Why is it that we can track ad performance, email performance and social performance every-which-way, but we can’t get basic performance analysis on content in the sales cycle?  Businesses should be able to answer these questions: Which content are sales teams are using the most (or at all)? Which piece of content moved the customer to purchase? Which is most engaging? Yet these questions plague businesses and often lead to finger-pointing and false assumptions, resulting in wasted dollars and time.

The problem is rooted in the lack of intelligence around a company’s content performance – most organizations don’t have the ability to accurately gather metrics relating to content from creation to consumption to revenue. As a result, the sales teams suffer due to ineffectual sales content, often times not even using what marketing has produced. In fact, according to a SiriusDecisions study, 60-70 percent of marketing content created is wasted each year.

The solution to stemming this black hole of wasted content – and better arming your sales team with highly effective content – is in applying intelligent sales content performance analytics. Through advancements in data science and machine learning it is now possible for all companies to use real-time analytics to measure content, providing sales and marketers with a more accurate understanding of how content is changed, exchanged, and engaged at all stages of the lifecycle.

Finding the Right Solution: Don’t Count Slide Decks, Measure Content

The measurement of your business’s content is vital in creating good content to support your sales teams. In order to measure content effectively, you must produce metrics over the key areas that drive effectiveness — usage, quality, engagement, and influence on sales. But what exactly does it mean to “measure” your content?

When considering a solution, it is important to recognize that measurement is critical at several different points in the content lifecycle. Here are just three examples that illustrate the ways intelligent measurement of content can turbocharge your sales team and turn your marketing dollars into revenue.

The Content Popularity Contest – Know Which Content Your Sales Teams Are Finding and Using

The best content in the world won’t do any good if the sales reps do not know that it exists. According to SiriusDecisions research, 28 percent of all content produced is never found by sales teams. When you consider massive, multi-million dollar marketing budgets, that’s a lot of wasted resources.

By providing sales reps with a real-time awareness of the content that is available to them, they can be more prepared to tackle a given customer situation, such as pairing a select pitch deck to a relevant opportunity or live event.

And then, of that content that’s found, what are sales reps actually using? In most companies, only a fraction of content is regularly used. Understanding which content sales reps are using (sending or sharing with prospects) can shed light on which content is working and which is simply being ignored.  Without an intelligent platform, there is no way to know what that ‘most popular’ content is. Sales content performance analytics can help marketers track sales teams’ use via measurement of views and downloads of content, so marketers can quickly identify which pieces are being used the most, by whom, and for what specific sales purpose.

Get Insight Into What Your Customers Are Thinking By Getting Insight Into What They Are Doing

With customers being inundated with content, it’s tough to get them to even take a look in the first place.  Most pitches are never even opened, and those that are only get a cursory glance before the customer moves on. How can you make sure your sales reps are pushing out content that will actually get viewed?

Having an intelligent measurement tool is like having a crystal ball into what your customer is thinking. There is much that can be learned long after a document is sent to a customer including:  open rates, time spent on each asset (down to time spent on an individual slide), and what content the customer shared. You can even measure how a slide “family” — or a set of nearly identical slides — is performing to identify the version that works best, enabling marketers to improve quality through A/B testing.  This takes the guesswork out of how your customers are responding — the data tells you what content is truly resonating with your audience.

And it’s not just the specific sales situation that matters. As this data is aggregated, a content’s performance history is captured to inform customer interaction in the future. A sales rep can quickly see how well a piece of content has performed in the past and make a decision as to whether or not a customer would find the given information useful before sending it.

Understand the Impact of Your Content by Tracking its Influence on Revenue

In the end, the one metric that truly matters is content’s influence on revenue — was this content used to drive the sale forward to closure? This metric is critical to understanding what really works, enabling sales to amplify best practices and marketing to invest in more content that works. Just as marketing automation, email engines and Google Analytics can track impressions, opens, click thrus, net new leads and more, influence on revenue can be tracked using modern, intelligent platforms.

Analytics can also breakdown whether content moved a deal forward at different stages in the process.  Different content types are used at different stages in the sales cycle.  For example, product guides provide early guidance to a viable solution, while case studies and ROI calculators provide value justification used in later stage negotiations. While it’s critical to track all content in relation to its ultimate influence on revenue, it is similarly powerful to analyze which content is most effective at moving deals forward for their given stage.