3 Tips to Optimize the Impact of Sales Content
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Before the internet, marketing had to prove its return on investment in various ways that included the use of third-party systems to track its effectiveness to consumers. Think Nielsen ratings for television and circulation numbers for magazines and newspapers. Now, marketing and sales teams can align even closer thanks to the analytics solutions the digital era has brought to the table.
For sales enablement professionals, the ability to track and therefore inform decisions on how to best manage the sales content reps will use can be a make-or-break moment for enablement success across an entire revenue organization.
“As a sales enabler, you are the one that must sell that program and how it will benefit the individual, but also how it will benefit the organization,” said Jeff Fedro, senior sales enablement advisor at FedEx.
Analytics are vital in optimizing performance and helping organizations make strategic, informed decisions that help build content that resonates with buyers. Through analytics, enablement professionals can feel empowered to improve messaging, home in on consistent narratives, and determine the most appropriate channel for sales content to live in.
Although many organizations are committed to creating more content to be used in speaking with customers, only 35% of content created by a B2B organization is actively used. This creates a gap between knowing what effective content looks like, how it engages the customer, and how it impacts conversion rates.
To close the gap, enablement professionals can help create a closed-loop system that aligns marketing, sales, and the customer by systematically improving how to measure sales content usage and performance.
Below, learn three key ways to optimize sales content performance and impact overall sales effectiveness.
Map Content to the Buyer’s Journey
In any sales organization, particularly those with several lines of business, tracking what content to use for the right buyer can be a downright headache for sales reps. For enablement professionals to feel confident in knowing they’re serving up the most relevant content for their reps, mapping out and categorizing an organization’s content can help boost overall usage by reps.
“One key component of a content strategy is the buyer’s journey,” said Henry Adaso, author of “Content Mapping”. “Who better to talk to about the buyer’s journey than sales.”
Understanding the buyer’s journey from the sales and marketing perspective can help target content in specific stages that should ladder up to each product or service. There could be collateral that aligns with each of those stages. For example, the buyer’s journey may start with initial interest and move into education and assessment before decision-making.
“It’s finding common ground between sales and marketing in terms of what each party is learning from the customer and then translating that into better marketing and sales assets,” said Adaso.
The mapping of content can also help enablement teams to understand what kind of sales content is getting stale and out-out-of-date by easily tracking the age of the content, the version dates, and how long it’s been leveraged in a certain way within the organization. Tracking the lifecycle of sales content can help keep content fresh and most importantly, timely.
Evaluate Content Usage Regularly
Determining whether sales teams are not only aware of new content but also able to find it and leverage it in their conversations with buyers may be one of the primary concerns of marketing and enablement teams.
If it isn’t clear why sales content is not used, it may be helpful to explore whether it could be due to reps not being able to find it conveniently or if reps are choosing not to use it. This distinction can help enablement teams to modify and adapt content accordingly by opening up conversations with sales reps and sales leaders to understand what content is landing with buyers and what is not.
“We as sales enablers bring together and format what [reps] do on a daily basis, and present to them in a story approach to say this is not only what you’re doing, but this is what you can do even to make it better as you continue to move forward,” said Fedro.
Enablement teams can evaluate content usage by drilling down into what teams are using the content, how they are using it, and with whom. Understanding the sales content that is being used most frequently can help determine what can be adapted to better serve reps’ needs and incentivize them to use it.
“Good data insight is not only beneficial for marketers or business leaders but also sales and SDRs so they can have meaningful conversations with prospects,” said Nimrah Zaid, marketing enablement manager at AlgoMarketing. “Accurate data gives you clear funnel visibility and makes your marketing dollars stretch further.”
Assess Customer Engagement
After determining what content sales reps are most drawn to and why, a powerful way to measure the effectiveness of any organization’s sales content is to understand how customers respond. Beyond just content usage by reps, the type of interaction a customer has with certain materials can help paint a more detailed picture in identifying the topics or details that are resonating most.
Today’s buyer landscape is continually evolving. With the digital era transforming the ways sales teams speak to prospects, buyers are now more inclined to conduct research on their own before talking to a sales rep. In the 2021 State of Sales Enablement report, 57% of respondents said that buyers now need more business justification as buyer expectations have shifted. This presents an opportunity, and a challenge for reps as their sales content provides valuable insights and maximizes the buyer’s time to make a better-informed decision to buy.
“Part of what we need to do is to figure out how to increase the value of the work that we’re doing, and not necessarily turning up the volume and trying to send more emails than the competition,” said Adaso. “That means constantly reviewing and evaluating our content strategies to ensure that whatever we’re doing is actually working.”
By focusing on the quality of the content versus the quantity of content, enablement teams can better prioritize what is positively impacting both reps and customers.
“Content strategy needs to be re-evaluated from time to time as we receive inputs from the marketplace, as we receive input from the organization or the brand or the customer, and we need to pivot to make sure that we’re still able to resonate,” said Adaso.
Determining the impact of content is difficult to measure, but by mapping out the buyer’s journey and taking input from sales teams and leaders, analyzing how content is being used, and assessing how customers are responding to the content, enablement professionals can gain a deeper understanding of what steps to take to remain strategic and optimize the performance of essential sales content.
“Data analytics and creativity go hand-in-hand,” said Zaid. “It’s the ability to interpret, manipulate, and extract meaning from data and then use it to build predictive models for generating business insights and eventually to spread the wisdom across teams effectively.”