Creating Scale: Supporting Evolving Needs

Register now for the upcoming

Press Pause for Sales Enablement webinar.

67% of B2B buyers rely more on content research today than last year to make decisions.

— Demand Gen 2016 Content Preferences Report

“Scaling” focuses on a capacity model that supports the changing needs of your business and its customers. This includes:

  • Content
  • Metrics
  • Analytics Alignment
  • Automation Systems & Tools

Let’s explore this in more detail.


Content Sourcing for at ScaleContent needs to be organized and structured for easy re-use by sales and marketing. It is important to understand the lifecycle of the customer and where content for each stage within it fits into the equation. Identify content overlap (e.g. product key-selling points) so both sales and marketing can collaborate effectively. Also, measure the collaborative content across both teams – this will assist in resource allocation and reduce duplication of effort.

Consistent use of language (labels and definitions) helps to reduce confusion and keeps teams aligned. The system architecture (content management system, web content management system, etc.) should support componentized content that can scale. Incorporate the necessary data structures to deliver content across programs, channels and devices. Content should be structured and labeled so that it can be (re)assembled to suit multiple purposes and accommodate for metrics gathering. You can build a solid approach with the following steps:

  • First, define what content is necessary for initial and ongoing sales enablement, using the customer journey to identify gaps and needs.
  • Next, put in place the necessary resources to create, source and publish the content. Make sure you account for current and future content needs.
  • Finally, to create a consistent brand story, craft content lifecycles around customer needs that align among all business units.

A content plan and editorial strategy are crucial to a successful effort. 


Metrics are an essential piece of a sales enablement content strategy. Create a metrics model with clear objectives that center on the customer lifecycle. Then, look at where data needs to be collected to support those measurements. Consider the following areas:

  • Buyer Engagement
  • Sales Readiness
  • Cross-channel Touchpoints

Both quantitative and qualitative measures are useful, depending on context and the identified objectives. Each team (sales, marketing, digital, customer sales reps, etc.) should be evaluated on sales readiness and how they push the customer from one stage of the customer lifecycle to the next. Do not rely simply on metrics within internal teams, cross-channel engagement metrics demonstrate the ability to interact with the customer at multiple points. Make sure you understand what the customer does within each channel, but also what they do when they move from one channel to the next.

Analytics Alignment

Organizations often have multiple teams gathering metrics and providing subsequent analysis. This can create an “apples to oranges” situation where business units are drawing conclusions based on varying metrics. To alleviate this situation:

  • Build consensus between your teams on your metrics model and associated objectives.
  • Confirm that quantitative data (web metrics, sales data, etc.) is consistent – using the same methodology, data definitions, and preferably the same statistics platform.
  • Agree on qualitative data-gathering techniques: i.e., customer insights, behavioral, etc.).
  • Ensure analytics teams have the agreed-upon objectives in place to measure, and build dashboards based on the overarching metrics strategy.

A robust analytics approach accounts for a reporting mechanism, such as dashboards and regularly appearing reports. Make sure you report out to all of the necessary stakeholders and business units.

Automation Systems & Tools

Platforms are meaningless in the absence of an enterprise content strategy.

An enterprise or sales enablement content strategy should inform the technical infrastructure – not the other way around. Automation for enterprise content strategy requires a unified approach.

But how do you ensure you have that effective strategy in place? Whether you are building one, validating one or reverse engineering one, here are the steps:

  1. Get stakeholders to agree on an enterprise-wide approach to content.
  2. Map content to the entire customer lifecycle, including pre- to post-sales.
  3. Agree on the best way for teams to collaborate to deliver strategy together.
  4. Enact a step strategy to move towards sales enablement content maturity.
  5. Source content from across business units and organize for re-use.

A customer-centric publishing model starts with the needs of the customer and works backwards to develop a publishing model. This approach is silo-agnostic and more adaptive to changes in user and technology trends. Leveraging the lifecycle to inform a tech stack allows sales teams to:

  • View technology needs contextually
  • Understand the customer journey(s) prior to an organization’s technology purchase or implementation
  • Eliminates unnecessary functionality
  • Develop a customer-centric publishing model and focus on user targets
  • Drive content experiences across all distribution channels
  • Align content and messaging

Keeping the customers’ needs in mind during all aspects of content creation, publishing, analytics development, and technology implementation will help organizations to scale their content operations, as well as increase customer engagement and conversion.

Build Bridges to Support Content Success

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Press Pause for Sales Enablement webinar.

“63% of executives say that organizational silos & lack of integrated systems are the two biggest obstacles standing in the way of improving customer experience.” — Lithium

As noted in our previous post, sales enablement effectiveness is contingent upon the teams in charge of sales, marketing, web, content, analytics, and customer service aligning and sharing the right levels of information when it is needed across groups.

Have you connected your infrastructure components (operations, technology, insights) so that they are working together effectively? Consider as well that even if you have components in place, you must ensure that they are not only functioning independently, but across disciplines. Key aspects include:

  • Alignment between sales strategy, marketing strategy and technology roadmaps.
  • Knowledge of your customer.
  • Content planning and content performance reviews.
  • Content optimization focusing on supporting business objectives.
  • Access to the right analytics and dashboards that effectively report them.

Connective Tissue

But how to create the ‘connective tissue’?

  • First, you need arrive at a shared vision of the sales lifecycle between sales and marketing. Audit your processes and clarify the roles and responsibilities of each role and process.
  • Identify the gaps, issues, and pain points.
  • Dig into how marketing campaigns are influenced by sales strategy.
  • Create or identify a roadmap that shows how the CMO and CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) collaborate and supports sales enablement.
  • Pull together an integrated metrics approach so you can measure success and identify areas for improvement.

An integrated sales and marketing approach will help to provide the context for building bridges and to articulate goals and objectives that are measureable. You can then determine where they apply in the customer lifecycle. Ask these key questions:

  • Does everyone agree on the customer touchpoints?
  • Does everyone understand and agree on their roles as part of the customer interaction?
  • Do you have the necessary assets to support those interactions?

The ultimate goal is to push the customer from one stage of the lifecycle to the next, and continually support them in the process.

Sales Enablement Roadmap

You have the vision, goals and objectives. Now, identify what you need to get to the next level by creating a roadmap that defines the path from current state to future state. It should include an overarching vision that accounts for everything: short-, mid-, and long-term efforts. An effective roadmap contains the following:

  • Processes. Aligned sales enablement-related processes between business units.
  • Content. Compelling and relevant content mapped to the customer journey.
  • Systems. Technology to support content production, delivery and measurement.
  • Skills. Internal or external capabilities to support sales enablement processes and associated content creation.
  • Tools. Applications or practices that teams use to drive or manage content operations.
  • Governance. Operational processes, people, and tools, required to support the ongoing success of the strategy. This includes governance by committee and governance by standards and tools.

Current State to Future State Mapping

Sales & the Content Roadmap

As you align your content roadmap with the sales enablement roadmap, ask yourself these questions. They’ll keep you honest as you involve sales.

  • Have you actively engaged sales in the process of building the content roadmap?
  • Have you established a process to continue tapping their knowledge and insights?
  • Have you socialized the approach and established regular touchpoints?
  • Have you put formal training in place to make sure the content and topics will be integrated into the sales process?
  • Have you engaged sales advocates who will help inculcate the philosophy and keep the bridge between sales and marketing strong?

Culture & Change

The activities described above will require persistence, political savvy, and diplomacy. To protect against cultural roadblocks, define a governance process that establishes roles and responsibilities. Engage with strong leaders who can advocate for change adoption through a collaborative process. Some business silos may  prevent effective communication. Try to identify those early and work with business unit teams to open lines of communication.

Often, the key to effecting change is to engage stakeholders and determine how ownership issues can be resolved. With leadership buy-in and a defined operations model, staff can focus on customers and their content needs. A strong governance team and ongoing participation mechanisms, such as workshops, training sessions, and working meetings, will keep everyone engaged.

Join us on October 10th to learn more.

Press Pause for Sales Enablement: Establishing the Baseline

Register now for the upcoming

Press Pause for Sales Enablement webinar.

Our last Press Pause post introduced the new webinar we’re launching about Content strategy for sales enablement programs. The webinar presents three reasons to press pause.

This post focuses on the first reason to press pause: Establishing the baseline.This post focuses on the first reason to press pause: Establishing the baseline.

Sales enablement shares a core value with content personalization: customer centricity. Without it, content is a push process rather than a collaborative strategy. Establishing a baseline requires deep knowledge of the needs of multiple customer segments as well as understanding who touches the customer inside your own organizations. A successful sales enablement program requires:

  • Content: Sales enablement needs quality content that sales reps can find and utilize appropriately for specific situations and sales plays.
  • Training: Reps must be trained in not only sales skills, but product, marketing/industry and business skills as well.
  • Tools and Technology: After the content strategy is established, the right technology is needed to execute against the process. This function also overlaps with training, as tools and technology add functionality and complexity.
  • Strategy and Execution: Sales enablement goes beyond winning deals and extends to hiring and onboarding, forecasting, budgeting, and performance reviews.

Things to consider when designing or enhancing a sales enablement program include:

  • Know the full buying center: A buying center is all of the people who touch a purchase including actual decision makers and those who influence the decision makers.
  • Understand their role in the journey: The next step is gaining deep insights into the journey for each role in the buying center or for a specific purchase use case.  You need to understand what moves people along the path to purchase and drive a shared view of this process inside your organization. Often, competing workstreams create different views, nomenclature and approaches. Without a shared vision, performance suffers.
  • Don’t forget partners: Partners are a distinct persona for many B2B journeys (primarily Channel Partners). For example, some of our major tech clients derive 75%+ of their revenue from partners(VARS, ISVs, Distributors, etc.
  • Plan for new content needs: Once you understand the buying center and the content needs, you need to think about how it impacts your enterprise strategy and how to create needed assets.

When content nurtures the first 60% of the sales cycle, it is imperative that sales and marketing work closely together. Many organizations today create content that fails to consider the multiple roles that content plays in both demand generation and sales. According to Aberdeen Research, structured sales enablement programs lead to:

  • 62% higher sales quota attainment
  • 205% more revenue growth
  • 725% higher sales velocity
  • 23% increase in lead  conversion

Creating the right content for every part of the sales journey and customer lifecycle is essential to deliver a consistent and unified content strategy that optimizes both sales and marketing effectiveness. It also supports personalization and omnichannel initiatives.

The Press Pause for Sales Enablement webinar presents probing questions that an organization should address in order to determine their readiness to succeed. Key things we’ll discuss include:

  • Identifying the complete buying center and the specific content needs of all
  • Roadblocks to aligning sales enablement efforts with other marketing and content work
  • How to optimize the data captured in platforms for better content strategy

Join us on October 10.

Press Pause for Sales Enablement

Register now for the upcoming

Press Pause for Sales Enablement webinar.

Statistics: Aberdeen Research Report on Sales EnablementWhen considering an enterprise approach to sales enablement, it is imperative to “Press Pause”  so that organizations can take the time they need to ensure they can set up their sales enablement operations for continual success.

BCA created the Press Pause webinar series to help organizations ask the right questions and make the right moves. The first session dealt with personalization. Press Pause for Sales Enablement is the second in our series. It focuses on how to optimize content for sales enablement programs.

Little consensus exists about the definition of sales enablement as it’s still maturing and evolving in function and scope. At Big Content Alliance (BCA), we like the one presented by revenue consultants, TOPO.

Sales enablement is the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help sales people sell more effectively. The foundation of sales enablement is to provide salespeople with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process.—Topo Blog

The Press Pause for Sales Enablement webinar suggests three key points when an organization should press pause:

  • Establishing a Baseline: When organizations are just getting started with sales enablement process and need a roadmap.
  • Building bridges: When more internal collaboration is needed for success
  • Ready to Scale: When an organization wants to enhance its approach with tools and metrics

In each section, we present probing questions that an organization should address in order to determine their readiness to succeed. Key things we’ll discuss include:

  • Identifying the complete buying center and the specific content needs of all
  • Roadblocks to aligning sales enablement efforts with other marketing and content work
  • How to optimize the data captured in platforms for better content strategy

This webinar will provide practical information you can use to tackle the issues your organization faces in adopting an effective sales enablement strategy, whether:

  • You know you are not getting what you need from your sales enablement approach or it is in a nascent stage
  • You are thinking of leveraging customer journeys across multiple channels and touchpoints and want sales efforts to feed into it
  • You have the systems and efforts in place, but you need to take these to the next level

Join us On October 10, 2017.