Sales enablement content: How, what, and why

What is sales enablement content?

External-facing sales enablement content has one main goal – to empower sales teams with the right information and resources for engaging prospects. (There’s also internal sales enablement content, which is for another article. Much of internal content takes a similar form, but with a different audience and with a distinctive focus on the inside of your organization and your internal needs.) 

Your sales enablement content should build trust, overcome objections, and help drive sales and revenue growth. 

In B2B tech, sales enablement content is often much more important than it would otherwise be in a different industry. That’s because your buyers are savvy and making big decisions that could be huge investments for their organizations. 

Makes sense… If your spending a lot on mission-critical tech, you’ll probably invest more time in the research phase than you would if you were buying toothpaste to use at home. 

Your sales and marketing content can bridge the gap between marketing and sales, aligning their efforts and ensuring consistent messaging at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

How to write sales enablement content

Writing high-quality sales enablement content is an art – to create effective content marketing assets for your sales team, you need to do some upfront planning and strategy.

Step 1: Know your audience

To create impactful sales enablement content, start by diving deep into the minds of your target audience. Understand their pain points, motivations, and challenges. What keeps them up at night? What are their goals? 

With what you now know about your readers, you can tailor your content to resonate with their needs, positioning your technology solution as the answer.

Step 2: Collaborate with sales and marketing teams

Effective sales enablement content is a product of close collaboration between the sales and marketing teams. 

Work closely with your sales representatives to gain insight into the questions they frequently encounter, objections they hear from prospects, and success stories they’ve seen at work. 

By tapping their front-line experience, you can create content that directly addresses these concerns, equipping your sales team with the ammunition they need to engage and convert prospects.

Step 3: Define clear objectives

Before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), clearly define the objectives of your sales enablement content. 

Think about this carefully and enlist help from other stakeholders to get feedback on what you’re thinking. 

Are you aiming to generate leads, nurture prospects, or support the closing stage of the sales cycle? Understanding the purpose and desired outcome of your content will guide your writing process and ensure your content delivers results.

Step 4: Craft compelling and persuasive messages

When it comes to sales enablement content, the power of persuasion cannot be underestimated. 

This is particularly true in an increasingly crowded content environment full of copycat writing and AI generated content. Your secret to standing out can be high quality, targeted content. 

Use compelling storytelling techniques to engage your audience from the very beginning. Highlight the pain points your technology solves, showcase success stories, and demonstrate the unique value your solution brings. 

Remember, your content should not only inform but also inspire action, compelling prospects to take the next step in their buyer’s journey.

Step 5: Provide value and education

Sales enablement content should go beyond self-promotion. 

It should serve as a valuable resource that educates and empowers your audience. Offer insights into industry trends, provide actionable tips, and share best practices that position your brand as a trusted advisor. By delivering genuine value, you build credibility and trust with your prospects.

Step 6: Use different formats

Sales enablement content comes in various formats, so leverage them strategically. Whether it’s informative blog posts, detailed whitepapers, captivating videos, or interactive presentations, choose the format that best suits the message you want to convey and the preferences of your audience. 

Diversifying your content allows you to engage prospects at different stages of the buyer’s journey and cater to different learning styles.

Sales enablement content examples

With the core role sales enablement content is playing for many tech firms today, I see a wide variety of sales enablement content:

  • Product collateral: Brochures, datasheets, in-depth documentation
  • Sales presentations: Slide decks, multimedia, and other presentations outlining key features, advantages, and unique selling propositions
  • Competitive battlecards: Comparisons of technology offerings with competitors, highlighting differentiators and positioning 
  • Sales scripts: Talking points for sales reps to use when closing deals and guiding customers through features. 
  • Training materials: Resources and educational materials, training videos, knowledge bases, tutorials
  • ROI calculators: Tools for sales reps to quantify possible return on investment for their prospects
  • Customer testimonials: Quotes, videos, or case studies featuring satisfied customers sharing their experiences, building credibility and providing social proof
  • Case studies: Real-world examples showing technological solutions addressing specific problems for customers
  • Ebooks: Digital publications with in-depth, comprehensive information on a specific topic of expertise; often used to position your brand and express a viewpoint
  • Whitepapers: Authoritative, deep documents expressing a problem, proposing a solution, and offering insights and recommendations
  • Blog posts: Article content, often published on your company’s website and usually written with a conversational style sharing insight and commentary

And so on. Generally all used in different contexts, perhaps even with different audiences in mind.

Right now, though, I think we should look closer at the most common types of sales enablement pieces – the work I’ve created the most. I’ll save the others for a future post.

Case studies

In a world where so much content increasingly looks like everyone else’s, case studies are a way you can set your technology brand apart from competitors. 

Humans love stories. We’re wired to respond to stories involving other people. 

Case studies evolved from the ancient art of storytelling and provide a way for you to connect your work more directly to your prospects’ concerns and problems. 

Plus, case studies are pretty similar to what business schools use to illustrate core concepts and ideas, so a lot of prospects are familiar with the format and idea. I loved business cases in my MBA classes – for those of us who are business nerds, case studies are a favorite way to share and analyze ideas. 

Because case studies feature stories and are created by interviewing your customer, your content is unlikely to be directly copyable. Unique content gives you an advantage in content marketing and SEO.

When you need case studies

If you’re in need of social proof, case studies provide more context than testimonials and seem much less like marketing. 

They age well, too, so case studies are ideal evergreen content. You can keep your case studies from older products and previous engagements even years later (although ideally you’re adding new case studies as well). Old case studies still show off your brand’s ability to make customers happy and offer longevity to your social proof, which is also a good thing. 

Since case studies are usually one of the most difficult forms of content to create, their utility in content marketing is a good thing.

Who doesn’t need case studies

If creating case studies isn’t on your radar yet, that’s ok. Case studies are hard to create because of the back-and-forth approval process, interviewing, and need for relevance and results for a customer. 

I don’t recommend rushing the case study process because a bad or weak case study could actually be counterproductive to your brand’s cause and credibility. You want a case study that shows outstanding results or reflects a really happy customer’s experience. 

My suggestion? Take your time with this and create GREAT case studies.

Blog posts

A mainstay of content marketing arsenals the world over, the humble blog post gives you an opportunity to share commentary, riff on industry facts and happenings, and of course educate your target audience. 

You can engage with your audience through blog posts in ways you really can’t any other way, with the possible exception of social media. 

Blogging also helps you generate SEO traffic, and building a blog with a large number of articles allows you to gather an audience over time. Using evergreen content, you can invest the effort and resources once that will reap benefits indefinitely as long as you’re paying attention and keeping your blog updated. 

Lots of benefits, as you can tell. 

Your blog’s biggest strength is also the biggest weakness, though – you have to keep blogs updated by posting regularly and you constantly have to generate ideas to keep it fresh. A good blog is an investment.

When you need blog posts

You need blogging if you want an excuse to regularly produce educational content for your audience, you need to build your website’s SEO, and you want an outlet of your own where you’re in control of the platform. 

Platform control is a big benefit of blogging. So many of the channels and platforms content marketers rely on belong to someone else, and are outside of your control. 

Investing in these outside channels can pay off, but ultimately puts your content at the mercy of policies and algorithms that aren’t your own. 

In my opinion, any brand that wants a platform within their own control absolutely needs a blog, even today, here in 2023.

Who doesn’t need blog posts

Initially, I didn’t have a blog. 

I know. Crazy! I was blogging for brands but never for myself. 

But if you’re not ready to consistently invest in your blog, you might as well focus on other forms of content you will use and share consistently. 

Even big teams can’t be everywhere at once. Invest in the content that makes sense for your brand, your team, and your personality. I’m too shy for podcasting, so it’s not my jam, but I don’t mind blogging. 

You can’t do everything, so do what you can do consistently as long as it’s right for your audience.

Ebooks

Ebooks deep-dive into a topic, in a similar vein to whitepapers, generally from an educational point of view, and often early in the sales funnel when prospects are learning about and researching brands to make a decision. 

Although not normally book-length, ebooks are a more substantial asset than a sales sheet or an article. 

They could cover a broader topic, too, where a short piece wouldn’t be enough.

When you need ebooks

A specialized, longer educational resource on a topic that your prospects want to know more about could be a good candidate for an ebook. 

If your sales team routinely finds a significant knowledge gap creates barriers to closing the sale, then an ebook could save your team time and allow prospects to self-serve in the educational process.

Who doesn’t need ebooks

Although there are arguments to be made in 2023 that the ebook is in decline, I still get requests and I still hear positive results from clients who make ebooks a cornerstone of their marketing mix. 

Perhaps more companies are now creating the content they actually need, instead of writing ebooks for the sake of creating ebooks. 

By their very nature, ebooks are longish, so creating and reading them is an investment. Not every prospect is up for reading that. And traditionally, ebooks were gated behind a contact form used to collect leads, which frustrated a lot of website visitors and decreased interest in reading. 

If you’re going to create ebooks, don’t gate them. I might’ve recommended gating in the past, and I’ve told clients before about how to build leads lists this way, but the overwhelming sentiment of website visitors towards better user experience, in my humble opinion, heavily weights against gating ebooks. 

To gate content, create a higher value asset, such as a webinar. Or a whitepaper with custom research.

Whitepapers

The distinction between ebooks and whitepapers sometimes gets a little blurry, but whitepapers are much more research-driven and often contain original research. They are deep reviews of a problem, solution, and recommendations from your brand. 

Whitepapers are a strategic asset you’d generally create alongside other content: related articles, a landing page, or case studies. 

When you need whitepapers

I think the most typical timing for a white paper is after a new product launch. You’re ready to use this asset to answer customer questions and point to for further education. 

Whitepapers work best for products that are expensive, exclusive, complex, or difficult to explain. They’re designed to provide justification for a big commitment or major investment from your customers.

Who doesn’t need whitepapers

Whitepapers are great, but aren’t always necessary when another form of content could be sufficient or more appropriate for the job. 

Some clients, I’ve found, ask for a whitepaper when a well-researched article is already a great fit.

Get your sales enablement right

Choose the right sales enablement content, write well, and build assets your sales team can maximize with every demo or nurturing effort. 

Getting your content right is an important part of optimizing your content strategy, making the right content investment, and getting great results.


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