Good marketers know their top marketing KPIs and metrics. With the ease of marketing automation and web analytics, there’s no good excuse for not having those metrics on hand to develop your programs and prove their worth to executives. Not to mention, there are many resources for the best KPIs to track. Now, the time for excuses when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of sales content is coming to a swift end too.
Before sales enablement solutions, it was difficult—if not impossible—to track what salespeople shared with prospects. With sales content in one place, instead of spread across many sources (including rogue content created on an ad-hoc basis), the marketers creating and/or managing that content now have insight into what happens behind closed meeting doors. Though since this is a relatively new development (some sales enablement tools aren’t even sales meeting-ready yet), it can be difficult to hone in on what metrics to track for sales content.
Once you have tracking in place, here are some metrics to keep an eye on—and what marketers can do with those metrics.
Most Used Content
Let’s start with the most straightforward metric: give the people what they want! You’ll find things you expect, like a product brochure or a company one pager. But you might find that a majority of your sales reps are using something less expected, like one particular testimonial video or a PDF that hasn’t been updated in awhile. From there, marketers can use those metrics in a few different ways, including:
- Meeting with sales reps to truly understand why these pieces of content are most used, and get their take on which pieces content work best (but don’t have inefficient meetings, or you’ll pay…literally)
- Changing the formatting of other content to fit the mold of the most popular content
- Putting a polish on the popular content so that it looks its best
- Getting rid of incorrect content that salespeople shouldn’t be using, either because of incorrect branding or product info (hopefully less likely)
Least Used Content
Your sales content strategy wouldn’t be complete without knowing the collateral that’s sitting dust-covered in the cloud. The answer to why might be as simple as sales reps not knowing it exists, either because it has unintuitive naming and tags. Marketers need to remember that salespeople don’t think of content in the same way as they do, so if your sales presentation software pulls from your enterprise storage solution, organize it in a sales-friendly way. Other reasons content gathers cobwebs:
- It’s too generic. Consider splitting up a multi-page deck into individual slides reps can mix and match, or put those slides into an interactive framework where prospects can choose their own adventure. If you don’t, your sales reps could be creating their own unapproved content.
- It’s outdated. Clipart and generic 3d stock photos can easily turn a prospect off, and salespeople know that. If a piece of collateral seems like it should be used, consider having a redesign.
- It’s duplicative. Sometimes there’s just no place for your collateral anymore. Either you created something new to replace it and forgot about the old collateral, or it’s communicated through other content already.
Make sure to do an audit of your sales content as often as you audit your website; your goal is to have every piece of content used, whether that means cutting superfluous content or nursing underdeveloped content.
Least Active Users
Most active users are important, but least active users can be even more telling. Why do most tech initiatives fail? Lack of adoption. Sales enablement initiatives aren’t immune to that trend. The problem is that, in a survey of CIOs, 50% said they listen to employee concerns only when they arise. If someone’s not using a solution, their concerns probably wouldn’t come up unless use was mandatory.
But knowing what users aren’t active isn’t for public shaming. Yes, administrators can flag “bad apples,” but those users (or non-users, rather) can be a great resource, for IT as well as marketing, to learn about solvable issues that might be holding sales reps back including having access to an overabundance of content, organization that’s not suited to the way that they sell, and it could also be a sign that there’s something missing from your sales tech stack that your sales reps also need.
Content Usage by Groups
It’s rare that every sales rep at a company will sell the exact same products to the same types of customers. Product offerings differ by region, different salespeople focus on particular industries, some salespeople target mid-market clients while others sell to Fortune 100 companies—whatever the unique circumstances, you probably can’t lump your salespeople into a single group.
With these variations, it makes sense to distribute content differently (that is, give different groups access to content that’s relevant to them and don’t just dump irrelevant content together), but to also go a step further and look at different sets of sales reps consume content. For example, you could find that Midwestern division reps present a video over and over, while northwestern reps ignore it.
Marketers can think of these groups in the way that they think of buyer personas; you can make a snap judgment about why something’s not working well overall, but you could be ignoring that it’s working well within a subset of your audience. Segmenting in this way can also help you uncover how you can tailor customer interactions based on different groups of salespeople.
In an ideal world, your sales collateral is organized in a way that’s intuitive for every salesperson or packaged up with a “choose your own adventure” story-selling approach. In the real world, your sales reps might need to have so much content on hand that they can’t remember where it is or even if it exists. That’s why search functions are so valuable within sales enablement solutions. Searches can tell us several things:
- Number of searches. If marketers find that a large number of sales reps are making a large number of queries in a short period of time, that could be a red flag that how collateral has been laid out is not intuitive or how content has been named isn’t intuitive.
- Number of search results. If search terms that frequently come up aren’t netting results, that could again point to content lacking an intuitive title or tags, or mean that sales reps need a piece of collateral that doesn’t yet exist.
- Search terms. Beyond frequency of terms, what those terms are can help guide sales content creators—especially given that sales reps may very well be searching using specific phrases or keywords that customers are using. Once again, think of this in marketing terms—with SEO, you need to think of what keywords your buyers are searching online, and with sales content, you need to think of what keywords your sales reps are using to search for content.
Looking at who has “viewed” a piece of content can be a deceiving metric. One can “view” a 5-minute video by watching half a second of it. You can “view” a detailed 30-page case study by looking at the cover page.
For videos and multi-page documents or presentations, it’s important to see how long and to what extent users engage with them, and this is something that can be directly useful for sales reps too. If reps send prospects a video to watch later, either while they’re meeting with a prospect or afterward, they can see not only if the prospect opened their link, but how much of the video they watched or document they read.
Content managers can see if there’s a common drop-off point, and then shorten, split up, rearrange or delete in response.
Sales interactions are not about content in the way that marketing is. In sales, it’s about the connection between salesperson and prospect, with the content there to support the salesperson’s narrative of why their product offers value.
That said, some content supports the salesperson more than others. Beyond how popular content is, CRM integration allows insight into what collateral correlates with closing a deal. What’s more valuable: a document that was shared 100 times when none of those deals closed or a document that was shared 10 times when half of those prospects ended in a sale?
Remember, correlation is not causation. Just because something was shared in a meeting before landing a deal doesn’t mean the deal landed because of that something. But trends do emerge over time, and marketers and salespeople can now make smarter decisions with visibility into every part of the buying cycle.