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Discover the Right Sales Content eBook

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Discovering the Right Sales Content
Customer-facing teams influence prospects when they use effective content. But with potentially hundreds of pieces available, what content is effective?
Effective content is:
- Relevant to the sales situation of the prospect. It is content that was developed to speak to a specific customer pain or prospect need.
- Proven to be effective in the market with real measurements. It is content that marketing can demonstrate was viewed and downloaded by prospects – and helped to move opportunities in the funnel.
- Used by sales and other customer-facing teams. It is content that is easy to share – and always the current version – not content that is downloaded once and reused from the desktop.
This eBook looks at these three characteristics.

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Discover the Right Sales Content eBook

  1. 1. Why Your Sales Team Doesn’t Use Your Content, And How To Fix This A KnowledgeTree eBook
  2. 2. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 2 Discovering the Right Sales Content Customer-facing teams influence prospects when they use effective content. But with potentially hundreds of pieces available, what content is effective? Effective content is: -­‐ Relevant to the sales situation of the prospect. It is content that was developed to speak to a specific customer pain or prospect need. -­‐ Proven to be effective in the market with real measurements. It is content that marketing can demonstrate was viewed and downloaded by prospects – and helped to move opportunities in the funnel. -­‐ Used by sales and other customer-facing teams. It is content that is easy to share – and always the current version – not content that is downloaded once and reused from the desktop. This eBook looks at these three characteristics. 95% of buyers chose a vendor that provided ample content to navigate the buying process (DemandGen).
  3. 3. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 3 Contents Discovering the Right Sales Content .................................... 2 Relevant Content Eliminates Noise from Sales....................... 4 How Content Gets Used........................................................5 Recommendation-Driven Approach .....................................6 Time to Value.........................................................................6 Unknown Unknowns...............................................................7 Algorithm-Based Approach to Recommendation...................7 Search-Driven Approach ....................................................11 Search Result Weighting...................................................... 11 Proven Content is Measurable by Real-World Results............12 Measuring Content Usage by Employees...........................12 Measuring Content Usage by Prospects .............................13 Effective Content is Used by Employees ..............................16 Integrated with Sales Rep Workflow...................................17 Simplified Steps to Share ....................................................17 Track and Alert on Content Usage ......................................18 Conclusion .....................................................................18
  4. 4. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 4 Relevant Content Eliminates Noise from Sales Marketing and sales leadership want to help sales teams quickly find and use the right content. There are two primary approaches to help sales people find content – Recommendation-Driven and Search-Driven. A recommendation-driven approach filters available content by sales situation so that the most relevant materials appear to reps. This approach reduces the time required to decide which content to use, ensures that effective material is given precedence, and surfaces useful content that users may not know of. Sales reps spend more time selling, and less time searching for content. Search-driven approaches focus on a user’s decision process. This provides flexibility for users but increases the volume of content that a rep must choose from, and assumes the sales rep has prior knowledge of the terms utilized within the content. For most use cases a recommendation-driven approach will more efficiently surface the right content.
  5. 5. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 5 Marketing should look to address both use cases. For most use cases in large sales, support and services organizations, a recommendation-driven approach will more efficiently surface the right content quickly. How Content Gets Used Consider the following use cases, their frequency, and which approach is best-suited to meet the day-to-day content discovery needs of the sales rep/account manager: The Problem Frequency With Recommendations With Search "I need some content for a finance leader in the tech industry" Frequent Delivers just the right content, inline to the CRM record What search term should I use? What has worked best with similar buyers? "I need the most effective case study for a financial services company using the XYZ product" Frequent Delivers all financial services case studies for the XYZ product, sorted by most viewed by prospects Returns a (LONG) list: every file containing keywords “XYZ” or “Case Study”, irrespective of which content is most successful with customers. "What's all the relevant renewal content for a high churn risk customer using the XYZ product?" Frequent Delivers purpose-built content that speaks to churn risk for XYZ product customers (e.g. customer engagement metrics from Gainsight, or Totango) What search term should I use? What has worked best with similar at-risk customers? “Where's that whitepaper that talks about 'XYZ management solutions'?” Occasionally Not Applicable List of files matching keyword or phrase (e.g. a search for “XYZ management solutions” would surface all content related to the XYZ product field value).
  6. 6. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 6 Recommendation-Driven Approach Large sales teams typically encourage best practices across their organizations. That is, they test what works best in different situations and then guide colleagues to practices. That applies to content as well. A recommendation-driven approach to content takes a best practice perspective on content by highlighting content that is designed and proven for a sales situation. Time to Value A recommendation approach emphasizes time-to-value. Advanced search requires a period of time before the search algorithm has seen enough searches to increase the accuracy of its results. A rapidly changing, and improving content portfolio would slow this process. A recommendation-drive approach allows content to be immediately suggested to sales teams based on what the content was built for. “Content is surfaced intelligently based on the stage of the sales cycle” Dimitri Onistsuk Director of Marketing, Shipwire
  7. 7. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 7 Additionally, content can be immediately added and recommended for sales situations. There is no process of waiting for new content to climb through a search algorithm. Unknown Unknowns Content is often developed to address a particular market situation. For instance, a white paper may be produced to answer a particular competitive situation. A recommendation- driven approach surfaces content that customer-facing teams may not be aware of and was possibly buried by the popularity of more generalized materials. This allows highly tuned content to get into sales teams’ hands. Algorithm-Based Approach to Recommendation At the same time, a recommendation approach is not static. Recommendation should use 4 attributes to match content for sales: 1. Match with Business Rules Content is produced to speak about specific pains and to certain audience. A banking case study can message effectively to financial services companies and a competitive tear-sheet is useful in churn-risk accounts and large new deals. A recommendation- driven approach surfaces content that customer-facing teams may not be aware of.
  8. 8. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 8 Business rules provide a clean way to organize content to ensure that the right content is surfaced. Rather than using unmanaged tags, use the existing, highly-structured schema sales teams already use in use by your sales team via their CRM. That allows marketing to match content to real sales situations and protects the organization of content. There is no risk of tag proliferation or competing tags. 2. Content Freshness Recently added content generally contains more current and nuanced messaging. It also gives sales teams new tools to share with prospects. This is often seen with a new case study, a webinar promotion, or blog content, for example. More recently added content will rank higher in a given set of recommended content to capture this value. 3. Content Performance with Prospects Effective content should be promoted as best practice to sales teams. But what is effective? It is not simply that content has been accessed by internal teams. More importantly, it is whether it is effective in the field. That is, are prospects viewing, downloading, and sharing that content with their colleagues? The challenge with a portal-based approach is that sales teams will find content and then download it to their desktop. There is no way Effective content should be promoted as best practice to sales teams.
  9. 9. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 9 to know in a portal approach if they shared that content once or dozens of times with prospects. And the portal won’t know to prefer content that prospects actually engage with. Marketing and sales leaders should measure how many times content is not only accessed by reps, but how many times it’s been shared with prospects. And then how many times prospects are accessing and using the content. That allows you to recommend content that is: That focus on market-results ensures that best practice-based content usage is driven by real-world results. 4. Content Performance with Users When colleagues view and use content it can be an important indicator that content makes sense to use. The fourth component of a good recommendation algorithm is driven by users accessing and The challenge with a portal-based approach is that sales teams will find content and then download it to their desktop. Effective Content Viewed by Prospects Downloaded by Prospects Shared with Prospects
  10. 10. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 10 using content. Portal-based approaches will also emphasize this element as part of their algorithms. However, the challenge in a portal approach is how sales uses the content. As mentioned above, typically a sales person will locate relevant content and download it to their desktop. From the desktop they will repeatedly use the same version of that content piece. This means that performance by user is affected not by actual frequency of use by users, but rather by the number of times it is searched for and downloaded. The potentially dozens of times the content is actually used in a customer engagement, after the one time it is downloaded, are ignored as part of a portal’s algorithm. Instead, measure the number of times content is actually shared, not simply downloaded. “Sales can find the content they need at the exact moment they need it.” Liz Shulof, Senior Director of Marketing Bomgar Software
  11. 11. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 11 Search-Driven Approach While a best practice oriented approach emphasizes recommended content, sales users still need the ability to search for content. Search Result Weighting The algorithm described in the recommendation-driven approach should apply to search results as well. So search results should emphasize content that is a best match for a given sales situation. And critically, it should order search results based on real-world results, including success with prospects and customers and actual usage by colleagues – not just the number of times content was downloaded to a desktop.
  12. 12. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 12 Proven Content is Measurable by Real-World Results As mentioned above, effective content isn’t a matter of opinion. It should be something that is provable. Marketing automation and content marketers have been highly effective at the top of the funnel by testing and measuring the effectiveness of content at generating interest and converting leads. The same rigor should be applied in the middle and bottom of the funnel. That means testing content to see what advances leads and opportunities to close. Measuring Content Usage by Employees Employees’ use of content is an important measure of its effectiveness. The more frequently it is used and positively rated by employees, the more likely it will be of use to others. The challenge, however, is knowing what ‘used by employees’ means. In a portal environment, the use case is for an employee to search for, find, and then download content to the desktop. Once downloaded the content will be repeatedly used – perhaps dozens of times. However, a portal will recognize only that a single download took place. 100 shares of a content piece should be correctly weighted versus the single download captured by a portal. Effective content isn’t a matter of opinion. It should be something that is provable.
  13. 13. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 13 Measuring Content Usage by Prospects Just as content marketers gauge the effectiveness of content in the top of the funnel based on market results, the middle and bottom of the funnel should be the same. Portal approaches break down in this area, again because the usage model is for a user to download content to their desktop before sharing. That means that there is no input into the algorithm about whether or not content was actually utilized by the prospect or customer. Data about content consumption by sales and prospects should feed directly into the analytics engine for marketing to evaluate. It should influence the ranking of content in search and recommendation results. Content usage can be determined by three attributes. Content Views The number of times content is viewed by a prospect. This is also compared with the number of times the content has been shared, giving insight analogous to the ‘click through rate’ at the top of the funnel. Content Downloads Frequency of downloads of content by prospects. This higher-touch action by a prospect often indicates greater commitment to the content and message. Content ranking is also triggered by this action to influence the ranking of the downloaded content.
  14. 14. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 14 Content Engagement Actual engagement of a prospect with the content being viewed. A prospect that views a white paper is interesting. But far better is to know whether they viewed 100% of the document, or abandoned it after 10%. The most obvious use of this data is via the ranking algorithm. Just as with marketing automation, better performing content should be pushed to your sales teams. That data should also be used by marketing to influence content decision making processes. Equipped with data about views, downloads, and shares of content in the middle and bottom of the funnel, marketers can: -­‐ Eliminate content that is underperforming. Lots of shares but no views by prospects? Maybe you should invest elsewhere. -­‐ Promote content that is rarely shared. Reps aren’t seeing or sharing your content, try matching content to more sales situations or promoting it to your team. -­‐ Promote content that is effective. Content that gets a great response from prospects should be a best practice. Promote it internally and tune it so your algorithm recommends it.
  15. 15. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 15 Sales leadership can also use this data to answer questions like: Which teams of users are sharing which kinds of content?Which kinds of content are effective with leads? Which accounts are engaging with content? What content helps close opportunities more quickly? What content is best practice for a certain sales situation?
  16. 16. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 16 Effective Content is Used by Employees Content changes frequently. It may be updated, deleted, or supplemented. And new content that messages more effectively may be added. As content changes, it is important to understand whether employees are actually using the content. Portals struggle with this challenge because, as discussed above, they rely on users to download content. That approach means that updated content will not be found by sales users and users will default to using the content that is already available on their desktops, regardless of the sales situation. So, effective content requires that users want to engage with the content application. That means that the application is not disruptive to their workflow, makes common tasks more efficient, and provides additional value that makes them more effective in sales engagements. Too many portal projects have failed because sales people found them too cumbersome, outside their workflow, or not focused on actual sales activities. A focus should be on sales person usage. Too many portal projects have failed because sales people found them too cumbersome, outside their workflow, or not focused on actual sales activities.
  17. 17. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 17 Integrated with Sales Rep Workflow Sales teams have limited available time to look for, download, and use content. Content should be available as simply as possible in the workflow they are accustomed to. For most sales teams, that means connecting into their CRM. Simplified Steps to Share Sharing content repeatedly over the course of a day is time- consuming. Sales teams will reduce the volume of content sent and use more generic content when pressed for time. Instead, it should be recognized that the distribution of content to prospects is an essential part of content usage. That means look for tools that let sales reps quickly share content from their content recommendation or search tool. That lets them move quickly from finding to sharing content and ensures that the latest version is used. Sales teams have limited available time to look for, download, and use content.
  18. 18. Discover: A KnowledgeTree eBook © 2014 KnowledgeTree Inc. sales@knowledgetree.com 18 Track and Alert on Content Usage The view, download, and other content consumption metrics are important for marketing and sales leaders to know what content works. Critically, it is also valuable data for customer- facing teams. When a prospect engages with content, KnowledgeTree alerts the sales rep or account manager via email and Chatter. That tells the sender that now is a great time to follow-up with the prospect. This kind of insight into which person looked at what content, how they engaged with it, and more is extremely valuable to sales people. In fact, this kind of data is what keeps sales people so engaged with the KnowledgeTree tool. Conclusion Customer-facing teams are more effective when they use effective content. That means that they use relevant and proven materials in their conversations with prospects and customers. Marketers should filter noise from content lists, testing relevance of content in the field, and simplifying usage are why sales teams are enthusiastic users of both the technology, and their marketing content. Customer-facing teams are more effective when they use relevant and proven materials in their conversations with prospects and customers.
  19. 19. Want To Learn More? www.KnowledgeTree.com - sales@knowledgetree.com - 1-877-900-0350

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