Sales Content Management Software Overview
What are Sales Content Tools?
Sales content tools are content repositories or hubs that enable content sharing (internal and external) for sales teams. They are sometimes called sales enablement or sales content management systems. Sales content tools are frequently used to align marketing and sales messaging, maintain brand consistency, collaborate on sales content, and deliver content (such as presentations, white papers, etc.) to prospects during the sales cycle. Some sales content tools assist with content personalization or track content performance to make intelligent recommendations about which content to use and/or when to use it with a particular opportunity. Sales presentation software fits within this category. The notion of "sales communications" also tends to fit here.
Sales content tools help organizations store, create, and/or manage the content used by reps during sales cycles. Most sales content software includes a centralized sales content repository with an advanced search, analytics around content usage and content performance, and built-in best practices, often surfaced as content recommendations or smart content. These recommendations may be based on rules controlled by sales leaders, sales performance managers, or marketers, or based on predictive analytics models that use content performance, sales performance data, and buyer journey data to predict the best-fit content for a particular situation. Tools that integrate with Salesforce may serve up content “in context” of a particular record or opportunity, or may pull in details from the CRM system to personalize content.
Some sales content software is designed around Marketing-led content creation—assets are fed by marketers into a central database for their sales teams to send out—whereas other products include Sales content creation kits for reps to quickly whiteboard concepts for prospects or produce branded presentations, proposals, etc. In most cases this distinction is not black and white, but buyers should pre-determine whether Marketing and/or Sales plans to lead sales content creation in order to determine which software option will work best for their use case. Relatedly, sales content tools often include features for content collaboration, approval workflows, updating content, content file sharing, etc. These functionalities are especially useful and important for large enterprises in which branding politics are more complex and messaging is more tightly controlled.
Terminology: Sales Content, Sales Enablement & Sales Acceleration
Sales content is usually a big part of an organization’s sales enablement strategy, so sometimes the buzzword “sales enablement” is used as a synonym for sales content software. This can be a bit confusing, since the term also describes, more broadly, sales management practices and tools that support sales effectiveness by equipping salespeople with the information, assets, technology, and best practices needed to sell both well and more. In thought leadership articles and best practices tips, the latter definition is usually at play; in product-specific marketing materials, “sales enablement” usually translates to sales content software. Buyers should note that sales content management tends to be a (if not the) major component of products branded as Sales Enablement software, but that other types of tools—not necessarily comparable in function—also fit under the Sales Enablement umbrella.
The terms “sales acceleration,” “sales productivity,” and “sales automation” are also used to describe sales content tools. Features like advanced document search, CRM integration, and automatic branding can be considered time-saving elements aimed at increasing the efficiency of sales reps. In this sense, sales content software is a sort of productivity tool, but with a focus on the substance of the sales conversation rather than just the goal of automating administrative tasks.
Key Benefits of Sales Content Software
- Increased Sales productivity, since the sales content tool helps eliminate wasted time searching for or re-creating content.
- Decreased onboarding time and an accelerated sales cycle, due to content recommendations and automated on-the-job coaching.
- Improved Sales effectiveness by using content that is targeted and proven to work (based on previous use cases and prospect engagement/sales results).
- Alignment of sales and marketing, as the platform facilitates communication between departments and promotes current messaging.
Sales Content Tools Features & Capabilities
- Centralized sales content repository: Organized system for storing sales content, i.e. assets salespeople can use in conversations with prospects.
- Sales content reporting & analytics: Tracks content usage (which content is used by which salespeople and when) and/or content performance (engagement, ROI, how content works in different situations).
- Branded sales content: Content in the repository is created by, updated by, and/or approved by marketing, so that assets available to and pushed to sales are always on-brand.
- Sales content kits / personalized content: Allows salespeople to manually or semi-automatically create content for particular opportunities (for example, proposals, presentations, whiteboarding, etc.)
- Mobile sales content: Sales content is mobile-optimized and can be accessed by salespeople via their mobile devices.
- Content recommendations – Content engine feeds recommended content to salespeople based on the details of the prospect/opportunity. These built-in best practices provide automatic on-the-job training, coaching, and/or general guidance.
- Advanced content search: Salespeople can easily search for and find specific, relevant content. Search goes beyond just the title of the asset/document.
- Sales content integration to Salesforce: – content fed into SF records, esp relevant to productivity and automation/recommendations. Recommend content “in context.” In context for sales reps means in SF
- Sales partner management: The software makes content available to indirect sales teams with controlled access; marketers/sales managers can distribute up-to-date messages and info to partners.
- Sales content collaboration: Includes the ability to collaborate on sales content, with file sharing, oversight, approval workflows, comments, versioning/editing, etc.