If you want to sell more products, you need to equip your salespeople with effective information. When you give them the information they need, they’ll go out and close more deals for you.
I did a bunch of work for one of the world’s largest enterprise software companies to help equip their sales teams. They created massive applications that store information, crunch numbers, and perform all the tasks you need to run a big business… and they sold these software applications to all the other big businesses in the world. Their software applications were mind-bogglingly immense, and complex, and they could be sold into numerous industries.
So when this software company’s sales teams were calling on a prospective client, the sales team had to get up to speed fast on the software they were selling.
That’s where I came in. Not just me, actually. I worked with a team of people including graphic artists, technology experts, editors, and a project manager; I was the writer.
Here’s what we did:
I, and the team I worked with, would get massive amounts of information from the corporation — content that included case studies, technical specifications, brochures, presentations, industry analyses, etc. — and we would distill this information into really sales-specific points. We followed a basic template in which we’d cover topics like the key industries that the software would help, what benefits the software provided, what marquee clients were already using the software, conversation starters that a salesperson might use to talk about the software, etc. Then we’d write this information up into a 20 minute interactive online presentation that covered all the topics quickly but thoroughly, allowing a sales team to get up to speed on the important parts of the sale in a very short amount of time.
It was sales training but not generic sales training — it was highly specific sales training to accomplish a goal: To empower the client’s sales team to get up to speed on their products fast so they could sell more effectively.
Each project would take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months to build, going through several levels of review and refinement. In total, I worked on more than a dozen of these information products, and was also sometimes tasked with writing content that would be used in customer-facing scenarios.
Even more interesting was that the projects were sometimes fairly standard (hey, it’s enterprise software — how exciting can it get?) but there were times when we were called upon to go above and beyond: When the executives in the organization asked us to help them “sell” a very sensitive price increase, we delivered. And when we were tasked with helping the organization through a complicated merger, we delivered.
The projects were very valuable for me: They taught me to apply sales skills into a multinational organization context, I got to work for a fairly well-known company (as well as their partners, which are just as well-known) and I got to work with a team, which is something I enjoy but don’t always get to do.
And the projects were valuable for the client, too. The content we produced was initially intended for a small, internal audience and they used it to help them to close multi-million dollar deals. And later, our work expanded somewhat beyond that scope and that content was sometimes used to educate the larger organization about their product and even as part of the customer-facing sales presentation.
I’m particularly proud of those projects because they had highly tangible results for a variety of audiences.