Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing & More! My special guest today is Felix Krueger. Felix is the . His company specializes in sales enablement, Account-Based Marketing for B2B enterprises, and he recently launched his podcast, The State of Sales Enablement.
Today we talk about how to make sales content a competitive advantage.
In this episode:
- The role of content in sales enablement.
- Definition of a sales enablement from a sales perspective?
- The evolution of content in the context of sales enablement and collaboration with marketing.
- What is the significant difference between marketing content and sales content?
- How can a content marketer support the sales team? What should they pay attention to?
- How the current pandemic changed sales and how salespeople build relationships with the customers.
- In what ways pandemic changed the content use.
- What are some of the content formats that tend to be a whole lot more popular right now?
- How can sales fight the distractions of remote work and the new landscape of buyers working from home?
- How can content help sales in online communication?
- What industries are impacted the most with the new digital communication, and how they make the transition?
- What are some of the quick content wins that marketers can use to achieve when collaborating with your sales team?
Quotes from the episode:
“The buyers have changed because a lot of people started working from home. Suddenly, they have all kinds of different distractions. Because people began communicating on their terms, which is often not real-time, buyers have had an increased need for content.”
“There is a big opportunity for [tech] companies to utilize content to deliver a more personalized experience to different roles. Also, if you think about penetrating organizations as a sales team in terms of account-based marketing, you can use content to do the networking.”
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Hello marketers. Today I welcome a special guest – Felix Krueger. Felix is the CEO of Krueger Marketing. His company specializes in sales enablement, Account-Based Marketing for B2B enterprises. Must I say, these are my favorite three terms. I’m very, very happy! Sales enablement and account-based marketing and the B2B enterprises. By the way, he recently launched his podcast, The State of Sales Enablement. I’ll as it again – my favorite word, and he just completed season one. Congratulations, Felix. And welcome to my show.
Felix Krueger: Thanks, Pam. It’s awesome to be here following your content. I’ve learned so much, uh, in the process of producing my show. So, uh, it’s great to be involved finally.
Pam Didner: So for today, we’re going to talk about sales enablement, account-based marketing, especially for B2B enterprises.
So I’m going to cut to the chase. What is your point of view in terms of the role of content in sales enablement? And also, what is the definition of sales enablement from your perspective?
Felix Krueger: Yeah. I mean, that’s, that’s an interesting one, you know, because a sales enablement is quite a young discipline and, um, there’s a lot of definitions depending on who you’re talking to. Traditionally, sales enablement was seen as a training discipline, you know, something that’s a term that was coined by, uh, learning and development folks.
But, over time, it has evolved much more into a role that connects sales to the rest of the organization to drive commercial outcomes and help the sales department deliver the best of their ability.
And those kinds of relationships include the marketing team, of course–you’ve got the product marketing, producing content, passing it onto the sales team and so on.
So I think it’s more of a facilitating function in a lot of organizations at the state. Yeah.
Pam Didner: Yeah. I do agree with that. Yeah.
Felix Krueger: Yeah. If you, if you see, as sales being the department that has the potential to make the biggest impact commercially within an organization, it makes sense to have a dedicated function that supports those guys. So that’s, that’s kind of the job of sales enablement.
In terms of the role that content plays, as I said, because of the history of sales enablement content in the sales enablement context was often spoken about as being a training material, you know? Content that teaches salespeople how to best talk to a product—those things include phone scripts, competitive matrixes, and so on.
But the content in the context of sales enablement has evolved into something that is market-facing, especially in collaboration with the marketing department, uh, product marketing, producing content that helps educate buyers and reduce friction during the buying process. Uh, I think this is kind of the focus of the content in a sales enablement context these days.
Pam Didner: Do you see the major difference between marketing content and sales content?
And if you do see there is a difference, can you help us understand what the differences are. And also, if marketers are trying to support the sales team, for example, content marketer, what should they pay attention to?
Felix Krueger: Yeah, I think the, uh, traditionally the difference would have been that the sales content is more transaction-focused, you know? So it’s things like, uh,
Pam Didner: the bottom of the funnel—”Come on, let’s close the PO! Get things going!” (laughs)
Felix Krueger: That’s right. “Show me the money!”
Pam Didner: Exactly! (both laugh).
Felix Krueger: No, but, uh, I think, I think the transactional content, you know, it’s something like a product overview, decks, things like business case templates. So on, you know, also, basically everything that helps to close the deal. But, you know, marketing content or the differentiation between marketing and sales content comes from that mentality, that it’s a linear process of marketing doing a job, and then finishing that job and generating leads and then passing it on to sales.
The most successful B2B enterprise sales and marketing teams kind of blur that border and work more closely together.
And, what used to be previously categorized as thought leadership pieces, content that talks about trends and markets, the solution category, and so on. So basically, everything that’s more top of the funnel is now being used by sales more and more. I think this is the way to go, particularly if marketing considers sales as a targeted distribution channel with existing relationships and market to existing connections on social media. I think this is the way to go and any organization that doesn’t think that way has a disadvantage these days.
Pam Didner: Understood. So, you know, obviously, with the current pandemic, many things have changed, especially on the sales side, right? The salespeople in the past had opportunities to visit the customers, and they can build a relationship. They can do a lot of show and tell. They can pass the information directly to the customers.
And with the pandemic, they are forced to do a lot of communication virtually.
From that perspective, have you noticed that the content usage on the sales side has been changed? And also, what are some of the formats that tend to be a whole lot more popular right now?
Felix Krueger: The first thing that has changed is the buyer, you know, in a sense that, I mean the biggest change for everybody, I guess, uh, in most places and certainly in Australia, even though, uh, COVID wasn’t as prominent here as it is in other parts of the world, but—
Pam Didner: No way! How is everything over there? Are you guys fully opening?
Felix Krueger: We are open. No mask mandates, uh, anywhere. OK. We, I think we didn’t have any community transfers since Christmas, so, uh, we are pretty—
PamD:: Really?? That’s almost like six months! That’s fantastic.
Felix Krueger: Yeah. Yeah,
Pam Didner: OK, we are very jealous. OK. I just want to let you know. We are very jealous. We’ll get there.
Felix Krueger: You’ll get there. You’ve got all the vaccines.
Pam Didner: True. True. Right. Sorry to interrupt. Keep going, please.
Felix Krueger: No. So I think, uh, as I said, I think the buyers have changed, you know?
Because a lot of people started working from home, they have all kinds of different distractions suddenly.
For those who weren’t used to working from home, you know, like suddenly they had to navigate, um, the new environment and the way they communicate with their colleagues and with, um, with salespeople. Right. So, and I think because people started communicating on their terms, which is often not in real-time, buyers have had an increased need for content that is not as elaborate as typical sales content.
Pam Didner: I think so too. That’s one thing I do agree with you; it’s not elaborate. And also needs to be shorter.
Felix Krueger: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. And on top of that, it’s a need to be engaging, you know, because, uh, you have all kinds of distractions of things that might catch your attention.
Pam Didner: Dog barking, the baby crying, somebody’s yelling in the background (laughs)!
Felix Krueger: Absolutely. Plus ten social feeds that, uh, you know, just bombard you with interesting content left, right and center.
So you’re not competing only against other companies in your market, you’re competing against all those different distractions.
Pam Didner: … distractions that happen on the spot.
Felix Krueger: Yeah. So I think in that sense, sales content had to change a lot. And the way of engaging the buyer also required them to engage with sales content on their terms. You know? So, the whole experience of sitting in a room with a salesperson for one hour, going through 30 slides, having a face-to-face discussion and back and forth involving other stakeholders is that that experience has gone. And I think it’s gone for good, you know, and what happens now is that that whole, that one experience that you used to have, um, is more decentralized now. You might have a content piece shared via social media that you see.
Then you have an email shared before the meeting with the content piece; you have a remote presentation that is much shorter than it used to be during the meeting. And then you have followed up content being shared that you can consume, but that you can also share with other stakeholders within the business.
I think content is much shorter, much more engaging and needs to be used much more strategically than it used to be.
Pam Didner: Yeah. And another thing that I have noticed is that sales to be a whole savvier in front of a screen. Right. The lighting needs to be good. The sound needs to be good. And the communication, the posture, like the whole thing that in the past. I have met so many salespeople, they are just charming in person, but when you put a camera or a webcam in front of them, they just become incredibly stiff.
Felix Krueger: I know exactly what you mean. Yeah.
Pam Didner: So now they feel like they have to break that fourth wall, you know, like. “Now it’s another camera, it’s not a camera, just like another customer that’s looking at me, and I’m just going to be a charming person.” Like, you know, like I’m talking to someone who is in front of me. So I think they have to kind of overcome that. And the, in the past, they feel like they don’t need to worry about that. But now I think they come to realize that that’s not a skill set they need to have or possess.
Felix Krueger: I think that’s also where content can help salespeople and salespeople that are.
Not necessarily as are outgoing because like content in general, if you think about it, it’s advice or information that is canned, right? So you can, you can reuse it, and it’s the same experience over and over again, you know? And, uh, I think utilizing content becomes so much more crucial, especially if you’re not that great in front of a camera. But if you’re great in front of the camera, on a Zoom call, and you’re able to use the content, you’re obviously…
Pam Didner: … even better! So let me share a story with you. Um, this is back in probably May last year–so that’s pretty much at the peak of the pandemic. And, uh, I was pitching to a prospect. I got a very early shower. I put makeup on, and I got lighting all good. And I got my sound tested, and everything’s good. OK. Because I’m pitching to a potential prospect. Then the marketing manager, uh, this prospect showed up, you know, the hair was not calm and the wearing a sweatshirt and a no-makeup whatsoever.
And the toddler, you know, her toddler was crying in the background, and she looked at me and said, “I’m so sorry, is it possible that I go, you know, kind of take care of my toddler first?” I say, “no problem. And don’t worry about it. Do you want me to reschedule?” And she’d say, “no, no, no. Don’t worry about it because my calendar is completely booked. If we need to talk, it has to be two weeks out.” I was like, “oh, you know what? We should talk now. I don’t want that opportunity to, you know, like, wait two weeks.”
So ultimately, this is what happened. I’m not kidding. I was pitching to her. And her toddler was sitting right here, and I’m talking the toddler.
No. So this woman who is, I can tell, incredibly tired. So, and then at that time, I was thinking, you know what? “Don’t worry about looking at slides. Why don’t we just have a conversation? You know, I ditch the whole deck, and we all just having a conversation.” And I was like, the toddler’s name, Tyler and I was like “Hi Tyler! Smile a little bit, please!” (both laugh) All of a sudden, it was a three-way conversation, with Tyler, too.
That was probably the most interesting pitch I have ever done, but I can relate to a story in terms of, like, you are doing a pitch right now.
It just, you never know what is the factor that you can control. In the past, the salespeople can be in person with your prospects, your customers, and the whole environment they control.
But when you are doing virtual, there are so many factors you just cannot control, denying that I never imagined I was doing the pitch to a potential prospect and a toddler. That was fun. Next time, my whole presentation needs to be a whole lot more interactive. I need to have some cartoons as a part of the deck!
Felix Krueger: That’s right. Get the sock puppets out!
Pam Didner: Exactly! Alright, now let’s come back to the sales enablement. So do you see benefiting from the customers that update the sales content game? For example, they modified maybe they are show-and-tell, right. Instead of doing a demo, they kind of do a real show Intel using a screen-sharing and or they shorten their presentations.
So what industries got impacted the most, and how do they make that transition?
Felix Krueger: Yeah, I think, uh, technology companies, uh, for sure, technology companies that offer technology, especially in the infrastructure space that is very versatile and can do many different things to many people within the organization. Those people benefit most from really upping their sales content game. So if you think about infrastructure technology that touches on not only the technical stuff, but you have the head of analytics, you’ve got the head of digital, you’ve got the CEO and so on… The technology is impacting as many different people. Still, at the same time, you can’t deliver one pitch to all of them, you know, because all of them have different agendas, priorities, and goals, uh, for their respective roles and departments.
So I think there’s a big opportunity for those companies to utilize content to deliver a more personalized experience to those different roles. Also, if you think about penetrating organizations as a sales team in terms of account-based marketing – not just going in and like in the past, trying to build relationships and networking and being able to get face time with those different departments that are being impacted in person, but utilizing content to do the networking for you, you know? So you’re able to create an internal champion who appreciates your product and the power that your product has for that organization.
That internal champion can then distribute content on your behalf that explains the benefits and the impacts to different departments within the organization. And you might be able to get other departments onboard without even personally interacting with them through content.
Pam Didner: True. True. I do believe the tech segment tend to, uh, make that change a whole lot faster than traditional segments. And I think that has a lot to do with, uh, the technology. And if your technology somehow has been set up–even if it’s not 100%, but you have a certain kind of a foundation that has been built it–then if you add additional technology on top of it, it’s not too hard. But if in a traditional segment beyond non-necessary have that foundation built or, uh, they don’t have virtual communication or infrastructure built to scale to the different, uh, members within an organization, then it does take a little bit of a time to catch up.
And I feel the industry that serves healthcare and education, which is these are the two most needed, in terms of the virtual communication, they have to up their sales game, big time to serve the customers. Because like, for example, healthcare, they would like, you know, for a long time, we will talk in about telehealth, which is have liked to be online, talk to your doctors, but it’s expensive.
And the healthcare institution in the U.S. they drag their feet like “Why? Everybody comes to see a doctor anyway. Why do we need to waste money to do that?”
Then when things happen, they have to accelerate that deployment so quickly.
And with that being said, and I think the vendors are supporting, uh, these two segments they have to up their sales game in terms of, uh, build that communication quickly with the contact to help them deploy the infrastructure in these two segments.
Felix Krueger: Yeah, Yeah. I think healthcare is due for a disruption, especially the long tail.
Pam Didner: Big time. Oh, they feel the pain. I know that everybody suffered in this chaotic nightmare, but I think that the bright side of it has accelerated the digital transformation in many, many companies. Including just like, Felix, can you imagine like me? I mean, I have a 4k camera right here. I have like five selfie lights, and then I have like three different microphones is freaking insane! (both laugh)
Felix Krueger: Got like a camera store over there.
Pam Didner: No kidding! And if you’d asked me like a year ago, like audio interface. “I was like, huh? What is that?” “Oh yeah, I need that. OK.” We need to worry about the quality of the sound. We need to think through it in terms of the quality of the video. I was like – I don’t care for any of this, but it somehow forced us to learn.
And I guess, in a way, it made us more well-rounded marketers. The next question I want to ask you is, what are some of the quick content wins that marketers can achieve when collaborating with your sales team? What can’t you do?
Felix Krueger: Well, there’s one thing you can do today if you’re a marketer is, um, you can start sending out an email to your sales team sharing any new content that you put out.
Pam Didner: I like that. Yep.
Felix Krueger: And, um, include information like, um, who it’s targeting, which persona, which hopefully is the persona would be something that also sells across or ideally would have been involved in developing. So you can just put the persona and the ideal use case–you know, like how you ideally utilize that content piece, whether it’s in an email, whether it’s on social media and so on.
And you can also attach other information, like at which stage of the funnel, if you’re aligned in that way and so on. But I think persona and use case it’s the easiest thing you can include, and there’ll be the quickest thing you know, like to start communicating each content piece that is being produced with the sales team to get that collaboration going. Beyond that, I think something that you could do. Probably within the two-week timeframe would be something like, uh, auditing all of your existing content.
Pam Didner: Sales side? Or the marketing side? Or it’s a combination of both?”
Felix Krueger: Both teams collaborating and auditing the existing content, and mapping the content, um, to the sales cycle, you know, at which stage, uh, with which persona, you can utilize certain content pieces, you know.
And building a central index of all the content pieces you have available that everybody can access.
And I think this is, especially if you’ve been producing content for a while. This can be quite a lengthy process. You know, I’ve just been working with a client recently they had um, I’ve been working with two separate teams, and one team had 150 content pieces that we audited, and another team had another 120, I think, you know, so you go through all those content pieces, look at all the variables and so on. And we, we go into a lot of details in terms of estimated consumption time and so on.
Pam Didner: Oh yeah. You have to look at the data when you do the audit. Yeah.
Felix Krueger: Yeah, exactly. And, but I think this is an exercise you go through once, and then you add the metadata to the different content pieces as you go. But, um, having that audit in place makes you realize wherein the sales content piece you have gaps and where you’re well set up. Having that clarity and going through the process together with marketing and sales can achieve great results instantly.
Pam Didner: Very good. Very good. So to end this episode, I would like to ask you to answer one silly question.
OK. And I’m going to ask you two questions, and you can pick one. Number one is what is the most useless talent you process? Number two, did you have a ridiculous goal in your life?
Felix Krueger: Oh, wow. OK. Well, one of the ridiculous goals for me would be to visit a Portland Trailblazers game in Portland, which is what people don’t realize is that I’m a big, uh, Portland Trailblazers fan is the home team for Pam.
Pam Didner: I know! I was shocked when Felix told me that I was like, “wait a minute, you’re living in Australia. You know you don’t live in Portland (laughs).
Felix Krueger: I’m a German from Berlin, living in Sydney, in Australia as a Trailblazer fan.
Pam Didner: So, oh my God, you know what? You need to come to Portland, tell you what seriously. And I’m going to say this in my podcast. All right, you come to Portland. I will host you. We have a guest room, stay with me. We’ll go to see the game together. Seriously, just come anytime you want.
Felix Krueger: You shouldn’t have said that because I have already booked my tickets.
Pam Didner: You know what? Come to me, baby! Come to me! (both laugh)
Felix Krueger: I’m on my way.
Pam Didner: Oh my God. Thank you so much, Felix, for coming to my show. It’s wonderful to have you.
Felix Krueger: Awesome. Thank you so much, Pam. I enjoyed it.