How Do You Know What Kind of Content Works?

How do you know what pieces of content are effective? Do you use the analytics features of your new sales enablement content management solution, or your CRM? Or do you simply ask your sellers and managers? Maybe you’re not doing either. If not, you’re not alone. Let’s examine why this is an area that needs improvement.

Less than one-quarter of sales enablement teams consistently track what content is used, and less than one-fifth track what content contributes to higher win rates.

In our 4th Annual Sales Enablement Study, we learned that only 39.1% of enablement teams regularly assess feedback from their salespeople regarding the effectiveness of the content and tools they provide. And the numbers get smaller the more specific the questions get. Nearly one-quarter (24.0%) regularly track which content their sellers use internally and with buyers. A bit more than one-fifth (21.6%) track which content their buyers consume. And less than one-fifth (19.1%) track which content contributes to higher win rates. The latter is the really interesting question: How does content contribute to sales performance? Apparently, only 19.1% of enablement teams go after this question and analyze it. Why is that the case?

Let’s remember that content salespeople need comes from various functions (and only one-third comes from marketing!). We know that only content tailored to specific buying scenarios, buyer roles, etc. is really effective and drives customer engagement, and we know that all these efforts across functions require a solid content strategy and a formalized collaboration model.

It’s clear that organizations have to take care of many different aspects to be able to effectively lead and orchestrate all things content across the organization. So, one would expect that more enablement leaders would regularly and consistently assess feedback from their internal clients and their buyers—and also try to better understand how content contributes to higher win rates. Why is this not the case?

Why don’t more organizations track the usage and effectiveness of their content services?

A handful of reasons needs to be considered to understand the bigger picture. Let’s have a look:

  • Nearly half of the organizations (47.5%) still share their content via email or multiple repositories. Of course, these organizations don’t have the opportunity to consistently track the usage and effectiveness of their content services. The only thing they could do is assess their sellers’ feedback; however, only one-third of organizations in this group actually ask their sellers and managers for feedback.
  • Most organizations (54.6%) are still using point solutions when it comes to sales enablement.
    This one is connected to the first one. It means that the majority of organizations cannot leverage the technical possibilities of integrated analytical features. Looking into the group of organizations that use the CRM as their central platform and integrate all sales enablement systems with their CRM, more organizations practice consistent and regular analysis of their content. The numbers increase from nearly one-fifth to 30% in most cases.
  • Legal restrictions and worker council involvement might hinder the use of analytics on seller content usage and buyer content consumption. In many countries, legal restrictions prevent employers from tracking how their salespeople use content on an individual basis. Additionally, worker council regulations lead to often-complex processes for organizations to get buy-in from their worker councils on the implementation of new processes and systems, especially of those that are able to track performance and other data on an individual basis, and especially if the usage of the data is not precisely defined.
  • Sales enablement leaders are overwhelmed by the variety of analytics and lack a holistic, strategic approach to why and how to measure content efficiency and effectiveness. In my experience, this is one of the key challenges for enablement leaders. It’s not about implementing tools and features that can measure almost everything. The challenge is to measure what counts considering the business strategy and not to measure what doesn’t count anyway. The biggest danger is that organizations measure an abundance of useless metrics but often overlook the few metrics that really matter to achieve their business goals. Take your sales enablement charter as an example: It’s easy to fill in a form, but it’s rather challenging to develop a charter that reflects the business strategy and defines sales enablement exactly the way it should be to tackle the organization’s biggest selling challenges. It’s the same here. It’s easy to put a bunch of metrics on a dashboard, but it requires a ton of expertise, a strategic and holistic perspective and a solid content strategy connected to the strategic initiatives to create a valuable dashboard that allows an organization to better understand the three dimensions of content impact: efficiency (production), usage (sellers and buyers) and effectiveness (sales results).
  • Often forgotten with all the metrics is direct feedback from sellers and their managers. Their experience is invaluable and should never be overlooked. Their direct feedback from the trenches helps enablement teams get better at everything they do, not just content. Especially when it comes to content, though, it’s important to really understand how they use a certain piece of content with their buyers in different scenarios and stages. Is there a conversation, or is the white paper just shared via the sales enablement platform?

Effective sales enablement leaders know they need a strategic, thoughtful approach when it comes to measuring the efficiency, usage and effectiveness of their content services, always supported by the direct feedback of their sellers and managers.

Stay tuned! Next week, we are going to discuss all the pitfalls when it comes to measuring the impact of content on sales results.


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:

  • Do you measure anything around the content services that you provide?
  • If so, how do you use the data to sharpen your strategy?
  • If not, do you plan to develop an approach to measure the impact of your content services?

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