It’s time that sales and marketing optimized sales content for performance, not just volume. And that means regularly conducting sales content audits.
Competition for prospects’ attention has never been stiffer.
Indeed, the very explosion in sales content – product overviews, case studies, research reports, and more – over the last few years has only compounded the problem.
It’s a problem that B2B buyers know intimately. In a recent survey, 34% of B2B buyers indicated that they have less time than ever to research purchases. And another 46% strongly agreed that they’re overwhelmed with the amount of content available.
Reality is, if sellers and marketers want to effectively compete for prospects’ attention, they need to go beyond simply creating more sales content. They need to create higher-performing sales content that actually impacts business outcomes.
But producing high-performing sales content isn’t as easy following a formula or having a flash of brilliance. And this exactly where a sales content audit provides real value.
What is a sales content audit?
A sales content audit is a strategic review of all the content used by your sales team. And it’s key to any effective strategy for driving prospect engagement in the middle of the funnel.
Sales content audits take stock of your entire library of content and measure its performance against your business objectives. They provide a holistic picture of what’s impacting your goals – and, critically, what’s not.
What’s more, sales content audits enable you to optimize your sales content. They provide the structure needed to benchmark the success of your content; identify opportunities for improvement; and strategically tackle inefficiencies in the pipeline.
Here, we’ll share our 6 step process for conducting your next sales content audit:
- Set a few measurable goals
- Map your library of sales content
- Get feedback from your sales team
- Measure and analyze content performance
- Conduct a content “gap” analysis
- Summarize, strategize, and prioritize your content
6 steps for conducting a sales content audit
You’ve probably heard some version of the saying, “What gets measured gets done.” It’s the idea that measuring an outcome can actually help you achieve it. And it’s critical to successfully conducting a sales content audit.
Before you begin your audit, it’s important to identify the outcomes you want your audit to impact. You might, for example, have goals for content usage, prospect engagement, pipeline performance, or overall business impact.
Setting goals helps you do two critical things: Focus your analysis during the audit and prioritize your action items once the audit is complete.
Here are examples of goals we’ve set at DocSend:
- Increase the average completion rate for our sales deck by 35%.
- Achieve 95% usage across all sales content and all sales reps.
- See 5% lift in opportunity creation rate after updating messaging.
- Increase the total value of content-influenced revenue by 10%.
You’ll notice that all of our goals are specific and measurable. That is, we can objectively say if we’ve accomplished our goals and to what degree. Each time we conduct a sales content audit – and we do one every quarter – we review our goals from last time and report on our progress.
Once you’ve established your goals, it’s time to dive straight into your sales content.
You probably know what’s coming next: A massive list of all your sales content.
If you’re using a sales content management system like DocSend, you should already have all your content stored in one place. If you’re not, you may need to get creative about how you find all this content – from combing shared folders to pinging individual sales reps.
Keep a running tab of your content in a spreadsheet. You’ll want to stay organized and consistent with what you’re tracking, since most of your audit will take place here.
Here’s what we capture in our audit spreadsheet:
- Title, e.g. Greenhouse Case Study
- Type, e.g. Whitepaper, Video
- First created (date)
- Last updated (date)
- Persona or use case, e.g. ENT Sales
- Deal stage, e.g. Qualifying, Closing
- Link (URL)
By now, you should now have a massive spreadsheet of all your sales content. You’ll use this spreadsheet as the single source of truth to conduct the rest of your audit.
Before you jump straight into the numbers, set aside time to chat with your sales team. Your sales team, especially your reps, will have valuable feedback to share about how your existing content is actually driving deals forward.
We know you might be tempted to skip this step (we’ve been tempted to skip it, too). What we’ve found, though, is that the “hard” data alone rarely tells the full story.
For example, your latest sales deck might be killing it when it comes to the completion rate, but your sellers might be hearing from prospects that it’s left them confused. And that’s important information you couldn’t have gleaned from the numbers alone.
When asking for feedback on your sales content, here are some things to keep in mind:
You can collect this feedback in a number of ways. With a small team, try interviewing individual members or organizing a roundtable with the entire team. For larger teams, it’s easiest to send out a survey — just leave room for unstructured feedback.
Remember to record your team’s feedback in the same spreadsheet you used in step two.
Armed with fresh, candid insight from your sellers, it’s finally time to crunch the numbers on your sales content.
Here, it’s important to focus only on the metrics that align with the goals you set for your audit in step one. While it’s possible measure just about anything in sales these days, the trick is knowing which metrics actually reflect your key business objectives.
If your goal is to increase usage among your reps, you might, for example, take a closer look at usage by content type, by rep, and by deal stage. But you wouldn’t obsess over page-by-page analytics or bottom of the funnel impact.
We use our link-based content management system to share and track content throughout the sales funnel. Unlike the old-fashioned email attachment, DocSend links allow us to monitor things like number of views, time spent, and completion rate, and, using our Salesforce integration, to measure business impact.
Here are some of the metrics we use to measure success:
Use the data from your analysis to establish a baseline for your audit. By setting data-driven benchmarks for performance, you can easily report on your progress toward hitting your goals during and at the end of each quarter.
Your content performance data, along with the feedback from your sellers, will also inform the content “gaps” you’ll identify next.
Conducting a content “gap” analysis is just what it sounds like. Your task is to find “gaps” in your library of content, gaps either in the buyer’s journey or gaps in performance.
Let’s start with identifying gaps in the buyer’s journey.
Aligning your content to the buyer’s journey
Sales content exists for one reason: To move prospects through the funnel. And, as buyers have become increasingly self-serve, it’s also become increasingly important to have full-funnel coverage for your sales content.
You can easily track your content’s funnel coverage using your audit spreadsheet. Start by assigning each piece of sales content to a stage in the funnel. If you didn’t already do so in step one, create a column for “Deal Stage.”
Here’s how you might map your content to the sales funnel, using ours own as an example:
The question you’ll want to answer here is, where are there gaps in funnel coverage? If you’re like most of us, you’ll have way more sales content created for some stages than for others, and it’ll be obvious what’s missing from your content library.
Keep in mind your sellers’ feedback from step three. Use their feedback, together with your analysis of the buyer’s journey, to create a list of content needed to fill those gaps.
Identifying underperforming sales content
The other part of your content “gap” analysis leverages your sales content performance data. And it’s focused on understanding how effectively your content’s driving business goals.
Using your analysis from step four, define your criteria for underperforming content, and identify the pieces that simply aren’t cutting it. You might, for example, flag content that’s been utilized by less than half of your sales team or has an average viewing time of less than one minute.
Remember, there’s no universal definition for high-performing sales content. How you define success will be relative and specific to your content, sales process, and goals.
But, if you’re looking for some guidance, there are data-driven benchmarks for when, where, and how prospects generally engage with sales content.
After you’ve completed your content “gap” analysis, all that’s left is to turn your audit into an actionable strategy.
The final step, as you may have already guessed, is to create your content plan.
By now, your spreadsheet should contain the following:
- Map of all your sales content
- Feedback from your sales team
- Analysis of sales content performance
- List of missing or underperforming content
You should walk away from this step (and your audit) having organized this spreadsheet into a list of projects. You’ll sort these projects by priority, size, and deadline.
If this sounds daunting, don’t worry — it’s just a matter of rearranging what’s already on your audit spreadsheet.
Specifying your action items
Start by reviewing your list of missing and/or underperforming content from step five. Are all of the items that you either want to revise or create listed on your spreadsheet?
Use the column called “Action” to capture what needs to done. We use the following labels: “Create,” “Update,” “Keep,” and “Retire.” Choose any labels that work for you.
Once you’ve assigned an action to each piece of content, filter your spreadsheet to show only the ones marked “Create” and “Update.” That way, you can see what’s left to do.
Sizing your content to-do list
Creating some pieces of content will take you more time than creating others. And knowing the size of each project will stop you from biting off more than you can chew.
Create another column called “Size.” If you practice gantt, scrum, or another project management framework, feel free to size your projects that way. We size our projects using number of days it’ll take to complete, e.g. 5 days, 10 days, 30 days.
By sizing your projects, you can easily estimate how much time it’ll take to complete all the tasks on your list. For most of us, that’ll be far more time than we have in any quarter.
And that’s where setting your content priorities comes to play.
Setting your content priorities
Prioritizing your tasks allows you to identify the projects that will have the greatest impact on the goals you set in step one.
Create one last column called “Priority,” and organize your list by how important you think each project is to achieving your goals. We use the following labels: “P0,” “P1”, and “P2.”
Once you’ve organized your action items by project size and priority, you should have a clear picture of everything that needs to get done. Use your priority and project size columns to pick the projects you’ll work on this quarter and in what order.
And, one last thing, remember to set deadlines – even tentative ones – for your projects. As they say, what gets measured gets done, and so does what gets assigned a deadline.
The secret to high-performing sales content
There’s only one way to know how your library of sales content actually impacts bottom-line outcomes. And that one way is – you guessed it – by conducting a sales content audit.
Auditing your sales content enables you to identify what’s working to drive results and what needs to be updated or shelved. More importantly, it enables you to optimize your sales content for things like prospect engagement, pipeline velocity, and content ROI.
But the real secret to high-performing sales content? Auditing your sales content regularly.
By auditing your sales content every year or, even better, every quarter, you can implement the kind of consistent improvements that’ll allow you to win and keep winning your prospects’ attention and business.