written by
Rimma Sytnik

5 Must-Have Content Types to Reinforce Your Sales Engagement Strategy

Content Marketing 7 min read

Effective sales content is the key to engaging, nurturing and converting sales leads. In fact, 67% of B2B buyers surveyed in the 2020 Content Preferences Study admitted to relying even more on content with their purchase decisions than they did last year and according to the content marketing predictions for the future will continue to do so.

Salespeople seem to be well aware of the power the content has on buyers, considering that they use an average of 6.7 pieces of collateral per sales cycle.

The only question is: are they using the right content in their sales engagement efforts?

In this article, we will explore the most valuable types of content and talk about what makes them so important.

But first, let’s shed the light on the importance of sales enablement in general.

Table of contents:
The role of content in sales enablement
5 content types to power up your sales engagement efforts
Social proof
Educational content
Personalized video
Content tools and resources
How to create content that is both useful and usable

The role of content in sales enablement

Simply put, sales enablement refers to any tools and resources that can help a sales team do their job, i.e. generate leads, making money, nurture opportunities, and close deals, more effectively. This might include any hardware and software, skills, processes, as well as content that can help them along the way.

Let’s focus specifically on the latter — the content and its sales enablement potential.

There are tons of sales collateral that most teams use: email templates and call scripts, persona documents, competitive battlecards, product sheets, playbooks, and checklists, etc. Those are mostly internal documents that salespeople rely on in their day-to-day activities to streamline repetitive processes, share the product and audience knowledge, and support them at each stage of the buying cycle.

What’s even more important is the customer-facing resources (which we will talk about in more detail later). From starting a conversation with the prospect, addressing their questions and objections, and up to closing the deal, relying on the right sales enablement content throughout the buyer’s journey allows the sales teams to build meaningful and unique relationships with the prospects.

As a result, sales enablement content can directly impact your bottom line. The companies with a clear content strategy in place see a 55% win rate (compared to 43% for organizations that don’t have one).

5 content types to power up your sales engagement efforts

Talking about the helpful extras you can use to reinforce your sales engagement efforts, it’s best to ask the buyers directly about what they want or don’t want.

And that is exactly what Forrester did in their recent survey. According to the research, the buyers are getting fed up with useless and excessive content shared by the vendors.

Instead, they want content that is concise yet “authentic, credible, and empathetic.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the frequently used sales content types that fall into this category.

1. Social proof

One of the most effective B2B marketing assets, case studies and customer testimonials are also among the top 3 most-wanted content types according to the buyers (according to the Forrester research mentioned above).

It can be a case study relevant to their business vertical or buyer persona, customer testimonial from industry peers, or simply a detailed online review addressing their concerns.

Injecting this kind of social proof into your sales engagement cadence helps you establish credibility and show that you can be trusted as a vendor.

Just don’t get carried away with this type of content. There’s a fine line between a useful case study and a straight-up bragging. Focus on the customer stories — specific problems they solved using your product and the goals they were able to achieve — instead of your product benefits.

2. One-pagers

It might be tempting to shoot that 20-page slide deck detailing the benefits and use cases for your product to anticipate their objectives once and for all. That would make the selling process so much easier!

Yet, as mentioned above, the buyers won’t care less about your detailed and in-depth actually happens if you send those slides is that you will never hear back from the prospect again.

So instead, why don’t you put together a one-pager providing the same information in a visual and easy-to-digest format? Looking through such a brochure (like the Gong one-pager exemplified below) would only take a couple of minutes, rather than a couple of hours, of their time and is much more likely to motivate them to respond to you.

The most popular types of one-pagers are the product- and competition-related ones. The latter come in handy when trying to switch the prospect from the competitor’s product.

Aside from sharing these one-pagers with your prospects, it also makes sense to have them as battlecards for internal use, e.g., as demo cheatsheets or training materials for the new hires.

3. Educational content

Sharing an insightful, relevant piece of content is a perfect follow-up tactic. Instead of annoying the prospect with yet another “just checking in” message, you offer more value and show your genuine concern for their challenges and pain points.

As a result, a simple thank you note from the prospect can start a two-way conversation and eventually lead to a fruitful cooperation.

Just make sure to carefully pick the content you share. This can be an insightful article, a practical how-to piece, an in-depth expert guide, or past webinar recording — anything that is credible, easy to digest, and relevant to this specific prospect, considering their industry and business role will do.

You can also use the content from third-party resources, as long as they are credible and in line with your messaging.

4. Personalized video

Personalization is by far the most powerful weapon when it comes to sales engagement. In fact, 72% of buyers say they only engage with the brand messaging that is personalized.

Video content, on the other hand, is also driving significant results for sales teams, according to Vidyard. Some of the teams using video get 3X more responses from their emails, others have reportedly cut their sales cycles in half.

So, add a dash of personalization to your videos, and voila! you get a surefire way to win over almost any prospect.

And you don’t even need a professional cameraman or a creative screenplay to create those videos. It can be as simple as saying hi to the prospect with your default webcam and microphone or screen capture with a personal commentary.

A snap shot from our film set while producing a documentary series for the Holocaust Center for Humanities. Here we are interviewing a local high school about their experience with some of the Center’s teaching materials.

Whether it’s a warm intro targeting a cold lead or a product walk-through for an inbound prospect, a tailored video-based message can be a great conversation-starter, leading to more opportunities down the road.

5. Content tools and resources

Content tools and resources that have a practical value are typically used as lead magnets, driving inbound leads to your product. Yet, they might come in handy to other prospects as well, especially those who have specifically voiced a problem or challenge that your tool can solve or mitigate.

For example, a first-time founder will definitely appreciate a collection of Lean Startup templates by Eric Ries himself. In case a prospect lacks inspiration for their email campaigns, introduce them to the resources like Really Good Emails.

Be it a checklist, a calculator, or a catalog — anything that has a practical value and can be useful to this specific prospect can help you win their favor and lay a foundation for future relationships.

Similar to the educational content, these tools don’t necessarily have to be created by your company. You can as well share handy resources from non-competing companies or your partners.

How to create content that is both useful and usable

According to different reports, up to 80% of the content created for sales teams might remain unused. Some of the common reasons as to why the content goes to waste are that it’s outdated, irrelevant, or difficult to customize.

Yet, if we dig a little deeper, the root cause of the situation — the gap between sales and marketing — becomes pretty obvious.

Marketing professionals often lack real-world insights into the sales processes, buyer personas, and use cases to make their content easy to access and use as well as relevant to the needs of the sales team.

The sales reps in their turn are rarely involved in the content creation process (which is understandable), so they simply don’t have an opportunity to communicate this information along with their requirements to the marketing team.

As a result, the only way to create content that is both useful and usable is through sales and marketing alignment.

Simply put, sales know what to say, marketing knows how to do that. All they need to do is get on the same page. Some of the best ways to do that are:

  • create a formal process for content requests
  • set up a convenient collaboration and knowledge sharing environment
  • hold regular meetings to generate ideas and exchange insights
  • build a constant feedback loop between the departments
  • make sure to review and update the available materials often

And make sure to keep track of the content performance — knowing what works and what doesn’t will help you better understand the needs and interests of the target audience and adjust your further activities for the best results.