Measuring Your Content: Avoid These Four Stumbling Blocks

Last week we discussed the latest research regarding content analytics, how many organizations actually do it, and why nearly 80% of sales enablement teams do not consistently and regularly assess feedback and track content usage, consumption and impact. Today let’s focus on the pitfalls you might run into when it comes to content analytics and drawing the right conclusions.

And just as a disclaimer: Content analytics and whatever you get out of it does not solve any lack of seller engagement. If you experience a lack of seller engagement regarding all of your enablement efforts, then the problem is elsewhere; don’t waste your time with content analytics now. Work with your senior executive stakeholders on a comprehensive change story, a strong “why” on change leadership, and how to drive inspiration, motivation and coaching on the front line. That’s the issue to focus on first. All sorted? OK, let’s get into the four main pitfalls when it comes to content analytics.

Pitfall 1: Looking at single data points only and interpreting too much

You just started using your shiny new analytics features and found the views, clicks and downloads fascinating. Wait a minute… let’s understand what they mean and what they don’t mean. Views, clicks, shares and downloads are indicators—you have to look at the details to figure out what they really mean. Click to Tweet

These metrics are foundational information for different target groups—salespeople, their managers and the team. The data shows what people view and what they download. That’s all. It does not necessarily mean that people use what they download, and it does not say whether the downloaded content was effective or helpful. Too many organizations just take those numbers and inject lots of meaning into them. These data points only tell you something about the activity on your content, but nothing about its quality or effectiveness.

An additional thought on the number of shares with buyers: It’s important to know what your sellers assume to be effective in specific buyer interactions. Only if they assume a certain piece of content would be helpful in a particular situation will they use it and share it. Keep this thought in mind, and try to analyze how the buyers responded to it, if and how they consumed it. Then you get a much clearer picture.

Measuring the impact on win rates is a challenging ambition, especially in complex selling scenarios. Sure, a piece of content, a great reference, an insightful presentation and/or a compelling success story all can contribute to moving a deal forward and finally winning it; however, was this piece of content the critical element? Would you have won the opportunity without human interaction? Probably not. Don’t underestimate the myriad factors in the buyers’ organization and yours that all impact buying decisions. It’s a complex system, and content is just one element in that system.

Pitfall 2: Not considering sales campaigns and incentives regarding content usage

To better understand these analytics, check out your organization’s key sales initiatives. What are the important products, solutions, services? Which portfolio elements can people earn the biggest commission on? Is there a performance management rule that rewards people if they download or indicate that they used certain pieces of content (e.g., the latest campaign playbooks)? Next, check out the biggest revenue generators in your portfolio, and examine the analytics for the related content. It’s possible—especially if a sales force is very mature—that there is only a small correlation between top revenue generators and related content usage. Those experienced people often still share their insights informally, within their informal network of colleagues who know each other personally. If that’s the case, you have an indicator to address better adoption of your enablement platform. It’s also important to look at the bigger picture here, and you will come to a slightly different conclusion.

Pitfall 3: Drawing conclusions from content ratings and likes

Salespeople have different reasons for what they like, such as their experience with what worked in the past and their individual preferences. That has nothing to do with the question of what works and what doesn’t. It’s like eating habits. People like what they have always eaten, even if they know it’s not healthy or good for them. The same is true for content. If salespeople have worked with certain presentation styles, etc. for a long time—and it’s worked for them so far—it’s hard to break that habit, that preference.

To understand ratings and likes, it helps to analyze the percentage of your content that’s rated in the first place. The lower the percentage, the less valuable it is. Then check which roles are authorized to rate and like content. If there is no role-based limitation (which happens more often than you may think!), the value of ratings and likes is precisely zero. On more than one occasion, I have discovered content creators who rate their own content high and their colleagues’ content low. The devil is in the details here, and you have to precisely tailor your content management system with these thoughts in mind.

Pitfall 4: Assuming that content analytics is everything

The definition of content analytics is different in every sales organization, every culture and every industry. Imagine a sales force of millennials in the Bay Area selling SaaS-based technology and a mature sales force in the manufacturing industry in Eastern Europe. The specific value of content analytics couldn’t be more different in these two cases.

As a sales enablement leader, it’s essential for you to define a content analytics framework that defines how to look at the data and what additional elements are necessary to understand the big picture. Additional elements can be dedicated win/loss interviews, campaign reviews, and sounding boards with “early adopter” salespeople and sales managers to discuss the findings and learn more about their perspectives and experiences.

Effective sales enablement leaders know that content analytics have to be treated carefully and should be embedded in a strategic and holistic approach to provide effective content for sellers and buyers—to create value, not noise. It’s not only about what content should be improved, tailored or increased, but it’s also about what content should be retired right away.


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. It contains lots of “how-to” information to address the challenges mentioned here.


Questions for you:

  • How do you assess if and how sellers use your content?
  • How do you leverage content analytics?
  • Did you build a content analytics dashboard?
  • Do you gather feedback from sales managers and top performers?

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