaching goals and proving effective. Once you can quantify something, you can identify where errors are made and hiccups occur, and you have the framework to measure your improvement after changes are implemented.

Striving toward sales enablement goals is not a one-off process; it’s ongoing. The goals should be incremental, they should build on each other, and again, they must be measurable.


3. Define how sale enablement will affect the company’s bottom line.

When executives are presented with the possibility of implementing sales enablement, the first factor they consider tends to be cost. They see these measures as cost centers rather than revenue-generating potential. For enablement of sales to truly work, though, you need the full buy-in of the company’s higher-ups, and if you can prove the financial worth of sales enablement, your chances of getting that buy-in increase dramatically.

As with goals, there is no cover-all answer for every company. How to get executive sponsorship is always going to be customized to that business, but the overall approach should be tying sale enablement’s goals to revenue-related goals. This will prove the immediate and continued worth of sales enablement (through a financial lens). If you don’t speak in terms of bottom line and the pivotal metrics to gauge that progress, you risk executives dismissing  enablement of sales as nothing more than a costly addition to the company structure. 

Companies are used to paying for trainings and new technologies in the hopes of increasing revenue down the line. You need to show that enabling sales can provide the same value and remove those underlying barriers to revenue generation.

Remember also that establishing sales enablement doesn’t need to come with huge overhead. It doesn’t necessarily require hiring an entire new team. People already within the organization can take on these roles—with the possibility of one or two new hires to facilitate the process. 


One Common Barrier to Sales Enablement Success

A consistent issue that companies run up against when trying to implement sales enablement as a business within a business is that people look at the traditional hierarchy and organization of a company and try to find where sales enablement fits. They want a  enablement program for sales to plug into an existing slot within their organizational structure. However, this mind-set often leads to departments operating as individual, disconnected “islands.”

Instead, a company should streamline the communication channels between these departments. In this way, the traditional organizational structure is a huge barrier to success. Sales enablement should not be viewed as its own separate division. Although it will be operating as a business, it must interact with all departments to improve the salespeople’s ability to sell and improve other departments’ ability to facilitate sales in that goal.


Learn how to increase marketing and sales productivity by developing a predictable, gowning sales pipeline through isales enablement.