Customer Engagement: Irrelevant Content Lowers Win Rates

Last week, we discussed customer engagement and its role in sales enablement, based on my session at the Sales Enablement Society Conference in Denver. Today, let’s have a look at the components of customer engagement. Let’s build on where we stopped last week:

An encouraging number, 42%, of organizations reported aligning their enablement services to the customer’s path. These organizations achieved win rates for forecast deals that were 8.1% better compared to the average win rate of the study.

From an enablement perspective, we can divide a holistic approach to customer engagement into three areas. The first is the content that is used to engage customers along their entire customer’s path. The second is training and the third is coaching. Our topic today is content.

The most effective and foundational practice is to effectively align content to the different phases of the customer’s path. Only one-quarter of organizations did so, but they improved their win rates by 11.5%.

We always recommend making the customer’s path the main design point for sales enablement. Why? Because it is essential to tailor content to the different phases of the customer’s path. In the early awareness phase, when buyers are thinking about the problem, its impact and how to tackle it, content should help build a shared vision of success and how to get there. This is the wrong time to pitch products. In the middle of the buying phase, the appropriate content is more specific, detailed, and product-oriented (always in the context of the problem that has to be solved!) and often also more competitively differentiating. Different phases require different content. Not applying this practice at all leads to a decline in win rates of 15.2%.

Closely connected is the next practice: aligning content to the relevant buyer roles. Only one-quarter of organizations apply this practice, but those who do improved their win rates by 8.9%.

In the age of the customer, tailoring content to buyer roles sounds like a no-brainer. But the data shows that only one-quarter of our study participants apply this practice. The majority (55.5%) answered “neutral” and one-fifth disagreed. The large segment (21.4%) that disagreed shows that communicating in the buyer’s language and in a way that resonates with their buyer role is not yet a common practice. Applying this practice is crucial to success. Failure to tailor content to buyer roles at all leads to a decline in win rates of 16.6%. And no sales, enablement or ops leader ever wants to see that.

A follow-up to these two practices is to effectively leverage social media to share content with the relevant audience. Again, only one-quarter applied this practice, and even more interesting is that 29.8% reported not doing so at all. As the practice was focused on “effectively” applying the practice, it stands to reason that actually more organizations leverage social media, but only one-quarter are really seeing the desired results. The one-quarter that did so improved their win rates by 5.3%. In this case, the negative impact of not applying the practice at all is even more significant: win rates declined by 10.3%.

Stay tuned, more details are included in our upcoming 2018 Sales Enablement Study! The report will be shared with study participants and research members next week.

If you haven’t already, have a look at our new book Sales Enablement – A Master Framework to Engage, Equip and Empower a World-Class Sales Force. Lots of “how to” information to address the challenges mentioned here.

Questions for you:

  • How do you tailor content to the customer’s path and to the relevant buyer roles?
  • Are your social media practices effective when it comes to customer engagement?
  • If so, what are the success criteria?


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