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Three Ways Marketers Can Measure the Impact of Sales Content

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Marissa Gbenro: Hello everyone and welcome to the latest episode of Leading the Way: The Sales Enablement Podcast. My name is Marissa Gbenro, and I am the Senior Manager of Content Marketing at Highspot. Today I’m delighted to be joined by Sapphire Reels. Sapphire is the Director of Portfolio and Integrated Marketing at Pluralsight and leads the teams responsible for volleying the organization’s story as a multi product platform. Her team is also responsible for creating and deploying global integrated marketing programs, so they do it all. In this episode, we’re discussing three ways marketers can measure the impact of sales content. Thanks for joining me, Sapphire.

Sapphire Reels: Hi, everyone. Hi, Marissa. It’s great to be here today. So I’m Sapphire Reels. I am the Director of Portfolio and Integrated Marketing at Pluralsight, which is a very long and jargony title that just means part of my team focuses on our portfolio and solution story. So my background is as a B2B SaaS product marketer. And so I started in product marketing for one product at our company. Over time, we have acquired companies and grown our own portfolio. So now we have multiple products. And so we have separate product marketing teams that service those individual products. And then two people on my team manage what is the kind of the overall portfolio and solution story. So that changes the types of thought leadership content that we’re creating, it changes our go-to-market because we’re selling to, you know, high-level problems and outcomes for solutions versus products. And then the other part is managing all of our integrated marketing campaigns. So making sure we’ve got a consistent experience and messages across every channel from the moment someone hears about Pluralsight, all the way down through when they make that sale, they decide to be retained as a customer. So it’s been fun so far on that journey.

MARISSA: It sounds like a lot of fun. I am very, very envious of all of the knowledge, I bet that you are able to mine from your customers and prospects. So you have such insight into what’s working, what’s not, you know, what experience did they have when they were prospecting or in our customers. So yeah, that’s awesome. So let’s get into it. You know, we are obviously dealing with buyers who in the last couple of years have gone through a lot of change, the industry has changed, buyers have changed, everything has has sort of shifted, some things have stayed the same, but but a lot has shifted, you know, today’s buyers, they’re really, really busy adapting to the world around us, right. And in order to get their attention and to keep them engaged, sellers really have to just, you know, make videos that are personalized and interested in are going to grab attention. And so as we kind of think about what the new buyer looks like, you know, 74% of buyers choose a seller that first added value and insight. However, 65% of marketers are still challenged when it comes to understanding what types of content are actually effective and engaging buyers and buy-in content is so important to the buyer’s journey and to the sales cycle, you know, 17 pieces of content, on average being used throughout the sales cycle. So we have marketers who aren’t really sure, you know, what’s working and what’s not. We have sellers who really need this amazing content to engage buyers and get them to close deals. So far, what have you found is one of the biggest challenges or maybe multiple that marketers are facing when trying to gain visibility into content performance, what would you say? Are those factors that are keeping them from unlocking that knowledge?

SAPPHIRE:  Yeah, yeah, that’s a great tip and a really great question. So thank you for that. There’s a lot, I don’t know how much time we have, but no, there’s definitely a lot. And so when I first joined my company, one of my first projects actually was sales enablement. So today we have product marketing teams on my team. We also have a separate sales enablement team. And they’re now like specialized, they focus on specific regions and roles and personas. There’s a sales leader enablement person, there’s a CSM enablement person. So we’ve really grown over time. But when I joined five years ago, product marketing did sales enablement. And so my first big project was not only trying to figure out like, what is the state of sales training. I will say that is what I would call it at the time. But we were going through a massive overhaul of like updating our messaging and our personas and our whole go-to-market was shifting. And so there was a lot that I uncovered and as I’ve gone out and talked to many other people in the PMA and some of the other groups, a couple things, you know, I experienced and they’ve experienced. I think one of the first big things is like data and system limitations. And that is a reality that everybody faces. And what I mean by that is like system limitations is like some people simply don’t have a tool, right? Still using their internet, they’re still just kind of sending things out on. Like, they don’t really have this good system to give access to the content for sellers. And what I mean by data limitations is, you know, being able to not just give access to sellers, but also knowing what are sellers using? When are they using it? How are they using it? You know, every IT team is so bogged down. So you have sales folks running sales enablement, who want a tool, and their IT team is like, sorry, you know, our sales for the architecture and our data architecture takes priority. So it can be really challenging just from like, how do I get the data and systems? Couple other things I’ve seen, as you know, anyone will tell you that it’s really hard to get sales reps using new assets and building new behaviors for that. But like, it is really, really, really hard. You know, it’s not just about having a system to make content available. It’s how do you make it consumable? How do you make it actionable? A lot of times there is a lack of a really good relationship with sales. Marketers are so focused on how do I create this awareness? How do I get someone who knows about us, but like, what happens to that person, once they know who you are? And kind of what you’re about? How do you bring them down that funnel, right? There’s definitely a gap there. And you have to be able to really build relationships with your sales teams. And you even brought up that customer success. If you have professional services teams, you have support teams, like those are the folks who are in the trenches every single day. And when they don’t trust that you understand what it’s like for them to be in the trenches, it’s really hard for them to say like, I’m gonna go use this new marketing asset that you’ve created. There’s almost this like, bias that those folks have. And sometimes that comes from a feeling of like, look, the marketing content that you’re creating, like, it lacks my buyers’ perspective, or it lacks this type of conversation, and I’m actually having in the sales cycle. And so yes, said simply, like, a lot of data and system limitations, a lot of relationship and trust issues, and then a lot of the relationship and trust issues kind of come back to this feeling of like, marketing doesn’t actually understand how I’m talking to my buyers, or what, what they’re telling me I don’t see that reflected in the content, and therefore I’m just I’m not going to use it.

MARISSA: Yep, all of it. All of it rings so many bells and rings true. And I’ve experienced all of it, you know, when you touched on, a lot of people don’t have access to data when you came in. And you said one of the first tests that you were asked to kind of go through was unlocking some of that data. So what did that process look like for you? Did you have a tool? Was it just you needed to talk to it? Or the team or you know, revenue ops or whatever team owned the data? How did you kind of get access to finally uncover some of that? What did that look like for you?

SAPPHIRE: It was messy. And upon anybody, we had nothing like that, at the time. We just had sellers who had things like saved, saved on their desktop, and like, I went to, you know, one seller, and they’re like, I’m using this asset from like, 2012. Or like, it’s 2017. You know, homie, what do you do when, you know, it was highly manual? We didn’t have, you know, we have like an internal intranet where people uploaded their content. And like, yeah, I could see how many views it had. But I had no context of like, who in sales was using it? How were they using it? And so one of the first things that I did is like, partly, this was about building trust. And partly it was about understanding what’s available. Like, I just went to sales leaders. And I was like, look, I know your teams are using some sort of content, whether we provided them or they created themselves, like they’re using something so like, who are those sellers? Who are super high performers? Who are those sellers that are like middle of the road? And who are those sellers who are struggling and need a little bit of help? Can you give me like, five names from each of those groups? I’m gonna go talk to them. And I’m going to figure out what they’re using. And so I just started with sales interviews. Really just asking them, you know, a conversation when you get a lead, yeah, like, where’s the first place you go to look for content? What content have you used? What’s been successful? So, through those conversations, I was able to uncover a lot of the like, “I don’t know what to go find. I just kind of use whatever I’ve created or used in the past.” And I was also able to kind of, you know, on the marketing side, obviously, we know everything we’ve created. So I was looking at, like 200 assets that we had created. And I was able to really map that to what the sales team told me they were using. And like there was a massive gap between the amount and volume of content we’re creating, versus what they actually use. So I was able to start with like, okay, here’s what they’re using, here’s what they’re at least telling me is helpful. Now, what are some of the gaps we have in content? I know when what they’re using is not successful, and then what are some of the gaps of like, ooh, we probably don’t have that thing. And we should go create it. So highly, highly manual without having any of that data.

MARISSA: I have been there and I know I feel your pain, I feel your pain. And I, once I, you know, started working at Highspot, it was my first interaction with the sales enablement tool, and it completely changed everything and changed how easy it was to gain sales buy in, because it stopped being about “I think you should use this and I want you to use this,” and “I created this and it’s beautiful, why aren’t you using it instead” became a conversation around data of, “hey, this is working, I want what’s best for you, I want you to be able to close deals, and this data is shows that this is what’s helping, you know, other high performers.” And so it was so nice to use data, as this, you know, as a partner in crime, go to Sales and ask them, you know, what’s working? What’s not, but then also, what do they wish that we had? And sometimes, you know, case studies are always a pain point, I feel for every seller or sorry, every marketer of what was more case studies, it’s like we actually have 12 that you’ve never used. So maybe it’s fine. The ability, right? Maybe it’s search that is actually the problem, or you know, you find an ability you didn’t know it existed, because you’re asking for something that does exist for you know, so in the vein of of, you know, the importance of that data, because you said if you don’t have it, and we kind of went through that. So once you do have to really understand how much value your content provides to your sales team. I think you have to know what content what is being used. So what are they adopting? What are what is their toolkit, right, of the five assets? Like you said earlier? As soon as you get on that, you know, demo, what are you using? What is your go to, but then you also have to understand just because they’re using it doesn’t mean it’s working. So then having that visibility? And so what’s actually engaging customers and what they’re clicking into, and what they’re finding value with? And then also, you know, what I just touched on the fungibility. How are you searching for content? How are you finding it? You know, and I think a lot of that is, is really you have to have, you know, data to really help you kind of get some of that unless you’re having those interviews, like you said, so my question to you is, what would you say is the first step into kind of unlocking content performance insights, like when you have the information and data? And you know, maybe if you don’t? What was your journey to kind of unlocking content performance?

SAPPHIRE: That’s another great question. I think a lot of what you just hit on are the types of conversations I’ve had once I had data and like, I started with that really manual process. And it was a really simple conversation to go back to not only my leadership, but sales leadership to say, Look, I know that we have like 200 assets available. And here’s how they are mapped to different kinds of conversations. And I know that it’s not surfaced in this way to you right now. Like, I know that when you go into this tool, this intranet, you just see a long list of like one sheet PDF, like overview case study, and like, How the hell am I supposed to use this? And so not having the data helped me create the vision of like, well, what if we had the data? What if I was able to tell you that we actually do have a ton of content that can help you with a first line sales call or a competitive conversation? It’s just right now, it’s really difficult for your sellers to access. And I don’t have any data back that shows me how they’re using it, when it’s successful, what types of customers are engaging? So yeah, it was really that first, doing the manual process to help me paint that vision for what we could do if we had data and analytics and it it was really just vision casting to say what if I could tell you this and it sounds like Hell yeah, I would love you to tell me that like, then those are the types of things they take back and then coach their team like, sales enablement is just setting up sellers for success. Obviously, there’s so much that goes into it, but like coaching of a salesperson comes from a sales leader. So that sales leader has very specific data and information to say, I heard I hear you your job is tough. I hear you have this challenging calm Association. Have you thought about using this battle card when you’re in that competitive conversation? And they might say like, No, I didn’t even know is available. So yeah, just not having the data and like knowing what we could create, set me up. So it’s definitely getting those analytics first step. Yeah.

MARISSA: That’s awesome. I love everything that you’re saying. And it rings. So true. And I think you know, most marketers have, have had all these experiences that we’re talking through. And to your point of, you know, sales enablement. The job of sales enablement is to drive seller success, right, is to drive consistent execution. And you said it earlier of going to your top performers, and seeing what they use seeing what if you don’t have the data, right? Going to your top performers and say, walk me through your deals from start to finish? What are you using? How are you saying what you’re saying, and that’s such a great place to start. And then when you have data, if you put less burden on the sellers, it’s you saying, Hey, here’s what the data is showing us is working. And here’s what you know, Kevin, the amazing performing high performer goes over numbers every quarter can validate that. Yeah. And Kevin is the top person who pitches this, as you know, more than anybody else. And it’s showing in the data. And so it helps to have these conversations, again, because sales and marketing will always have our attention and you know, different points of views on things. But right, I think when we come to the table with information that is really valuable, that helps sales leaders have, like you said, those tough conversations of I know you’re struggling, why, you know, is it that you don’t feel like you have the content? Okay, well, you didn’t know this existed, here’s this battle card, you know, or, Hey, you don’t feel like you have content that’s really speaking the way and it just allows us to have more effective conversations overall. And I think, at the end of the day, we all have the same goal, right? Like we want the business to do well. So if you tell me that, in order for the business to sell you to sell more, I need to you know, start using different terminology. Okay, we all have the same goal. So I will, if you give me information, I will run it, that’s what’s gonna take like I spent on board I’ve signed up. Yeah, exactly. And so I, I love all of that, because it just I, in my experience has allowed us to have way more effective conversations. It’s not about what’s working or what’s not, it’s about why. And then if you say, well, sellers don’t want to use this, because they feel like it doesn’t really sound like that. Great, let’s, I’ll have a meeting with five sellers. And we’ll get you know, we’ll update this to make sure that it feels really organic and natural for them to use it and pitch it and, and have conversations around the content. And one question that sparked as you were talking, I don’t want to forget to ask is, how do you measure the success of content and your assets? Do you kind of go in? Do you have a set benchmark for success in terms of like, what you want to see for engagement, or what you want to see for internal usage, you know, when you launch campaigns or, or just assets themselves? Maybe a battle card? Is it like we want to see us at least 50 times in a month? Or what does that look like when you’re kind of going through the process of creating what success looks like for your campaigns?

SAPPHIRE: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think it’s totally dependent on the campaign, of course, but like when I’m setting up a campaign, you know, the things I’m thinking about are like, what are the what are the objections we have with this campaign, right, from a marketing perspective, like we are trying to build pipeline for our business. And that looks like bringing new leads into the funnel, it looks like ensuring that those leads, you know, we’ve got this, we call, you know, tier one, marketing, qualified contact, right, that goes straight over to sales and gets followed up on so I’m looking at, you know, how many leads are regenerating? How are those being handled off to sales, how many of those are surfacing an opportunity. And so from a campaign perspective, like, there are goals that we have around these campaigns of like, I need to get, you know, at least I’m going to make this number of rides really low 50 people to raise their hand, but to act off of this marketing content, and to reach out to sales. And so when we create assets for campaigns and a lot of those assets, sure, there’s a lot of top of funnel, very high level thought leadership, but we also work with our product marketing teams, to make sure that we have very kind of product specific content when that conversation gets to the bottom of the funnel. And so part of what I will look at is every time we go into a campaign, I’m looking at what is their sales team actually use? So from an internal users perspective, I don’t have some set number, but if I know we created a series of content for this campaign for sales in the past, and they haven’t used any of it, that is a really big area for me to go figure out what’s going on. Do they not know about it? Are they not competent? Do they not know what to like? Do they don’t know it’s available? Right? There’s a lot of different places to go. So I think when I think about internal usage to me, I think about have that as a leading indicator, right? How many reps are using this content? What types of segments? Or segments? Are they servicing? Are they using this content? Once a week? Or every day? Like, how often? Are they engaging and interacting? And that gives me a leading sense of like, is there some sort of training or enablement we need to do to make sure people know what’s available. But I think what’s even more important that I look at is understanding internal usage mapped against external engagement. And understand it’s one thing to know, hey, a sales rep has used this sales scripts, you know, 100 times sales reps have used this, what’s more powerful for me to know is, hey, this has been used 100 times and 80% of the time, a rep, using the sales script, leads to a second conversation, right? Like, that’s awesome. So I think it’s really important to figure out, like, what are the goals that you have, and if it’s not a campaign, let’s say you’re doing a product launch, and you have some very, you might have, you know, a lot of product marketers, they share adoption goals with product management teams, and so maybe you’re creating assets for customer success managers to help get somebody on board and adopt from the platform, like, I want to be able to map you know, look at usage as the leading like, are we gonna hit our goals? And then you look at that external engagement of like, okay, are they using this one sheet, or this, you know, onboarding guide that we created or anything like that, and is that actually leading to the success that we’ve defined whether it’s new person has used this part of the product, once new person visit, so I really try to map that it’s not always perfect, you don’t always have the exact data that you need. But I think there’s a lot of ways you can get to that, once you have a content, some sort of content management platform and sort of sales enablement, platform, you know, like, you’re really able to get into those details of like, okay, within this timeframe, where we’ve launched this campaign, or this product, your goals, here, she’s used it, and here’s how customers or prospects actually engaged with it. So you have to be able to map those things. And you have to be really, really clear on the goals. So like said simply, if you’re focused on some some sort of, you know, creating awareness, right, maybe you’ve got a product coming couple months down the road, and you’re trying to create some awareness and excitement and buzz about what’s coming, and you’ve got this really awesome top of funnel, white paper, that’s, you know, bringing leads to sales, and they need to follow up on like, what I’m tracking there looks very different from, oh, I’m trying to stand up, you know, I’m trying to get somebody to adopt this platform. So you’ve got to be really aware of what your objectives are and marry those two things. But it’s always going to come down to how are people using it internally? And how are folks externally engage with it? Maybe it’s a specific segment? Yeah, right. Right. This industry, it’s really resonating with this type of persona. And all of those insights will feed back into your marketing engine.

MARISSA: Yeah, I, the three, the three metrics that we use in internally to kind of gauge the success of campaigns, initiatives, content, in general is exactly what you said, its internal usage, its external engagement, and then our usage to engagement ratio. So basically, you know, just marrying the two together to say, okay, though, it was pitched 100 times how, how many times did a buyer actually open it? Or, you know, a customer will, whoever your audience is, and then, you know, just doing the math and saying, Okay, well, that’s your engagement rate. And then what we’ve been able to do through content audits, you know, has used, we’ve used the historical data to create benchmarks where we’re saying, Okay, I’m just gonna throw out 50% is a good benchmark for in that engagement rate of, okay, we liked this content it’s performing, it’s doing well, and you know, it’s indicative of this initiative is doing well, like you said, launching a new campaign. And it being a really good indicator of what’s working and what’s not that engagement rate, because not only is it bringing in internal usage into, you know, the kind of math but it’s also bringing engagement to say, yes, our reps are bought in to this initiative to this content to the topic, whatever it’s around, but then also our buyers or customers are also bought in they’re also finding it valuable, they’re also thinking it’s interesting, because I think oftentimes, for me, as a content marketer, sometimes we’re too in the silo of, well, what’s working externally, like, you know, what’s getting engagement, what’s driving leads, what’s filling the funnel, but you have to be really thoughtful about but is your team internally bought in as well? Are they pitching it? You know, after their demo, are they you know, speaking on calls and sending it as follow ups, because that’s so important as well. They’re just as important as each other. Right? If your team isn’t using it, it’s not going to be seen externally. And if it’s not being engaged with externally, your team shouldn’t be using it. And so really like, are we it’s been really nice to just kind of have some metrics to the our entire marketing team snap to, and everyone is like, okay, that engagement rate, and it’s different for product marketing, right, because their content is typically used through the middle of the, you know, more middle to end a funnel. So their engagement rate is going to be higher as sellers who, you know, are Taan texting bases with their, with their buyers, so they have a better relationship. But I think that really locking on metrics, as simple as usage, you know, engagement helps everyone get a better idea of what’s working and what’s not. And then saying, Okay, if it falls below these benchmarks, then we have conversations about is it the initiative? Is it the content, is it the topic, is it reps who didn’t know where to find it? And then you can, like you said, you get to have these more in-depth conversations about like, what do we do to fix the problem? If there is one? Or if it’s performing really well? Okay, we need to spin this off into a podcast, we need to do a blog post, like we need to. Yeah, because it’s working so well.

SAPPHIRE: I think what what you said is really important on the idea of like, it gives, it gives you a benchmark, like, only when you have data aggregated over time, it doesn’t take a while, you know, you can write a pilot and a few months, you know, few months get to some fidelity, because like, often we don’t have any of that data, we don’t know what good looks like, like, look at look at the last three to six months, like that ratio was about 50%. Right? I know that that’s a good benchmark for us to push for. And it’s not a perfect science, you know, there’s always a million things that you have to kind of factor in, but it gives you that, you know, way to monitor your metrics and your dashboard, just say like, look at something’s dipping, I gotta go figure out what’s going on here. Like this is giving me a really good directional data point. And so you don’t have to just rely on, you know, hey, this person says they don’t like this or it doesn’t work. It’s like, well, 50% of the time, it is worth talking about why it’s not working for you. Right.

MARISSA: That actually leads me into my next question, how have you been able to use the data to improve or optimize you know, campaigns or content or initiatives? I mean, as granular as you want to get or as macro as you want to get on that example?

SAPPHIRE: Yeah, I’ve a few different thoughts on that. So one of the things you mentioned before, it’s just like, you know, sales and marketing always have different points of view. And I think that that’s something you know, that we’ll until the end of time, aliens look back on. Oh, yeah, sales and marketing, they never got along, right. Like that will be but I almost think about like, this data helps me get their point of view, right? It might be as simple as like, you know, my team, again, part of my job is creating portfolio and solution level content that is very similar to, you know, there’s a lot of thought leadership work we do that’s very similar to like product marketing, right? Right. Content, right? How do we talk about the overall value of what we’re doing? And so having data on how sales is using it, how they’re engaging with it like, that gives us a really, really are how customers are engaging with it, I should say like, that gives us a really, really good basis point to go figure a few different things out. One is the like, who should we be targeting with marketing? Right? If I know that this specific talk track and messaging that is apparent, and you know, these 10 assets are working really, really well for financial services for sales reps, as they’ve had these conversations, like I know, from a campaign perspective, wow, we should probably have something that speaks to financial services, or maybe there’s a specific problem that financial services customers have, and we should go make sure that they’re a focus for this campaign. So like, it really helps me get clear on like, who might we target? And also what’s resonating? You know, I think one of the things that folks who have not been in sales, or maybe haven’t worked as a sales as closely and you know, different variety of formats is a lot of the times the content that marketing teams create, and I say this lovingly because like, this is part of my job now. And it’s really a labor of love. Like, it’s not very actionable. Like, there’s no real way for them to follow up on it, there’s no real way for them to send it to somebody to add value. So a lot of that data gives me a really, really good place to say like, look, when our sales reps enter into a conversation, what’s actually resonating what can we build off of and like what’s going to make it like, you know, an easy button for someone to follow up so like, a big part of that is like what are the real Life selling situations and conversations or reps in. So a really tangible example is one of the things you know, every rep does is they ask discovery questions when they get into the sales cycle, right? And we also had a lot of our CSMs in our business who kind of do these, you know, planning sessions with customers, right? What are your goals? What do you need from that? What are your challenges and outcomes? Okay, now let’s talk about mapping our platform to that, here’s how you’re going to use it, what’s your adoption plan, all of those conversations aren’t happening until someone’s in the sales cycle, or until they’ve already, you know, signed on and been a customer. So a lot of what that data helps me do is bring those topics and areas of discussion way earlier into the funnel, and also, quite frankly, best practices. So we were able to build these like planning worksheets, where we said, we’re going to publish a, you know, thought leadership report about the state of the market for our industry. And we’re going to fall from that piece market is going to send these planning worksheets that say, look like you got to make the most of 2022. Here’s some data, here’s how you plan to it. What’s in the planning worksheet is exactly mapped to the discovery questions the sales reps are gonna ask and it’s exactly mapped to the planning process the CSM is going to undertake, and so that marketing content perfectly wraps up to have a conversation. And so it’s getting us on that same page. And because I have all this data, you know, part of my team’s job with campaigns is making sure this is really consistent experience for prospects and customers kind of no matter what touchpoint they have with us, like I’m able to see what is that exact messaging and language that’s resonating? What are the problem points? So there’s a lot you can pull from those realized selling situations. And I think to that point of sales follow up, like when I’m building a campaign, you know, I’m thinking about like, what’s the best CTA from us? You know, is there an opportunity to drive someone to a sales conversation earlier, you know, maybe with our webinars, we tend to just say, you know, here’s a webinar with a customer, and we’re going to send you the on demand link, as follow up, well, a really good opportunity to have someone reach out for a demo. So having data on what sales is, using, what’s resonating with our customers, helps me figure out where can I start those conversations or thoughts earlier in the funnel, and then where are the gaps, like, if we’re creating this really high level thought leadership content, and it’s not clearly connecting to our products, like, maybe I need to go work with our product marketing teams to have some more product specific content, you know, to move people down. So there is, I mean, like, I feel like the world is my oyster. On this type of data, I could go on and on.

MARISSA: I that is such a great idea to use the example you provided, look at what works well with your customers, and then say, if this is what when they become a customer they care about and they’re using us for and they’re finding value in, this should be a topic that we go position for prospects, because we want them to be a customer. And this is, you know, what our customers are using us for. So therefore, we have this topic that’s already big. That’s great. Taking notes.

SAPPHIRE: Right, again, makes it so much for the salesperson because, you know, obviously you’re selling but you’re also having the conversations around, how are we going to make you successful on Saturday, you already teed them up. And the customers have already been thinking about this and are the prospect I should say and it makes you more strategic. It really do want them to see you as the partner to get them to the future state that they want to get to. So why not take that evidence from people who are already at the future state and say this is the value that they found, this is what they find most interesting, and just repurpose it for prospects. That is wonderful; I’ve worked really well, sales as well. Because a lot of the times what you find are those angles where, you know, obviously the discovery questions you have or you know, you want it to be specific to your business. So they get to the point of like, yes, is this person qualified, you know, as a potential customer, right? So obviously sales gets that but it also opens, like broadens the scope for marketing. And what I mean by that is like, you know, every discovery question is going to have like 10 million other things a business needs to be thinking about that don’t directly relate to your product. So like it makes your marketing story stronger, because you’re able to find those problems, spaces and opportunities and ways they’re currently doing it that are probably you know, not the best that you can start to talk about it. So it definitely services a lot of different people when you do that.

MARISSA: I love that. We probably have some some listeners that maybe are not all way bought in yet still teetering on the importance on the importance of analytics. Can you share maybe one story, one anecdote of a win that you experience through us utilizing this data in the content process that we just kind of talked through? So obviously, that last one that you just said, sounds like it was an amazing campaign. I’m sure it performed extremely well. But what is, you know, whether it was a seller who was not necessarily bought in on something and then using data or if it was just a campaign that came out of, you know, utilizing data that has performed really well?

SAPPHIRE: I have a couple quick examples that I that I’ll give. I think one of the first things like when we launch our new platform, when we started to get data, is we actually saw low usage, like people just weren’t using it. And at first, we were kind of like, oh, you know, just like, it’s hard to change behavior, right. And like, as we started to dig in, you know, I’m, I, you know, I was newer my career in sales enablement. Like, sure, I knew the marketing funnel, did I totally understand the sales cycle? No, you know, and it showed, like, our platform was completely aligned around like top of funnel content, middle funnel content. And when I would train them, I beg, here’s how you go into the tool. Here’s how you search for one sheet, right? And so like two a month into launch, I’m like, Why is nobody using this? And I was able to go in and see there was low usage. And I knew there was high performers, and they had low usage. And so I went and talked to those people. And they’re like, nobody knows what MOFU, TOFU, and BOFU, you know what I mean, like on the sales side, that means nothing to me. And also, like, the training that I received was very general on the tool like, and so that allowed me to go back to the drawing table to say, like, Okay, gotta realign my content to the sales cycle. Like that was a fast learning for me at the start of my career. And the second thing was, I think you mentioned this before, but like training them in their daily workflow, like, look, imagine you’re on a call with a prospect. And, you know, they’re like, cool, love everything. You’re saying, I’m actually not the decision maker, though. Like, could you send me something really quickly, so I can forward it to Bob, my boss, like, imagine if you could just go into the tool and search like one sheet for, you know, Bob, and financial services, right, and send that to them? So the data of low usage gave me a way to figure out how do we better align to what you said sales language and terminology and the work that they do? Yeah. A second big thing that we noticed was like, there was a steep drop off and content usage when folks started going into the proposal stage. And so one of the things I was able to do is recognise that we didn’t have a good proposal template, and not every cost. Not every deal needs a proposal. But I also think there is no harm in sending like a very well-thought out, here’s exactly what we’re going to do for you, right, if you’re not an industry that hasn’t. And so we were actually able to create a proposal, a template for reps to use, and they started using it and driving more deals. So it helped me find like, what are those content gaps, and as the product marketer, I love to access it. I know they’re using this and they’re actually going to represent our product with the messaging and the value as we intended. It’s a really big third thing I think, is optimizing your own team’s time. You know, we have all and if you have not yet you will go through the process of sales reps requesting any number of assets. And you’re just like we have, yeah, like, you know, or, like, try that work. Like I don’t know, like, so it just the having that data helped me, help me and my team optimize our own time, it helped us say like, look, we already have that, or we’ve created something like that, and nobody used it. And like it also helps you get look at other data you’re tracking, and have a way to respond. So right, we’re seeing win loss rates ticking up, and we’re just starting to lose more to the competition. But when I actually go look at this content usage, sales reps aren’t using our battle cards. So, you know, maybe part of the reason we’re losing more deals to competition is they’re not using the stuff that’s already created for them. So like, No, we’re not gonna go do this whole other like initiative that you asked us to do, because our win loss data is changing. Like, we’re gonna start by training reps and making sure they know how to use these battle cards and they’re actually accessing them. Right. And then I see the last kind of quick win that we’ve had is you kind of mentioned this idea of like high performers and you know, sellers want to hear from sellers like them who are successful I think that’s like one of the number one things that we’ve been able to do like I’m able to go into the tool and say, you know, Sally over here in our European you know, customer base, use this asset use these 10 assets through a sales cycle in short the deal and landed a bigger sales, you know, a bigger deal and I actually I can tell you about it, Sally’s gonna tell you about it. So I was gonna tell you about the assets shoes, and we let the show First lead those conversations. So like, that also takes time for my team. And it just provides way more credibility. So like, everything from knowing where there’s low usage and how that relates back to the bigger work to you’re doing to like, where there is high usage, or one person using our team of people using it and getting them to tell that story for you will really, really do wonders for you, and the work that you do as an enabler.

MARISSA: All of these gems are so invaluable. And I know, that is someone who experienced life before and works at an organization, you know, that was an enterprise-level organization, with 600 locations across the US, Puerto Rico and Canada. And it was brick and mortar locations with reps who would just email you and slack you and ping you in any way that they carry your pigeon, you remember requests that existed, or it was so specific to them. And only then that it was like, hey, as an entire marketing team, we can’t put together one thing that only you will use when we have requests from literally almost 600 other people, right? And now, fast forward, you know, years to where I’m at, and having a tool where it allows for not only, you know, for them to be able to find what they need and see what works and what doesn’t, but also to remix and say, Okay, well I don’t want this page, I’m gonna instead you know, put this person’s logo on it so that it’s servicing so many people and still giving you information into what’s working and getting sellers what they need. And it just, yeah, everything everything you said, I’m like, wow, it was really taking me back to life before and life now and, and just wanting, you know, to help those other marketers out there to figure out you know, even if you don’t have data, how can you how can you get to a place where you’re so optimizing you know, your efforts and not spinning your wheels and, and not having to have those conversations a million times about case studies that are already existing.

SAPPHIRE: Really get those quick wins. Like with that proposal, like we saw that it was dropping off. But like, honestly, part of it was like, we had this really huge deal that was about to land, and it was like our first you know, deal size of this amount. You know, all hands on deck. And we all have those situations. And as marketers, like, we’ve got to optimize our time, like when you’re about to land your company’s biggest deal. And they’re asking you to come in and help create a proposal, like you’re gonna create. We use that as the basis for what we’ve provided to everybody else. So like, it gave us a way to do that one off custom effort. And then we scaled it. Yeah. And like we let them customize and we said, like, here’s where you can add a nice little graphic, you know, if your customers and find financial services, or is in telecoms, like, here’s a really easy way to kind of put this together and use that specific customer story and things like that. So yeah, there’s just some, there’s really no limit to what you can start to do with that data. And I think the biggest piece of advice that I would give to folks is, you know, not having the data as a really great time to start building your case for why you need the data and like be that squeaky wheel that’s like, look, if I had data on this, this is what I could do for you. And I promise it will come.

MARISSA: Yeah. I loved what you said in the beginning of if you don’t have the data, built using that as a tool to build a future state. So if we did have data, what would you want this to look like? If we did have data? You know, what do you think the gaps are? And then when, so building the map, the you know, foundation, the path, whatever you want to call it, and then when you get data? Sometimes it is a little, you know, gratifying when they’re like, Oh, well, we would need this, and this is what would work. And this is and you’re like, wow, the information says that actually. And so I couldn’t agree more, you know, even if you don’t have the data, using that as an opportunity to talk about future state and get, you know, stakeholder buy in, you know, get buy in from other teams and function heads to say, Well imagine if we did this is what we think, you know, and we’re going to map to this and we’re going to march to this until we have that data. But then you know, once you have the data, checking to make sure that just because you said that you’re going to do this thing or you thought that this was the thing that you need it most. Make sure that you’re looking in you’re you’re making sure you’re validating because there has been plenty of times where I was like, this is the campaign, you know, I looked at the data and I and I’m like this is the topic this is why this you know, content worked and no it wasn’t the topic it was that well I spent way more time meeting with reps training them up on why we created the campaign. That’s why it works like yes, the topic was good, you know, buyers were still engaged but it was like no actually was I did a roadshow and attended sales meetings and had conversations and landed it really well. So they felt competent to have conversations. But again, without data, I wouldn’t have known why one out far outperformed the other. And it’s like, it allows you to kind of take bias out of things and use facts to ground yourself, which I would say is, again, to your point earlier, like, makes you efficient with your time, it saves your team time, it has saved my team tremendous hours of like, well, this already exists, or we tried this before. And here’s how it worked, didn’t it?

SAPPHIRE: Right. It’s like, here’s what it is. And I think one of the one of the other small tips, you know, I know we’re wrapping up, one of the things you can do we did early on. And I don’t think we still have this today just for the sheer size of our Salesforce. But we actually took the data, you know, a lot of the time the person was his name and tools, not a sales leader. And they’re not in like the admin view. So we actually took some of that data and like, we would share snippets, we would also like pull that data from the system and build a little dashboard. And we would allow sales leaders to filter by their name for their team. And they had a dashboard of like, here’s exactly what you’re seeing is you’re using, here’s how it’s engaging. And like we put that in their hands. Yeah. Right. And so there’s just so much that you can do with this data. And, and you know, the Yeah, the possibilities are really endless.

MARISSA: Sounds like a commercial. Good, man. Well, Sapphire, I could talk to you for hours. This has been an absolute pleasure. So thank you so much for your time. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for all of your expertise. I know that our audience is jotting down notes. I know. There are plenty of things that I am excited to implement and, and work on. So thank you. Thank you so much for your time today. Of course.

SAPPHIRE: Thank you. And thank you to everyone listening, and I hope everyone has a great rest of their week and year. Thanks. All right. Bye, everyone. Bye.

Lawrence Chapman – PMA: Thanks so much for tuning in for the latest episode of Leading the Way. If you’re looking to enhance your sales number and credentials, the marketing alliance has just a ticket in the form of sales enablement certified, no matter where you’re at in your product marketing journey. This course is packed with real life examples, case studies, expert tuition, templates and activities that you need to build and scale awesome sales and open programs. They’re by Sapphire Reels, Director of portfolio and integrated marketing at Pluralsight. The course will help you articulate the importance of sales enablement and sell internally design a sales enablement programme from scratch based on business objectives and sales needs. launch and iterate sales enablement programmes, demonstrates the importance and impacts of sales enablement on the business and revenue generation. Enroll on the course now at pmmalliance.com/salesenablementcertified and get all the tools you need to design and launch impactful sales enablement programs.

Authors
Director, Content Marketing

Marissa Gbenro is the Director Content Marketing at Highspot Prior to life at Highspot she worked to drive corporate marketing strategy for TrueBlue across 600 locations in the US Canada and Puerto Rico…

Director of Portfolio and Integrated Marketing at Pluralsight

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