How to Prep Your Sales Teams with Competitive Intelligence
Competitive intelligence is a critical piece of most sales cycles and often a top concern for sales teams. Sales teams that do not have the right intelligence (intel) face the potential to feel discredited, or ill-prepared in front of prospects during the sales cycle. As a marketer with a deep partnership with our sales teams, at every feedback cycle, the top thing we hear is that sales teams want is more competitive intelligence, more enablement on said intel, and more customer-facing collateral to help them during their sales cycles.
In this blog, I will share 5 tips to successfully prep your sales teams with the competitive intelligence that they need and desire.
1. Align with the Sales Org on What is Needed
Every marketer’s best friend should be sales. If you’re not sure what your sales team needs or you haven’t checked in with them lately on what’s working and not working, ask your sales team these essential questions to better understand where to focus your time.:
- What competitors do they see the most often?
- Where do they feel the weakest regarding crafting a story on why your solution is better than the rest?
- What additional materials do they need to better craft their story?
With constant updates in the competitive landscape, sales needs to be ready with the right material. Furthermore, aligning with sales will help prioritize on what content they are actually looking for. Sales wants more battle cards rather than lengthy decks? You got it! This will help save time for both you and them.
Lastly, buy-in from sales teams is essential to help keep sales reps accountable for attending enablement sessions and using the content that is created for them. It’s incredibly disheartening to both parties when sales teams don’t realize what fantastic content is out there for them. Aligning with sales leadership will help you make your voice heard across the organization, and ensure that adequate time is dedicated and allotted to enabling the teams.
2. Create a Plan
Need to have your sales teams ready and enabled by a product launch? The key to having them ready in time is creating a plan and sticking to it. The ideal method is to give yourself a 30-45-60 day work back plan that details what content needs to be created by when to ensure that the team is enabled in time. For example, following a work back plan would ensure that not only do you have your content ready for the enablement session, but you also give yourself enough time to familiarize with the content better and be a true expert when speaking to sales.
The needs for competitive intelligence are continually changing and are always in high demand. As you work to create competitive content on a deadline, don’t hesitate to reach out to others for help. It is essential to pull the right people into projects to make sure the work can be done in time.
3. Organize Your Information in a Digestible Manner
Do you enjoy presenting an 80-page deck? No? Well, neither do sales reps. I have to remind myself that my decks will lose people if I don’t keep them digestible. Keeping this in mind, it is ideal to synthesize the main points for your presentation. Keep your slides clean with the rule of 3 or 5 (either 3 bullets or 5, no more and no less), and put the sources for the points that you’re making in the notes section of your slide deck. This is great if anyone wants to see precisely where the metrics or points were taken from while avoiding adding clutter to the presentation. Takeaway points should be front and center as the title of the slide to help sales remember the main point that is being made and help them hit the message home with their audience.
In addition to the slide deck for the presentation, depending on the feedback you receive from sales on what content resonates the best with them, it could help to create a battle card or datasheet on the content presented so that sales reps have a synthesized version that they can print out at their desks.
4. Enable the Sales Orgs
During the enablement session, make sure to involve sales teams. Don’t talk at them, talk with them. Ask questions, add trivia points—get them involved and engaged. A great way is adding relevant gifs, (I love giphy) during the presentation that can catch their attention.
Workshops are another great way to keep sales engaged during presentations. Start out with an enablement session to get them familiar with the content, then have a follow-up workshop with them to make sure they took in what was shown to them and give them a venue to practice it.
5. Post-Mortem Check
Don’t forget to send the content out to the sales teams after your enablement session. Either storing links to everything in a central repository in a toolkit of sorts or sending an email summary out are great ways to remind sales of all the great content that has been created.
Loop back around to sales managers and sales teams to get feedback on both the content and the enablement. Don’t be afraid of criticism, as long as it is constructive. More often it will be reassuring to hear what worked and what didn’t, so that you can better prepare yourself the next time.
Lastly, continuously update content as new competitive intelligence is gained, but also as new feedback is given on what resonated with the sales teams. Incorporating this feedback is key to working hand in hand with sales teams.
What do you do as a marketer to enable your sales team? How do you prepare your competitive intelligence? I’d love to hear your best practices in the comments. Let’s keep the discussion going!