Sales needs content to do their jobs. Long gone are the days of door-to-door selling. That might have been a good way to hawk some vacuums or encyclopedia sets, but it’s not too effective for global salesforces nowadays. Instead of hitting the streets of Mayberry, sellers now have to provide their buyers with effective content that explains how an organization can meet those buyer’s needs and solve their problems.
Content has traditionally been considered a Marketing concern. Sales may have some input on the topics and creation, but usually they are receiving fully baked pieces from Marketing and then deploying them to their buyers. Most sellers will most likely have anecdotal stories of content’s effectiveness. The one piece that they believe moved a deal along and maybe even landed the big fish. But these tales can often be apocryphal. Without concrete evidence and data it is impossible to truly know what content was effective in closing a deal.
The problem with needing that data is that for most of human history it has been unavailable. Plato had to go around the Agora asking people if they liked Republic like some sort of simpleton. How was he to know if they were telling the truth? People could’ve lied to Plato! Lots of people probably lied to him so they could just get back to their everyday Ancient Greek life of inventing democracy or whatever. Leave the good people alone, Plato. Anyway, the point is that to truly understand the effectiveness of content it’s necessary to have access to analytics and data.
These kinds of content analytics aren’t just important for Marketing. Sure, it’s important for Marketing to know what kind of content is being used and the overall effectiveness. But Sales should really be looking closely at the way the content they are using is being engaged with. By understanding how content performs and the ways it’s engaged with, sellers gain a more complete picture of their buyers’ motivations and needs. And understanding those things is what leads to more closed deals.
Here are two key content analytics that Sales should be monitoring at all times.
Content Engagement across Sales Stages
Sellers should pay particular attention to where in their sales cycles buyers are engaging with content. Timing can almost be as important as the content within a piece. A diligent understanding of how content resonates with a reader during a certain time of the cycle leads to better content usage.
By leveraging the power of a sales enablement platform integrated with a CRM and MAP, Sales can easily see when content was most engaged with. Insights such as average page views, time spent viewing, and more can be combined with information about where in the sales cycle the engagement occurred to unlock deep truths about buyers and their habits.
Content Engagement by Deals Won and Lost
If you asked a seller they’d probably tell you they never lost a deal. Sure, maybe some got away but that wasn’t their fault. That was the day of the big earthquake and everything got all messed up. But there is as much—if not more—to be learned from losses as there is from wins.
By performing a post-close inspection of how content was used throughout a sales cycle, certain trends and themes will emerge. Perhaps one piece of content always shows up late in the cycle for won deals, or maybe one piece is introduced early on and those cases always end in losses.
Whatever the case may be, the ability to perform a post-mortem on the content used in close deals is hugely beneficial. Sales can begin understanding the way content actually influences deals and begin structuring new strategies around the way they use content.
Content analytics, in general, are helpful to an entire organization, but Sales, in particular, should start thinking about how they measure their content usage and how it influences the way they work.
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Author: Matt Ellis