Sales content management is the process of creating, storing, organizing, distributing, and managing sales content to improve sales performance and speed up the sales cycle.

This is a crucial aspect of sales enablement strategy and allows revenue operations teams to improve their seller's effectiveness through the management of sales content.

This article covers the ins and outs of content management, including:

  • What is sales content?
  • What is sales content management?
  • Best practices for creating sales content
  • What is a sales content management system?
  • Top features your CMS must have

What is sales content?

Before we dive into its management - let’s first understand what sales content is.

Sales content is used by sales reps to convince clients of the value of your products or services. They can be shared with your customers to guide them along the buyer journey and speed up the sales cycle.

There are two types of content: internal and external.

Internal sales content: Content that’s intended for use by an organization’s own sales reps. The goal of internal content is to provide reps with a greater knowledge of their product portfolio and messaging.

External sales content: Content intended for customers to take away to read/watch in their own time to provide more information and persuade them to purchase. This can often be created by marketing teams.

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What is sales content management?

Sales content management is the process of creating, storing, organizing, distributing, and managing sales content.

The main purpose of content management is to create a logical system of content to ensure it’s easy to maintain, update, and find relevant sales content. This means your sellers can always find the best content to share with their clients to move along their conversations. 

Why is sales content management important?

Sales content management is important as appropriate organization of sales assets allows your sellers quick and easy access to the assets they need to close deals. Instead of wasting precious minutes looking for collateral, your reps can continue selling with ease.   

Sales content is also important because it can help you:

  • Compete in the sales landscape. The sales environment is always changing, and having access to timely and relevant content content can help keep your sales reps and customers informed.
  • Capture buyer attention. With the rise of remote selling, it’s harder than ever to keep buyer attention - vibrant sales assets can bridge that gap.
  • Meet the demands of your buyers. Buyers often complete their own research before meeting with a sales rep. Sales content can provide quick information to your sellers so they can be the expert your buyers need.
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Benefits of sales content management

There are many benefits of having a streamlined content management system, which when combined can allow your sales team to accelerate the sales cycle, close more deals, and promote revenue growth.

Increase seller effectiveness

As we’ve mentioned, when your sales content is organized your sales reps can spend less time looking for content and more time selling. But that’s not the only way proper content management can increase seller effectiveness. 

Keeping your sales collateral organized and up-to-date also allows your sales team to use the most convincing assets and case studies when talking to clients, and keep their product knowledge up-to-date. 

Allowing your sales team to be the experts your prospects need to evoke confidence in your product will help them to close deals more effectively.

Accelerated sales cycle

An added benefit of increasing your sales team’s effectiveness is accelerating your sales cycle. B2B sales cycles can take months to close, but utilizing effective sales content can provide your prospects with the information they need sooner.

This reduces delays and drop-offs within the sales journey, leading to more deals won, faster. Boosting your revenue growth at scale.

Align sales and marketing

Do your marketing and sales teams often argue over sales content? A common disagreement between sales and marketing is that salespeople want better marketing materials to sell with, while marketers feel their existing materials aren't being used by sales.

A good content management strategy helps to align your sales and marketing teams by making the content easy for sales reps to find and use. Your strategy should also aim to measure which content pieces are used by the sales team, so your marketing team understands what assets are most valuable.

This visibility in the process leads to a win-win for both teams as sales get access to the content they need and marketing can track what content is used.

Decrease rep onboarding time

Onboarding a new sales process can be a lengthy process, especially if your product line is extensive or complex.

Utilizing your sales content is a simple and effective way to speed up the onboarding process, as your sales battlecards can guide your new rep through each product’s main features and provide insights into your competitors.

With your sales enablement team’s support, there should be plenty of sales training tools within your content management system. These can also be used to retrain or upskill your existing reps.

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Challenges of sales content management

While sales content management may seem like a no-brainer, it’s not necessarily a walk in the park. Several challenges can arise when implementing a content management strategy - let’s discuss three common blockers.

1. Salespeople don’t use content

Many sales reps are stuck in their ways and may hold on to an old piece of content for dear life, or worse still, refuse to use any sales content in their communications. 

When sales reps' compensation relies on the deals they close, we can’t blame them for sticking to their tried and trusted methods. But we can encourage the team to try out new content and share their wins with each other.

Studies suggest sellers are 61% more likely to use marketing content when a high-performing seller presents the content.

In addition, ensuring content is easy to find and is what the sellers actually need is crucial to ensuring your content is adopted. If a sales rep can’t find what they’re looking for, they likely won’t use it. 

2. Right content, wrong time

When sales reps are utilizing content they can often fall into the trap of using great content at the wrong point of the customer journey

A content management system with appropriate tagging and descriptions can help sellers understand the best circumstances to use each piece of content within the system.

Advanced software may even be able to predict which content will work best and suggest this to your sellers.

3. Changing demands

It’s the overplayed cliche of the business world, but there’s truth in it. Your prospects’ demands are constantly changing.

That means your sales content needs to be updated to keep up with customer expectations and product changes. Without a plan, these updates can seem overwhelming and near-impossible - especially if it’s all ad hoc, with no way to visualize what needs to be updated.

Implementing a content plan can allow you to track changes and plan for content updates well in advance. Gone are the days of an urgent update to sales collateral!

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Best practices for creating sales content

With all this in mind, how can you create effective sales content for your reps? This section takes you through the best practices for creating great assets to inform your sales team and excite your customers.

Identify gaps

The first step in creating sales assets is checking which content you already have. Completing an audit of existing sales collateral is crucial to understanding what content needs to be updated and where the gaps are.

There’s no point in creating more content that duplicates what you already have in your system so taking stock can help you to use your time effectively.

It may also help to ask your sales team what assets they think would be most beneficial to add to their toolbelt, helping you prioritize new content creation based on seller needs.

Define content objectives

Once you understand which gaps you have, you can start to define the outcomes the new content pieces should achieve. Some questions to consider include:

  • How will this help our sales reps?
  • How will this benefit our customers?
  • What stage of the customer journey is this content useful for?
  • What is the best format to present this content?
  • How will our sellers discover this content?
  • How will we know which content was successful?

By answering these questions, you can ensure each content piece meets expectations and aids your sales reps. This saves time making irrelevant or unnecessary content.

Train your sales reps

It can also be beneficial to train your sales reps on the best ways to use content within their sales conversations. A new asset is no use if your team doesn’t know how to use it effectively.

After every major product change, you should train your sales reps on the new product information and provide them with use cases for the new content available to them. Your sales enablement team should be a huge help in managing this training.

You may even use enablement content to train your sales reps - content-ception! 🤯

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Plan a content calendar

New content needs to be planned, especially when it comes to large product updates. Having a regular cadence for updating and creating content can help manage the workload and ensure sellers have new assets when they need them.

Working with the marketing and product teams can allow you to be aware of product or messaging changes ahead of time and schedule these updates into your sales content plan.

Measure effectiveness

The effectiveness of your sales content is crucial to measure. If your sales reps aren’t seeing success using collateral, they’ll likely stop using it. But if a particular content piece or format is performing well, that may be a sign to produce more content like that.

This is particularly true for formats. Do your customers prefer videos, infographics, brochures, or something else? Monitoring the performance of your sales assets allows you insights into your customers’ preferences. In turn, allowing you to tailor your content management approach.

Refine content

Using the insights gathered from measuring effectiveness you can refine your sales content strategy and create more of the content that works (and less of the content that doesn’t).

This iteration approach will give your sales team the insights they need to trust the new content and utilize it effectively.

What is a sales content management system?

A sales content management system (CMS) is the tool or software you’ll use to store, organize, and manage your sales content.

Sales reps need a user-friendly system to find the right sales materials quickly. This system should clearly organize content with tags and descriptions, making it easy to choose the best materials for each situation.

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Pair content with best practices

Often one piece of content won’t seal the deal – a seller may utilize several assets across the sales cycle. Being able to see which content is frequently used together or what the best practice messaging is for that content is useful for aiding sales rep decision-making.

Not only should your content management system have a search function so your reps can look for content quickly, the search bar should also be intuitive.

Intuitive search means it should work well and bring up all the content that mentions the keyword in the title, body text, or description. There’s nothing worse than being unable to find an asset on time because you searched for a slightly different wording.

Integrations

Sales reps use a lot of tools as part of their role. The best content management system for your organization is likely one that integrates with the rest of your sales tech stack. In particular, this software should connect to your sales rep’s email and your org's CRM

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Tags and categories

Being able to label and categorize sales assets allows them to be easily discovered through browsing. This allows sales reps to discover the perfect content to delight their client.

Some categories to use may include the stage in the customer journey and the buyer persona it’s targeted to. Your team may also find it useful to have all the sale types of content in one place, for example, all the video assets in a folder. 

This method of organizing content will allow your team to always have the right content on hand, and provide them with alternative options depending on the circumstances.

Descriptions

Remember earlier when we said sales reps need to understand the purpose of each asset? This is where your content description comes in. 

In the description of each piece of content, you should include any relevant information a sales rep might want to know at a glance. What topic does this asset cover? Which customer pain point does it try to resolve? Which use case was it designed for?

Filling out this info can provide your seller with more context on the collateral.

Easy personalization

More and more buyers expect personalized communication during the sales funnel, but it’s not practical to edit every asset for every client. Especially when you need to move content into another system to make changes.

Instead, a sales management system with built-in personalization features can help your sales reps personalize content efficiently so they can share the content faster.

Track content usage and effectiveness

Measuring the usage and effectiveness of sales collateral can aid adoption and provide insights into which assets to create, so your content management system must be able to track these metrics.

These insights will arm you with the knowledge to grow your revenue with sales content.