This article is a summary of a conversation, held between our Head of Content, Erika Davis, and our GM, Theron Glenny, on the content enablement function of a successful sales execution capability.
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We hope you will enjoy the video and benefit from reading this article, as a way to review and capture the key points.
What is content enablement?
Content enablement is the process of keeping reps in the loop, when you create new content, and making sure that the feedback loop also moves in the other direction, gathering feedback from reps to inform new content creation.
Strong content enablement means the resources which go into content creation are maximized with rep participation and ultimate adoption.
Who owns content enablement?
In smaller teams, a team manager typically takes on the responsibility for enabling their reps, as new content is created. Even in larger enterprises, managers should be very involved in this process.
When there may be a trainer in this capacity, or a designated sales enablement specialist, these folks will facilitate this function at a high level. However, this should not replace hands-on attention from a team manager who facilitates the feedback loop, with their own reps, and offers accountability on content adoption.
What does “good” look like?
Successful content enablement is cross-functional, across both roles and teams. They will work with leadership to understand the company’s goals and how content relates to the KPIs for which reps are being held accountable.
However, content enablement leaders will also work closely with reps to make sure they have seen drafts and been a part of the creation process so new content is familiar and perceived as valuable. As such, this function should have an ear to the ground on all levels of the company.
The content enablement function can also help to settle the frequent disputes between reps who want to create their own content, or have been permitted to in the past, and management or leadership level employees who want to centralize content creation.
With a solid enablement motion in place, reps can be involved throughout the process without sacrificing content quality assurance practices which may limit direct content creation permissions.
How does it work?
The sales enablement motion will vary, based on each company’s maturity in adopting and implementing its SEP. When you’re new to sales execution, enablement will be much more hands-on. This may look like heavy documentation, frequent training, and regular communication.
Specific examples may include an internal wiki, a clear foldering process, and a digest of updates. However, teams shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming reps are checking these resources. They need to be frequently consulted, with clear ties between new content and their KPIs, to make sure they are consuming enablement materials.
At the end of the day, the content enablement function needs to remember that the true customer is actually the rep. Base the way content enablement works, in your org, on what your reps need.
This also means that, if feedback creates more work for reps, they will likely not speak up. Instead, they will just avoid adopting the new content. As such, any feedback solicitation motion should be easy and put the “work” of synthesizing that feedback back onto content enablement, managers, or writers. Solving the problem should not fall on reps.
In larger organizations, maintaining a successful balance between including and burdening reps will take buy-in across different teams. Marketing, sales management, content writers, and content managers will all have to agree on the best way to involve reps and work through content enablement to safeguard that agreed-upon balance.
This function will work closely with content writers to collaborate with reps. If these functions are housed in different people’s roles, then those people should both (or all) participate in rep discovery conversations. It’s important that writers and enablement team members align.
Additionally, content managers should be very involved in the content enablement function. Collaboration between owners of these functions ensures that the things which reps are requesting make it into the content that’s produced. Content managers facilitate the whole creation process, possibly across the whole org, so they should be scaling that rep feedback to support all end users.
How can leadership support this function?
Leadership team members must align with one another on content objectives and on the priority to listen to the content enablement function. Giving decision making power, and valuing the feedback they share from reps, is essential to making sure the critical adoption needed on the front lines trickles up to achieving the KPIs which leadership values.
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