How a Mature Content Strategy Helps Drive Sales Success
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For salespeople to succeed in the modern selling environment, they need great content, and they need it fast. Sellers must demonstrate meaningful value throughout every interaction, and buyers are increasingly seeking personalized and relevant content. Enablement can help reps quickly and reliably supply customers and prospects with content that resonates.
Sales content curation is a continuous process requiring a dedicated set of resources. Organizations that are advanced in their content maturity tend to have either a few core tools that are well-integrated or one unified solution for their enablement needs.
A strong content strategy can yield important results such as more consistent rep performance, improved win rates, and enhanced customer experiences. According to the State of Sales Enablement Report 2022, when enablement effectively manages sales content efforts, the likelihood that organizations will struggle to achieve sales goals falls by 27%.
Strategic content drives business results. Learn about the five core pillars of a mature and value-driven content strategy and why it’s crucial to invest in continuous content optimization processes.
Ensuring Reps Can Easily Find Critical Sales Content
A core initiative of enablement is making it easy for reps to find the content they need. On average, over 60% of sales content created goes unused by B2B sellers. This means that sellers are facing too much content that is either unfindable or unusable, and marketers’ efforts are going to waste. This can be frustrating for many stakeholders in the sales process, including customers who may receive inconsistent, outdated, or irrelevant content. Access to relevant and timely content can be critical for sellers to improve their performance.
“It’s up to us to create, organize, distribute content in a way that fits [the rep’s] workflow,” said Renee Tily, vice president of sales enablement at TechTarget. “It’s not necessarily what’s easiest for us as individual departments, but it’s really important to put the rep workflow first.”
As many enablement and marketing professionals know, more isn’t always better. While it’s important that reps have plenty of content in their reach to effectively inform buyers, go-to-market teams should generally prioritize quality over quantity.
“We really have two options. One, we can become the loudest voice in the room. [But] we’ve all seen that that is not always the best approach,” said Henry Adaso, head of marketing at CEMEX. “The other approach is to figure out how to be the most relevant voice in the room: how to find the people that need what we have to offer and be of service to them. When we do that successfully, we have a better chance to engage and resonate with the right audience.”
The first step to reducing content clutter and improve findability is to conduct a content audit. While this requires effort, it is essential to uncover potential concerns. Content audits can help identify issues with content quality, quantity, findability, and more. It may appear daunting, but boiling it down to a simple framework can help. For example:
- Set goals and target outcomes: Determine which KPIs enablement seeks to achieve. Examples include boosting usage rates or improving conversions across the funnel.
- Take inventory of existing sales content: Compile a list of all content in a spreadsheet with relevant information such as creation date, when content was last updated, and use case.
- Get feedback from sales teams: Take time to speak directly with sales teams and understand what content is working or not working.
- Analyze content success: Assess content performance using the chosen target metrics. For example, if content engagement is a key target, look at metrics such as visits or viewing time.
- Use insights to adjust content strategy: Using the information gathered from the audit, begin work to close the gaps between target and observed outcomes.
By understanding what content exists where and how it is being used, enablement can identify ways to help surface the most critical content to drive buyer action.
Organizing Content in a Central Location
After conducting a content audit to understand what content exists, enablement can focus on organizing sales content effectively to improve findability and usability. A one-stop shop for finding content helps reps save time and prevents them from making their own versions of content, which can create an inconsistent experience for buyers.
“I can tell you that high-performing organizations, those where 80% or more of the reps hit their number last year, they have significantly fewer locations for where reps have to go looking for stuff,” said Peter Ostrow, vice president, research director of sales enablement strategies at Forrester.
As sales organizations are increasingly focused on consistent rep performance as a result of the current economic conditions, sellers that can repeatedly hit quota are extremely valuable. In addition to improving rep performance, effective content organization can be a source of motivation for reps, making it easier for them to do their jobs and saving them time. When organizations are highly effective at organizing their content in a central repository, the likelihood that reps will be satisfied in their roles increases by 69%, according to the Sales Enablement Maturity Report 2022.
Equipping sellers with a one-stop shop for content can allow them to quickly access the most valuable and relevant information, providing a better experience for both reps and customers.
Ensuring Content is Relevant and Accurate Through Content Governance
According to 48% of buyers, misinformation is an immediate deal-killer. Having processes in place to guarantee that customer-facing content is accurate is not just a nice-to-have but a requirement to build trust with customers.
“Essentially, any content governance strategy really needs to ensure that materials that the field can access have three qualities: that they’re current, they’re accurate and that they add value,” said Marcela Piñeros, global head of sales enablement at Stripe. “If any of those three criteria fall apart, then it takes a hit. It impacts efficiency, productivity, and seller experience.”
Having a content governance framework helps clarify how stakeholders create, publish, and update content. Content governance can prevent confusion over content guidelines and ownership, helping creators be streamlined and effective.
Nearly half (44%) of respondents of the Sales Enablement Maturity Report 2022 are effective at content governance, a 26% year-over-year increase. This demonstrates that ensuring that content is relevant, up-to-date, effective, and accurate is becoming table stakes for effective enablement teams.
Continuous and ongoing governance processes guarantee that content is always reliable, which can boost rep confidence and buyer trust. When sellers know that their content will hit the mark every time, they can spend more time having great conversations and winning deals.
Using Analytics to Measure Effectiveness
A good content strategy should be measurable. Metrics such as the number of views and time spent viewing content generate insights into how sellers are using assets and their effectiveness with buyers.
“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, management consultant, customer transformation at KPMG UK. “Accurate data gives you clear funnel visibility and makes your marketing dollars stretch further.”
Enablement teams that effectively use data to track content engagement and inform reps on buyer preferences report 15-percentage-point higher quota attainment than those that are only somewhat effective. It’s crucial to continuously measure efforts against target outcomes. When go-to-market teams know that a piece of content is proven effective or ineffective with data, they can sharpen their strategy and act accordingly rather than taking a shot in the dark.
“When you’re looking at [whether content efforts were] successful or not, you look at cycle time – did it get shorter? You look at deal size, did it get bigger? And you respond accordingly,” said Tieg Herman, director of sales enablement at Edward Jones. “We also look at, as we translate that messaging strategy into marketing campaigns, are we getting traction on those? Are we generating leads based on that same appreciation for the buyer journey?”
Using Content Strategy to Drive Organizational Change
A well-executed content strategy can drive change at the organizational level. With a high-performing enablement function, the business can more easily understand the power of effective sales content in driving impact. This can lead to increased support and investment in content efforts. Enablement can tie content initiatives to company-wide strategy by aligning goals with the key business objectives that stakeholders care most about.
“You need to fully understand your exec team’s long-term vision,” said Piñeros. “You need to know what they are hoping to achieve in their one, two, and five-year mark. You want to invest your cycles on programs that are going to support that vision.”
A content strategy’s effects (or lack thereof) can be felt by nearly every stakeholder in the organization. When organizations are highly effective at using sales content to drive tangible business results, and leaders understand how it impacts core go-to-market initiatives, they report 15% higher win rates.
With the right content at the right time, sellers are empowered to deliver optimized buyer experiences. Content strategy isn’t an item to check off the to-do list; it’s an ongoing process that can transform a sales organization and enable sellers to achieve their highest goals. With value-driven content efforts, organizations can help reps perform consistently, improve win rates, and drive key business results.