Empowering IBM to Tell Beautiful Stories

The sales enablement team at IBM needed to empower its sales, marketing and partner teams around the world to create consistent, beautiful and compelling content – at scale.

Scaling the superstar treatment

Everyone likes to feel special. So it’s important for IBM that its sellers and partners are able to treat every customer interaction as unique. This means they need to be able to tailor a wide range of materials to support their sales meetings – from presentations, to product briefs, to case studies. However, these materials must also be of a consistently high standard that reflects IBM’s brand and values. For organizations as large as IBM, scaling this combination of personalisation and high quality can be tricky.


Sales Enablement

Responsive HTML templates

A global team with lots of stories to tell

IBM’s sales operations take place on a global level, in multiple languages and supported by both internal and external groups. Many of these parties need to create sales content. Some creators may have professional copywriting and design skills at their disposal, while others may not. The sales enablement team therefore needed to ensure a consistent, high-quality look and feel across any content, wherever or by whoever it was created.

But consistency wasn’t enough. The team also wanted a fresh look for their sales enablement content that was really special.

Aligning content and design from the outset

We worked with the IBM team to shortlist ten ‘must have’ assets. These ranged from high-level single-slide summaries of a customer story, to in-depth technical solution briefs. Bringing our own experience of aligning content to the sales cycle and customer journey, we quizzed stakeholders about their use of sales enablement content. We wanted to understand how and where each asset was used, and by who; where it sat in the customer journey, and how each piece should lead on to the next.

Our designers and copywriters then developed a suite of writers’ guidelines and design template files for each asset in parallel. We prototyped the creation process, building a set of assets from scratch using the new guidelines and templates to make sure it worked. When we shared them, we included recommendations on process and usage to help ensure quality control ‘in the wild’.

A foundation for digital growth

Feedback from users after the launch of the assets has been very positive, with enthusiasm for the strong visual approach that makes all the assets recognisably part of the IBM sales enablement library while leaving flexibility for each business unit or partner to add their own identity. The easy-to-use templates and guidelines were also appreciated.

As a next step in the process, we’ve helped the web team adapt the templates to work with their online content management and delivery tool so that they can still be used as IBM continues its digital journey.