If you’ve had a conversation about sales enablement lately, chances are the word “content” has come up. In fact, it’s probably come up a lot.

And rightly so. While there are many definitions of sales enablement floating around, it ultimately comes down to one thing: providing reps with the knowledge and resources they need to increase productivity and sell more effectively.

Sales organizations today rely on the right content to:

  • Help add value to their sales conversations
  • Share with buyers and hold their attention
  • Review onboarding and training resources
  • Prepare for upcoming sales calls and meetings

So yes, the content you create for sales is important. But HOW that content is delivered and made available to reps? That’s just as critical. Really, it’s about ACCESS – fast, seamless access to the resources reps need, right when they need them.

When you look at it this way, it seems only natural to make the CRM part of your sales enablement strategy. Platforms like Salesforce already represent a major investment, of course; not just as a tool, but as a strategic solution to drive business. Sales enablement technology can help take that investment even further, making the CRM a solution for the big content problems facing a lot of companies today.

The problem of “random acts of sales support”

A while back, Scott Santucci (then a principal analyst with Forrester) wrote about a phenomena he described as “random acts of sales support”, and it’s a topic he recently revisited in a new post titled Is Your Content Drowning Your Sales Force?

The concept basically speaks to uncoordinated efforts where everyone at a company pitches in to support sales, but the result is just the opposite. Content is delivered randomly from all angles, and reps become overwhelmed and confused over what to use.

Instead of increasing sales productivity, you hinder it.

This is a common issue for B2B organizations, and part of the problem is the way resources are delivered to sales teams. Company messages and product updates are delivered from all angles. On-demand training is accessed via a third-party LMS. Prospecting and slide content is found on network drives, SharePoint – I mean, it can be anywhere.

Ideally, all this valuable “stuff” (and it is valuable!) should be housed in a central place where salespeople can easily find what the need, when they need it. (Sales enablement should make things easier on reps, not burden them, after all).

That’s where the CRM comes in to play. If you’re going to have a single place for all your sales enablement content and resources, why not take advantage of a system reps are already using?

At Brainshark, we’ve integrated a large portion of our sales enablement content and resources right into Salesforce. As a result, we’ve been able to streamline and simplify the delivery of sales content and training in a way that already makes sense for reps.

Three ways to increase productivity within Salesforce

Here are just a few ways sales enablement can fit within a CRM like Salesforce:

#1. Onboarding Resources – Many companies supplement live sales training with some sort of on-demand, self-paced eLearning approach, typically delivered via a third-party learning management system (LMS). This is great for adding flexibility to the onboarding process, but it also creates yet another system for reps to log into.

If you can integrate that same formal learning environment within the CRM, then you can train reps from the same system you want them using anyway. For example, if new hires can see all they need to get ramped up as soon as they get their Salesforce logins, it not only simplifies the learning process, but increases adoption by conditioning reps to use the CRM from Day 1. It immediately becomes the central location for reps to find resources that help them sell better.

#2. Preparation Resources – Obviously, training doesn’t end once reps are out in the field. To add value to their conversations with buyers, they need to stay up-to-date on everything from industry trends to value messaging.

“What do I say to THIS unique buyer, for THIS unique industry, at THIS stage of the sales cycle?” Ideally, if you can bring your sales content into the CRM, you can not only make those resources readily available, but also tie them to the actual leads, contacts, opportunities and accounts reps are dealing with.

#3. Selling Resources – There’s also the content reps use when interacting with buyers. For example, content to share during prospecting, email outreach and social selling, live presentation content, or follow-up materials to send after a meeting.

Once again, by delivering this content via the CRM, you can more easily make it available in context with specific sales situations. At Brainshark, we filter our content for different job titles, products and selling stages, so our reps can find exactly what they need without having to search for it or even leave Salesforce.

These are just three examples of integrating sales enablement processes. With steps like these, you can not only avoid “random acts” and support reps more efficiently, but you can drive Salesforce adoption across your organization as well – which is something every sales organization can get behind.

About the Author

Brendan Cournoyer is director of content marketing at Brainshark, a sales enablement solution provider that helps companies increase productivity right within Salesforce. You can follow him on Twitter @brencournoyer.

For more on how to choose the CRM that is right for you and your business, download the free e-book.