Product marketers have all been there: the assets they’ve carefully drafted aren’t being used by reps, their content engagement numbers are low, no one can find the most recent version of an important piece, or their content is being used at the wrong time with the wrong people. This problem is frustrating for sales reps and their managers, too, who often struggle to find exactly what they need and seek the perfect content to include in their sales kits and plays.
When everything feels so chaotic, what is the path forward?
Luckily, the Strategic Enablement Framework can help inject some healthy best practices and guidance into the process of managing and deploying content. While content is only one component of the Framework, it provides the bedrock for many of the other aspects.
Why is content critical?
Having a plan in place for content management isn’t just about keeping your content library neat and tidy just for the sake of authors. The CMO Council has found that sales reps spend a full 40 percent of their time looking for or creating content, meaning that at many organizations, content management is often part of the daily duties of the people who should be focused on other behaviors. Ask your reps: How much time on average do you spend clicking around folders and emails, looking for an evasive asset? How often do you find yourself rewriting content to fit your needs, or, worse yet, writing something from scratch that fills a needed gap?
The answers may shock you, and they should put into perspective why airtight content management can put your sellers on a path to success. And if the time-sink wasn’t enough of a deterrent to relying on immature content governance, there’s also the fact that sellers delivering misleading information about a product or service is the number one deal-killer—meaning when it comes to have the right information, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
What are the first steps to wrangle my content?
A content library can be a terrifying thing, especially if it’s full to bursting with hundreds or thousands of pieces of collateral. Untangling a gnarly content library or content management system may seem impossible, but all content overhauls should begin with one crucial step: getting your content “container” under control.
This means reps shouldn’t be relying on their personal folders or drives to store assets, nor should they be returning to the same content pieces they’ve been deploying to prospects for years. Marketing should have a single source of truth where they can host new content pieces and replace anything out of date, and reps should have easy access to this content. While a strong content management platform can be a great tool in this scenario, think about how your content platform can also perform other functions, such as tracking content engagement or providing sales plays for your reps.
How can I get my reps to use the right content?
Reps should not only have a single source of truth for the content they need, but these assets should also be searchable and easy to find and save for later. Ultimately, this boils down to the strength of the platform you’re using to house this content. Search functionality is great, but your platform should also provide a great storage and navigation experience for reps who don’t have time to scroll through pages and pages of results. For more tips on how to drive rep adoption of a new content governance tool or policy, read the Case for Content Governance: Retaining Confidence in the Integrity of Your Content.
How do I “futureproof” my content management?
At a fundamental level, “futureproofing” your content comes down to having a system of governance. This means that your content and/or marketing teams can review content performance and take action on these insights. Forester found that up to 70 percent of marketing content goes unused—which means that most organizations have yet to thread the needle on getting reps exactly what they need, running the risk of funneling too many resources into content that, quite frankly, isn’t valuable to sellers. Stop coddling your content, and let go of whatever isn’t working.
Therefore, it’s in the best interest of both Sales and Marketing for content owners to routinely archive any asset that is underperforming or that is out of date. This will keep the content library clean of anything Marketing doesn’t want Sales to deploy, and it also helps keep the list of assets lean and manageable.
What’s data got to do with content management?
Engagement data on content assets should help provide next steps regarding not just content next steps, but also any blind spots in sales training or coaching. These analytics are critical to making an informed decision and can help you better predict how your content will perform in the future. You wouldn’t don flip-flops and linen on a day with snow in the forecast, so why would you ever ignore your content “forecasts”?
When content creators know what works, they can write and design more of it, and then your reps will have more premium assets to choose from. Of course, there’s no perfect content library, so over time your library will still need to be pruned and perfected, but once it’s part of your best practices, it’ll be essential to your Enablement strategy. One way to get the ball rolling on collecting analytics is to start conducting regular content audits, to get a pulse on your engagement.
This article is a condensed version of practices explored much more thoroughly in the Essential Guide to Content Management. For a much deeper dive into content maturity and how to best take control of your content, download the guide now.
Again, content management and equipping sellers is just one component of a solid sales enablement strategy. To learn more about the other parts of the Strategic Enablement Framework, your roadmap to a winning Enablement charter, be sure to download the Introduction to the Strategic Enablement Framework, here.