Why do you care about performing a sales content audit?
Are your customer-facing teams saying any of these things?
- I need content for a prospect about
- I just spent 20 minutes looking for something about
- Where the heck is the pitch deck
- Are these the latest slides
If you have ever worked in Enablement or Sales, you have heard these questions far too many times — and keeping up with sales content can be a challenge.
While there are dozens of tactical solutions, you will only know the proper steps to take and in what order if you first perform a sales content audit.
In this article, we will take the time to:
- Provide a high-level explanation of a sales content audit
- Provide a process you can use to perform your audits
That’s it; let’s dive in.
What is a sales content audit?
A sales content audit is the process to identify all sales-related content for effectiveness, utilization, and compliance to provide sellers with the suitable set of content required to achieve their sales targets.
What is the sales content audit process?
Sales content audits are not rocket science — the process is straightforward.
The process, at a high level, is:
- Clarify the business goals you are trying to impact
- Interview sales, marketing, and other key stakeholders
- Leverage data from existing systems
- Document relevant content in a manner that supports decision-making
- Baseline current impact on business goals
- Identify content gaps
- Create a plan to correct the critical gaps
In the rest of this section, I will go through each area in detail.
Clarify the business goals you are trying to impact
These are always your north star.
If you have built your Enablement strategy as recommended, are reviewing it with your sales champions and advisory board quarterly, you have probably already done this.
To review, however, the key points.
- Start with your executive team. What are the business goals for the quarter, the year, and why were these goals selected?
- Review these with the head of each revenue team (e.g., sales, marketing, customer success) – are they aligned on the goals?
- Review with the front-line managers – hopefully, their goals map back to the above.
This process could be time-consuming as often the goals from the top are not perfectly aligned with those further down in the organization.
Taking this time to do it well will lead to clarity in the organization and better results from the content audit.
How do you begin these conversations?
I recommend the following fundamental questions to start the conversation:
- What goals are you responsible for achieving — try to define what they are bonused upon to get to the heart of what they most care about
- What are your biggest challenges in achieving these goals — you want to uncover challenges you can help them overcome
- In your opinion, how do your goals map back to the broader business goals — do they know
Your purpose is to uncover their pain and challenges, understand how well you are currently helping them via content, and how you may assist them overall.
Interview sales, marketing, and other key stakeholders
Your goal for this step is to understand perceived content needs and gaps from all stakeholders.
Let’s review the typical interview questions.
Our goal is to understand, for each primary role, how well our content, and our content systems, support them in achieving their goals.
Primary Content Roles
These are the primary content-related roles and the questions we will use to interview each of them.
We will always ask every person interviewed the following questions in addition to the role-specific questions below.
I recommend the following fundamental questions to start the conversation:
- What goals are you responsible for achieving — try to determine what they are bonused upon to get to the heart of what they most care about?
- What are your biggest challenges in achieving these goals — you want to uncover challenges you can help them overcome?
- In your opinion, how do your goals map back to the broader business goals — do they know?
- How is the sales team compensated — are all aware and working towards the same goals?
Content administrators are responsible for uploading and updating content, maintaining overall content structure, permissions, and access, and may be responsible for reporting.
Content administrators should be asked:
- What are your primary responsibilities with regard to sales content?
- How much time per week/month/quarter do you spend on each of these areas of responsibility?
- What types of work requests are most often coming to you in an ad hoc, unplanned fashion?
- Beyond the unplanned work, where are the largest pain points in your role; the tasks that are either most time-consuming or just most unpleasant?
These are the people creating and curating content for your customer-facing teammates.
Here are the questions to ask your content producers
- How do you determine what to work on each day/week/month/quarter?
- What percentage of your content is used?
- How much does your content contribute to closing business — and how much have you generated in terms of attribution to deals?
These are your customer-facing teammates who are searching for, personalizing, and sharing content with your prospects and customers.
Here are the questions to ask your content consumers.
- Where do you find the content you use?
- How long does it typically take to find the content you want to use?
- How much time would you estimate you spend weekly looking for content?
- How often do you give up and create something new?
- When you create something new is it because you cannot find something or you need to personalize a deck?
- How much time would you estimate you spend weekly creating new content?
- What content do you use all the time?
- Are there content pieces that could help you close more business if you had them now?
- Is there any content you avoid altogether because it’s off-brand or just plain wrong?
- Have you had any wins due to great pieces of content?
Leverage data from existing systems
Now that you understand what people think about the sales content, it’s time for your sales content audit to dive into the data.
I don’t know your systems, but I can provide this overarching guidance regarding what you are looking to uncover.
- What content is the team using
- What stage of the sales cycle is content used
- What vertical, industry, and persona are the assets used for
- What content is never used
- Can you tie the usage of content to closed deals and assign an attribution value
- What is the cost of each piece of content
Document relevant content in a manner that supports decision-making
Great, we now have a lot of data from our systems and the interviews above.
Begin to map this information against the buyer journey of your various customers.
As you go through this exercise:
- Where in the journey each piece of content is used
- The cost of creating that content
- The value of its usage, and so forth.
Whether you build this in a spreadsheet or on a whiteboard, ensure it provides you with the picture you can understand and use to communicate to others.
Baseline current impact on business goals
If you followed the steps outlined above, you are in great shape as you should understand the impact on each deal of your sales content.
Add it up and determine the total impact.
Identify content gaps
With the work you have already done, you should also have a clear picture of what is underperforming and what is never used.
Compile this gap analysis and include the following for each missing piece:
- Sales stage
Your sales content audit has provided you with deep insights already; what’s next?
Create a plan to correct the critical gaps
Oh, yeah, that’s what this was all about.
Your sales content audit was not just a journey of discovery; it’s part of your continuous improvement efforts.
With your key stakeholders and leadership team, estimate the cost to create each asset and the potential revenue value of closing this gap.
Do some simple math to identify the potential ROI, sort that list, and.
Voila — you have your prioritized list.
Review this with your stakeholders, adjust priorities as required based upon their feedback, and put your plan in action to start closing these gaps.
How often should you perform a sales content audit?
Doing this once is good but not even close to enough.
My recommendation is that you perform a quarterly sales content audit if possible. If not possible, at least do this once or twice a year.
Estimate your wasted investment in sales content
On average, 65% of sales content is never used by your sales team.
Given this, plug in your total amount of content, your best guess for how much you spend per piece of content, and you can see how much of your investment is currently being wasted.
Now, before you celebrate how much money you can save, consider this.
Most organizations will reinvest 90% of the cost savings into closing the content gaps. This means that you can still demonstrate a cost savings while also being able to invest in positively impacting new revenue.
Now that is a win-win.