Last month I posted on a topic I think is vital to both sales and marketing teams: how to measure the impact of content on sales. Why does it matter? Because marketers spend 15-25% of their budgets on content. And, more importantly, because sales teams need to add value and content helps them do it.
There were a few good comments on the post. Particularly they focused on why content measurement is important and how to do it. So I thought I’d extend my thoughts on the comments here.
1. Content Affects Sales
80% of sales people don’t add value to their buyers. That means that when buyers have questions, need support for a business case, or have ideas on how to advance a deal they are stuck. Stuck with a sales person that can’t provide them with the information they need to move forward.
So where will they get the information in 4 out of 5 cases? From the sales person’s competitors.
When sales people are equipped with information, insights, and data, they can provide more value to their prospects. A case study convinces a lead to take a meeting. A product video convinces a prospect that a solution is the right choice. And a business case tips the scales on an RFP response.
Prospects want to work with sales people that add value and make them successful at their companies.
2. Why Measure Marketing Content’s Impact on Sales?
If content does affect sales, then you should measure that impact. When you can see which pieces of content are more likely to drive sales you can invest more in the kinds of assets that improve your sales performance. And you can eliminate or improve the content that doesn’t positively impact your opportunities.
As mentioned above, a major part of sales budgets goes to producing content. But much of the focus has been on content that is targeted at the top of the funnel. While obviously critical, it is not necessarily the kinds of content that sales people want or need to support middle and late stage sales.
The old quote about not knowing which 50% of your marketing budget is wasted is telling here. Even many small companies have hundreds of pieces of content. With so many materials your content marketing, product marketing, and other resources are devoting a lot of effort to collateral that may be worthless, harmful, or simply unused.
3. Can You Actually Measure Marketing Content’s Impact on Sales?
OK, so if content does impact sales and knowing what content drives revenue lets you invest smarter, then the question becomes ‘How do you quantify it?’.
I think of it like the approach marketers take with multi-touch campaign attribution. There’s a recognition that many things contribute to a deal. But what is correlated with advancing deals? If you can see that a particular piece of content has a higher correlation with, say, converted leads in a particular sales situation, then you can quantify the likely value.
The key elements that need to be tracked are:
- Which content was shared and by who?
- What was the sales context in which it was shared? E.g. what is the industry, sales stage, persona, geography (or whatever segmentation matters to you)
- How successful was the content? (Did prospects view or download the content? Is it correlated with advancing leads or closed deals?)
In a classic “sales portal” world this kind of tracking is out of the question. A salesperson might download an eBook from the portal once and never use it, or use it a thousand times. Content creators would never know or be able to track it.
The good news is that Seismic does all of this tracking for you. It connects content usage back to the sales context in which it was used. And it measures the performance of that material.
4. Does that Yield More Content or Better Content?
I think that when you know which kinds of content correlate with successful sales you actually might end up with less content. You can eliminate materials that don’t perform and focus resources on content that has stronger correlations. At the same time you might go ahead and produce more of content with a higher attribution. That’s a positive for those sales and marketing teams.