Once you have a content management solution in place, how do you move from content chaos to the ideal state of buyer-aligned content nirvana?Creating an effective system to manage dispersed and sprawling content may seem daunting at first, but there are a number of concrete steps that can be taken to achieve the ideal outcome for sellers.
Create a Content Map
The starting point and the most important strategic step in implementing a content management solution is creating a content map with a B2B copywriter. The purpose of mapping is to identify the content you have to work with, what you need, and where it fits in your company strategy. When content mapping, be aware that leaning too heavily on the intuition of one team will not yield the results you need.
Your map needs to accommodate the perspectives of multiple groups, never forgetting that the ultimate audience is the sales team. In the same way, you would use a map to find a physical location, your content map is created to easily and quickly guide sellers to the best content for their specific buyer interaction. It creates the bones of your solution and structures the seller’s content experience. A content map is only as good as the steps taken to create it.
Organize and Curate
At its most essential, the content map must be set up and maintained in a fashion that lets sellers search to find what they need, in the ways that make the most sense to them. In order to do this, it’s important to understand the three common ways that sellers search for information: browsing, searching, and discovery.
Consider you are searching for a TV on Amazon. You’d start by entering the term “TV” in the search engine. This returns a very large number of diverse results, with the most popular displayed on top of the list, but there are also filters which allow you to narrow down your results. For example, you might filter between 42 and 55 inches, manufactured by Sony or Panasonic. This process of filtering down the results into a smaller, more narrowly defined set of characteristics is browsing. If one TV is of particular interest and you click on it, Amazon will also present you with a number of TVs with similar attributes that you may find interesting. When the system uses this information it’s learned about you (the particular kind of TV you favored) to suggest similar options you may like, that is discovery.
90% of B2B sellers don’t use sales content because it is irrelevant, outdated, and difficult to customize.
Effective content organization includes content curation —the act of auditing and sorting content. This means keeping content that is effective, used often, and is directly tied to revenue creation, and archiving content that is not. While this is a step where a lot of very indepth work can be done on an asset library–updating, eliminating, rebranding where it makes sense—it is important not to get bogged down. The goal is to strike a balance between the impulse to thoroughly uncover, classify, and update every last piece of existing content and getting key assets into the content management system and ultimately the hands of sales reps.
There are broad strokes that can be taken to strike this balance and help pare down the mass of existing assets without sorting through each individual item. For example, what needs–and deserves–to be rebranded? What is old enough that it should simply be eliminated? What contains outdated information, or hasn’t been updated with new product information? Is it worth updating, or should it simply be thrown out? Remember that 90 percent of B2B sellers don’t use sales content because it is irrelevant, outdated, and difficult to customize. This is an opportunity to dispose of some of the dry rot that isn’t being used.
As the process of curating content is occurring, design and document a process to make ongoing curation a part of the content management best practices. If content is not continually curated in the new content management process, content bloat will occur again.90%of B2B sellers don’t use sales content because it is irrelevant, outdated, and difficult to customize.
Conduct a Content Audit
Once there is a content map in place and established content categories, it is time to audit your existing content. Content audits are an important exercise because it provides visibility into what attributes existing content align with, such as sales stage or buyer persona. Common sources to search for when auditing content include:
- Content management systems, like Sharepoint, Alfresco, and Jive
- Online file sharing systems, like Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive
- Video repositories, such as YouTube, Vimeo, Brainshark, and Brightcove
- Internal web portals or intranet
- The company website
- Legacy sales enablement solutions
- CRM systems such as Salesforce
- Seller hard drives
Once the pillar content items that sales reps use every week have been uncovered, the next step is deciding where these content pieces will fall on your map. In some cases, there will be a question as to whether a piece of content is still relevant or should it be archived. This exercise helps to show when there is too much content that is aligned with similar attributes or that content has reached its expiration date and should be removed from the content library.
Another common outcome of a content audit is visible content gaps. It is necessary to document and evaluate the steps taken in the audit process, as the audit should be repeated periodically over time.
Provide Content Guidance to Sellers
When a content map is developed, it aligns content to the buyer’s journey as well as the sales process. As a result, when sellers search for content, they find content tailored to their specific buyer interaction, aligning the buyer’s journey and sales stage. The right piece of content, delivered at the right moment, provides buyers with meaningful insight while convincing buyers to move to the next stage of the sales cycle. This is why 64 percent of buyers say the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their buying decision.
When content is provided to a seller, it’s an opportune moment to deliver the asset and educate the sales rep on how to use that content when pitching to a buyer. This functions as a type of training that takes place in the middle of the workflow, making it easy for sellers to access guidance without breaking stride. It also provides learning in-context, which is a highly effective training method.
Creating this dual process—of content delivery in connection with training delivery—is an approach that should be designed and built into the content management system from the beginning. This is one of the most significant ways that a sales enablement platform plays a primary role in consistently training sales teams. In addition to training sellers in-context, a sales enablement platform delivers bite-sized components of training on a regular basis that is easy for reps to consume and remember. This keeps sales reps up-to-date on the latest product information, changes in messaging, new sales techniques, and updated best practices.
With intense demands on sellers’ time, this is a highly effective, flexible method for ensuring that sellers are consistently learning and ready to engage with buyers.
Analyze Content Usage Engagement and ROI
One of the greatest benefits of a content management system is that it provides insight into how content is being used, to what extent, and by whom. More importantly, engagement analytics provide quantified data on which pieces of content buyers are opening, downloading, and how long they engaged with each item.
This gives sales reps a tremendous leg up while giving marketing and enablement teams the ability to discern what content is linked to revenue production. Determining content ROI is a tricky business that can only be determined with a content management system that has the ability to track the full lifecycle of a piece of content. Sales content analytics connect the dots between ineffective content and content that has helped close deals.
Typically, only a very small percentage of content is used consistently by sales reps. In fact, 65 percent of marketing content is never used by sales.⁹ An effective sales content management system provides visibility into content that goes unused so that marketing or enablement can examine why. This is an essential step because it helps ensure that organizations are investing wisely when they makes content decisions.
Optimize, Rinse, and Repeat
Based on the data gathered from the analysis done in Step 5, KPIs will help identify which assets to cull, curate, or create more of. Essential areas of focus include frequent usage and non-usage. Data from the content management system will also make it apparent whether the guidance provided alongside those assets is effective–making it easy to continually refine and update the guidance that enables sellers to pitch the content effectively.
In effect, a robust content management system is equipped to perform an ongoing content audit. With a content management system in place, organizations are able to identify the core set of content pieces that are used most often and that should be kept, improved, and invested in. Alternatively, insight is provided into which content goes untouched and therefore should be eliminated. While getting rid of unused assets might seem difficult, given the investment that’s gone into creating them, culling the pieces that are cluttering the system is an important component of highly effective content management.
After all, one of the essential rules of honing messaging and content delivery is making sure there aren’t too many pieces of content available, but instead, ensuring the right pieces of content are aligned with their place in the sales cycle. This ongoing, continuous cycle of audit, curation, and refinement helps ensure that the content you have is the content you need.