“Predictive” is everywhere in marketing these days. Predictive analytics help marketers use past performances to direct new programs and predict the results; predictive lead generation allows marketers to leverage external lead data to find prospects that have the highest conversion potential; and predictive content is regarded as the new frontier of marketing efficiency and effectiveness.
While marketers are getting better at measuring the ROI of their content and strategy efforts, it is still difficult to see how content is used past the marketing automation phase—once leads are passed to sales reps— because content usage and tracking is then in the hands of sales reps. The depth in which content usage is tracked varies from one sales organization to the next, but chances are those records aren’t making it back to marketing. This makes it impossible for marketing to improve its content creation strategy and efforts, and means sales will never have the perfect content it needs to win deals.
This is where predictive content comes in. Below are five major things you need to know about predictive content and how it helps fuel the sales engine for the most personalized and successful sales interactions.
- Predictive content leverages content that is accessible in CRM and Outlook. In order to make content easily usable for sales reps, it is served up directly in a company’s CRM and also connects to Outlook. That way, reps can pull up relevant content right in an Opportunity or email without having to search disconnected external content sources for the right content. Leveraging CRM and Outlook also helps keep track of what content is accessed in certain selling situations, so marketing has more visibility into content usage.
- Content is served up based on the specific selling situation at hand. As a result of making content available in CRM and Outlook, content can be mapped to specific selling situations by a prospect’s role, industry, title, vertical, stage in sales cycle, or any other characteristic a sales team deems important. This eliminates the 30 hours a month reps typically spend searching for or creating content, and increases the personalization level of sales interactions.
- Content usage is automatically tracked through CRM records. Sales reps and marketers don’t need to manually keep track of how content is used; it is automatically tracked through the CRM (where reps are accessing and sending content from in the first place). Not only does serving up content in CRM increase CRM usage rates, but it increases marketing’s visibility into content usage and eliminates any manual content recording that reps are required to keep track of.
- Predictive content keeps track of winning content from past deals. Predictive content automatically tracks the usage of content accessed and sent to prospects from CRM/Outlook, so it is easy for marketing teams to see how content is affecting won deals. This is the key to predictive: when content usage can be tracked based on deal specifics (industry, role, stage in sales cycle, etc.) similar won deals can be easily repeated. Optimizing the content used in past won deals to predict the outcome of future ones is an unprecedented advantage for sales and marketing teams alike.
- Predictive content improves marketing’s visibility, strategy, and contribution to revenue. Predictive content eliminates shot-in-the-dark content creation and saves marketing from creating useless, irrelevant sales content. This improves marketing efficiency and lets marketers create and serve sales more of what is working in sales conversations, thereby attributing content to won deals and revenue. According to the Aberdeen Group, companies that gave marketing strong visibility into sales content utilization saw an 3% increase in total company revenue, a 5.1% increase in average deal size, and a 3.6% increase in marketing’s contribution to the sales pipeline, year-over-year. With predictive content, your sales and marketing teams are able to work more closely together towards a common goal of increased revenue.
The most important thing to know about predictive content is that it works. When we implemented predictive content at Seismic, we realized that our sales reps weren’t using a good deal of the content we’d been serving them in Salesforce and Outlook—because it was top-of-funnel and therefore irrelevant in the later-stage conversations they were having with prospects. It helped us recognize a gap in our content strategy, and our marketing team is now focused on arming sales with the exact content they need to close deals. Predictive content may be the new kid on the predictive marketing block, but it is truly a win-win for both sales and marketing teams.