Today’s customers are opinionated, smart, and empowered. They are spoilt for choice. One poor experience and they will switch sides in a blink.
Gone are the days when a salesperson used to be the primary source of information for customers. Today, customers know everything about you even before your sales reps reach out to them. Thanks to the Internet!
This means your sales team should be better prepared to answer unexpected, tricky questions and be smart enough to close high-value deals. That’s where sales documentation comes in.
Sales documentation equips your sales team with all the necessary information they need to win deals in just a few interactions. It helps them convince customers about the value of your products and how your brand is better than the competitors.
Let’s learn everything there is to know about sales documentation, its types, benefits, and how you can create one for your business.
What Is Sales Documentation?
Sales documentation equips your sales team with all the information and resources they need while interacting with prospects. It provides them easy access to sales collateral, including case studies, product and service information, PPTs, and much more, so they can make the right pitches and close deals quickly.
With a structured sales process and other necessary resources at your sales team’s disposal, they are better positioned to answer prospects’ questions, upsell products, and build lasting customer relationships.
Types of Sales Documentation
There are multiple types of sales documentation you can create, depending on your business requirements. Let’s look at a few of the most common documentation types.
Sales Training Documentation
Sales training documentation is meant primarily for new hires in your sales team. It contains basic information about your company and its approach towards sales, the kind of clients you cater to, and the do’s and dont’s to be kept in mind while selling.
It also has a lot of how-to training videos to guide new hires through your sales process and prepare them for the challenges ahead.
Sales Process Documentation
Sales process documentation is where your sales team can find industry-relevant best practices, the sales process your organization follows, and practical strategies to sell better. It is a great document to teach your sales team about what they should or shouldn’t do in specific situations and how to put their best foot forward in every single interaction.
You can create a separate document for sales FAQs. This is where employees can find instant answers to the most common questions people tend to ask sales teams. Referring to this document during interactions will certainly help your sales folks provide prompt responses and carry out positive interactions.
You can also have a separate document for all the necessary sales collaterals that your sales team needs during their interactions with prospects. This document can include case studies, product demos, competitor analysis, pricing documents, how-to videos, PPTs, and a lot more.
Key Benefits of Sales Documentation
Your sales reps might have the knowledge for impromptu conversations. But as human beings, we tend to forget things. A sales document ensures that sales folks have immediate access to limitless information that can be used to communicate smartly with customers.
This core functionality of sales documentation brings multiple benefits to businesses, such as:
Refined, Well-Executed Pitches
To make the right sales pitch, your reps should be well-versed with your products, customers, current market conditions, and ongoing trends. With sales documentation in place, reps will have all the assistance they need to create compelling pitches that leave the right impact on customers.
Not just that, the documentation also provides access to some high-value pitches used in the past that were successful in winning deals.
Close Deals Quickly
With an unbounded knowledge resource at their fingertips, sales reps are better able to do their job. They know what to speak and when, what information to divulge in a particular situation, and how to take conversations on the right track.
This helps them cater to customers with the right messaging throughout the sales cycle and win them by using the right words at the right time. With deal closures happening faster, your business gets a steady flow of revenue, boosting your bottom line.
Provide Faster Responses
Response time has the power to make or break the customer experience. A little delay in giving answers could cost you a high-paying customer. And if you respond just on time, prospects’ interest in your business amplifies significantly.
In fact, if research is to be believed, sales conversions are a whopping 391% higher in the very first minute of responding.
With an informative sales document, your reps will be able to assist leads by answering their questions and addressing any concerns they may have in a timely manner.
They do not have to waste time scrambling for information across Google Drive or emails, as everything they need to serve prospects is available on a centralized, easy-to-access platform.
Build Relationships That Last
A sales representative who knows the customer’s name, pain points, needs, and preferences, has a clear edge over someone who simply reads a ready-made pitch. That’s where sales documentation plays its part.
It ensures that your agents have all the required information to make meaningful connections with prospects, which eventually increases the chances of sales, if not now, then in the near future.
How to Create Sales Documentation: A Step-by-Step Process
Creating sales documentation is no rocket science. All you need to do is follow the steps given below, and you will be well on your way to launching your sales document.
Determine Your Purpose & Goals
This is the very first step that will lay down a solid ground for the rest of your journey.
You should have your purpose and goals crystal clear before you get started with the documentation process.
Ask yourself a few questions to come to a definite answer about why you need a sales document.
Are you worried about your sales team’s productivity and want to do everything in your power to improve it?
Is the declining sales figure your top concern and you are counting on your sales documents to solve this problem?
Do you want to support your sales team and empower them to win clients for long term?
Having clarity about your goals and purpose right from the start will help your documentation team head in the right direction.
Seek Support From Different Teams
Creating sales documentation is a collaborative process. A single person or team cannot achieve the quality that multiple individuals working together can.
The depth and breadth of information demanded by sales documentation can be achieved only when different teams – marketing, support, product, etc., come and work together as a unified family.
For instance, the support team can share details of the challenges customers frequently face. While the marketing team can offer insights into the product’s performance and buyer behavior, the product team can give a peek into product features, functionality, risk areas, and more.
Your sales team can leverage these insights and translate them into effective actions that drive better sales.
To maintain harmony and collaboration between team members, you can assign them separate roles based on what fits them best. For example, subject matter experts can be given the role of contributors, and managers can be assigned the administrator’s role. Those at the senior level can be assigned editorial duties.
When each member knows what they are accountable for, there will be minimum confusion and maximum output.
Add All Crucial Information Your Sales Team Needs
Now, your team should start creating content on all important topics related to the sales function, such as:
- The sales process
- Onboarding checklist for new hires
- Product demo videos
- Training material
- Sales scripts for both calls and emails
- Customer case studies, and more.
You can also mention the different techniques to steer conversations in a positive direction and convince prospects to go for your product. Additionally, the process of how to upsell and cross-sell can also be added to your sales document.
To make things easier for your sales team, you can segment prospects into broad categories, describe them in detail, and provide strategies for targeting.
Not every customer will trust everything your sales team members say. Some of them will object by asking tough questions to your reps.
Your documentation should teach how to handle objections related to pricing, product features, maintenance, and almost anything that customers are doubtful about.
Elevate Engagement Using Images, Videos & Examples
Sales documentation is a one-stop platform that is meant for frequent use by your sales team.
During customer interactions, salespersons do not have the time to dig deeper, browse through each article, and spend hours finding a piece of information. That would be counterintuitive, defeating the primary purpose of creating documentation in the first place.
Using a good number of images, videos, and examples at the right spots, you can help your sales team grasp concepts faster without reading an entire article.
Instead of reading a full paragraph about product features, they can simply watch a video and answer customer questions immediately.
Moreover, adding visuals to your documentation is a good way to improve engagement with your content and provide more information in less time.
Publish Error-Free Content Across Devices
One wrong piece of information, and you will risk losing your hard-earned customers. Now that can be a lifetime of regret!
You would not want that to happen, right?
If sales staff don’t have the exact info at their disposal, conversations can go in an unexpected direction, leading to lost prospects.
Since sales documentation is a single point of reference for your sales team, it should offer the most updated, error-free information. For sales documentation content to be free of faults, you need to set up a review workflow and approval process.
As part of this process, every article can have a specific status based on its stage – Draft, In Progress, Ready for Review, or Published. In case the status doesn’t fit these predefined categories, you can create a custom status to request contributions, reviews, or suggestions from other members.
This maintains transparency in the system, ensuring that every article is vetted before going for final publication. Once the documentation content is carefully reviewed, it can be published across devices – mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.
This process ensures that your sales team is armed with the latest, error-free information, that helps them win clients easily.
Keep Updating & Improving Your Sales Documentation
Sales documentation cannot be a static information resource. As your business grows, products develop, services expand, and processes improve, your documentation should also change for the better.
Moreover, as time goes by, your sales team’s requirements will change. If two years back, a particular article was read by them the most, this year, they might look for information on some other topics, depending on the kind of conversations they have with your customers.
Improving and updating your sales documentation regularly is, therefore, a vital part of the process.
A built-in reporting system is a critical feature offered by most documentation tools today. Using reports, you can unlock thoughtful insights into:
- What questions do your sales team members search for but do not find the answers to
- The search keywords that fail to deliver the right answers
- The articles rated poorly by your sales team
- Inactive or broken links, and much more.
These insights help you monitor how helpful the sales documentation is for your sales team and whether it is bringing value to their work.
For example, suppose your sales team frequently searches for – how to handle frustrated customers, what to do when a customer is unwilling to accept the information provided, etc. But, your documentation fails to deliver the right answers to these questions.
This shows that “dealing with angry customers” is a common challenge for your sales team members that your documentation is not able to address.
What can you do in this case?
You can use this valuable information to make informed decisions and bring improvements to your sales documentation.
Here’s a quick video on how you can analyze reports.
Actionable Best Practices to Level Up Your Sales Documentation
The above section mentions the straightforward steps to create a sales document. But, there is so much more you can do to take the performance of your documentation to a whole new level.
Here are some best practices that you can incorporate into the process to achieve top-notch results:
Craft Impeccable Content
Content forms the heart of a sales document. For your sales team to confidently do their jobs, the sales documentation should equip them with the most updated and flawless information.
For example, if there is a change in your sales process or you want your sales team to upsell or cross-sell a few products, mention it clearly in your sales documentation.
Providing meaningful content improves the way your sales team interacts with customers and the decisions every day.
Add a Feedback Section at the End of Every Article
Feedback is essential in boosting the quality of your documentation. It also makes the concerned team feel more involved in the document development process.
Your sales staff is the best judge of your sales documentation, and they might have brilliant ideas on how to improve its design, structure, and content quality. The suggestions, feedback, and ideas they provide can be game-changing for your documentation.
Capturing feedback in your documentation is super easy. All you need to do is add a feedback form comprising the question – “Did you find this article helpful”. The answer options can be Yes/No. When someone selects No, a list of possible reasons will appear along with a comment box.
Watch this quick video to learn more about adding forms and surveys to your documentation.
Make Your Document Easy to Search
Your sales team needs quick access to information to target prospects with the right messaging at the right time.
Sales folks cannot spend hours looking out for something, especially when they are in the middle of a call, email, or social media conversation. Their job requires them to have the most updated information at their fingertips so that they can sell better and faster.
That’s where searchability plays its part.
Your sales documentation should have a powerful search system and a clearly visible search bar that delivers the right responses to the questions asked.
For your search system to display relevant results, ensure that your content has the right keywords and tags. Whenever someone searches for those keywords or questions containing similar tags, the search system will automatically display matching pages and articles.
Provide Easy Accessibility on Mobile Phones
A mobile-friendly sales process documentation can enhance the productivity of your sales team.
No matter the time and place of work, sales folks can refer to your documentation anytime they need it. This means they will never miss out on the opportunity to contact prospects and make sales.
Here are a few hacks to make your documentation work well on mobile devices:
- Avoid using tables in the content, as every mobile device does not support them.
- Choose your font type clearly, as not every font displays clearly on mobile phones.
- Do not fix the breadth and width of images. Let them shrink and expand automatically according to the screen size.
With the convenience of finding information right on their mobile phones, your sales team members are better able to carry out conversations and close deals on the go.
Grow Sales & Boost Your Bottomline With Sales Documentation
If there is one thing that every business is worried about, it’s sales.
Sales is the major source of revenue for the smallest of setups and the largest of companies. It’s the heart of a business. Sales bring in money, and that money decides the present and future of an organization.
Sales documentation sounds like a simple tool, but it can be of substantial value to your business.
Your sales team needs constant support that’s available 24×7. A sales document gives them everything they need – product details, sales scripts, case studies, etc., to woo customers and convince them to buy your product.
It helps them create positive experiences that make customers come back to your brand for more.
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