How to do a Sales Content Audit
Perform a Sales Content Audit to Streamline Your Sales Process
Did you know that the average B2B buyer consumes over 10 pieces of content before making a decision? So, I bet finding the right piece of content is standing between your sales team and new customers right now. And if your marketing collateral is a jumbled mess across many folders (like I usually see), your sales team is probably missing the content they need to convert a warm lead to a paying customer. Maybe you’ve even experienced that as the buyer. Really frustrating to get incorrect assets!
While you may think your sales team has everything they need to succeed, they might be busy spending time searching for assets your team spent hours (or days) making. Yikes. Plus, the content they do find may have outdated information that confuses customers and loses sales. A sales content audit can give you a clear view of what content you already have and what gaps need to be filled.
Source: FocusVision (2020)
Not sure where to start? No problem. I’ve put together a detailed content audit walkthrough, so your sales team can spend more time rocking it instead of searching for it!
Here’s what we’ll cover:
What Is a Sales Content Audit?
A sales content audit is a detailed review of every piece of your business’s sales content, whether it’s on your website or hidden deep in a Google Drive folder. The sales content audit focuses on assets that helps your sales team close deals. This is different from a content marketing audit that is really about driving new prospects to your site. Auditing your sales content makes sure your sales team is all set to support your prospects at any stage of the sales funnel.
Taking a deep dive into your sales content helps you focus on updating the highest impact content or creating new content where it’s needed most to improve the sales experience. For example, some pieces of content may be gathering dust, while others are overused or outdated. A sales content audit offers a zoomed-out view of the tools your sales team has to support their goals (like hitting quota) and helping prospects make a decision.
You already know that to provide the best customer experience and close more deals, it’s super important to have the right content at the right time to keep the conversation moving forward. Conducting a content audit can provide clarity on what assets your sales team needs to succeed, but before you begin it’s important to know what your sales team needs and to set goals before you start. So many teams miss this step, because they’re too buried in the weeds of content creation. So, take a moment, and ask for feedback.
Understanding Your Sales Team’s Needs
You’re likely already creating great content, so it makes sense to understand what tools will help your salespeople do their jobs easier or faster. It makes sense to work closely with not only your sales leaders, but also your top sales people to identify content that converts.
There’s no magic metric here. This is a subjective feedback step. Becaues of that, one of the best ways to reach your sales team is to send out (short) surveys (demand metric). Questions about content organization, conversion, and accuracy can offer valuable insight for your audit. You will also get feedback on where content is missing to cover different parts of the sales funnel.
Some questions to ask your sales team are:
- Are sales materials easy to find and well organized?
- What documents do you use most frequently?
- What materials lead to conversions?
- Which documents are outdated or incorrect?
- Which pieces of content have valuable information but don’t convert well?
- What materials do you typically send together?
- What questions do we need to answer with new content?
- Are there any gaps where new content would be useful to smooth the buyer’s journey?
Here’s a sales content audit survey template that you can use right now.
These questions offer a strong jumping-off point for brainstorming on what content your team needs. From there, you can work with your sales and marketing team to define goals for your content audit.
Setting Goals for Your Sales Content Audit
Establishing goals for your audit can help you focus on sales enablement and offering your sales team the best tools right when they need them. Learning where customers drop off or what industries don’t convert helps you create content that clicks with your audience. Always relate your audit goals to your core business goals to make sure an audit is a worthwhile use of resources (hint: it probably is). Sales content goals are often different from marketing content goals (like what you’d find in SEMRush), so your KPIs need to match the improvement you’d like to see with your sales team. At the best organizations, sales and marketing are going to work really closely on this, but sales will still use the assets in a different way (more downfunnel, less top of funnel).
One possible goal is improving conversions at every stage of the sales funnel. However, it’s important to note that tracking conversions with sales materials may be trickier if you don’t have preset tracking of email attachments within your CRM. Also, without some tools, tracking assets sent out over LinkedIn, other social channels, or regular email won’t contribute to your metrics. That can be the tricky part. Companies that have Content Camel in place, really like the automatic short URLs, so they can track metrics like shares and views. Knowing how your sales team is activating on the latest assets is a huge advantage when looking to make decisions on where to invest with your content dollars and time.
One great reason to perform a content audit is to improve content consistency and accuracy. By looking at every piece of content, you can prioritize correcting outdated information to diminish customer confusion and ensure customers know the most up-to-date details of your product or service. You could also focus on improving content for a specific part of the sales process where customer fall-off is high.
Getting clear on what would help your sales team succeed can help you define goals that will impact your bottom line and enable your sales team to thrive. Once your goals for performing an audit are clear, it’s time to start gathering your existing content for review.
Creating a Sales Content Inventory
Performing a successful content audit starts with taking an inventory of your sales collateral. Your sales team is using a wide variety of assets (all those ebooks, one-pagers, blog posts) to lead prospects through the funnel, so it’s important to review every piece of content your sales team can send your way. Most sales people have old assets squirreled away in their own drives, or have their own versions of deliverables they’ve cooked up. Those provide great insight into what might be working (and how off-brand stuff can be going out the door). If your marketing team already performs regular website audits, you can simplify part of the inventory process by requesting a list of marketing assets from their audit. If you’re doing this on your own, there are good crawling tools like ScreamingFrog to suck in all the pages on your site. A lot of sales enablement and product marketing teams overlook high performing blog posts that can be easily used in the sales process.
Many marketing content audits focus on public-facing content only, like blog posts and website content. However, the materials your sales team sends out (and uses internally, like decks and battlecards) may be overlooked in these reviews. So don’t expect the marketing content audit to cover everything you need.
Time to roll up your sleeves. 💪
When cataloging your content, it’s important to look in every folder available to your sales team for different types of marketing collateral. I work with many teams that are using a mix of Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Confluence, Sharepoint / Onedrive and any mix of those. Maybe Vimeo and Wistia too. You’ll find videos, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, battlecards, presentations, one-pagers, webinars, and more scattered around. While you’re noting content your sales team sends out, don’t forget to include internal documents like talking points or sales support documents in your sales content library.
Having a full view of the content tools your sales team has at their disposal can show you what assets need to be created, updated, or retired. This first step of your audit accounts for every piece of content that your sales team may use and allows you to evaluate their effectiveness during the audit.
Once you’ve located all your content, you’ll need to organize your content and use input from your sales survey to see what content is working. From there, you can get a comprehensive view of how your content is performing and find content gaps.
Organizing Your Existing Content
With your goals in mind, you can create a content map that details each piece of content including applicable funnel stage, personas / ideal customer profile, and vertical focus. A content map can help you see where a buyer’s journey is missing important information (eg mid funnel is missing great conversion content). With easy filtering in place, you’ll see at a glance which audiences are being underserved with your content or where you can consolidate content pieces for a smoother sales process.
If you’re just getting started, using a sales content inventory spreadsheet template can help you get started quickly with the content map, so you don’t have to figure out all the info you need to capture. Here’s some thoughts on using the template:
- Dig into each folder and area where content is stored. Get that listed in the template.
- Begin organizing your content by asset type. Check out each piece of content and create a category for blogs, webinars, ebooks, and so on.
- Now, update the funnel stage column for each piece. Update the industry it’s written for, the channel or sharing format, and the ideal audience.
- Finally, you can add in keywords to see more detail on the content and see any content overlaps.
One benefit of creating a content map is to see how your content works together to tell a story. Content can be grouped in your map to demonstrate how the customer moves through the conversion funnel. As you move on to further enable your sales team and as new sales hires start, you’ll have a reference point for describing your funnel with content.
Finally, as you review each piece of content, give each piece of content a score for effectiveness, correctness, use, conversion success, and other relevant factors for your business needs. These scores can help you determine which materials can be retired, which need to be redesigned to fit the current brand or product iteration, and which pieces are performing best. Interviewing your sales team about the content they use can help you score your content accurately.
Armed with this information, it’s time to set a go-forward strategy.
Reexamine Goals and Design Strategy
Once your template is complete, you’ll have all the information you need to begin designing a sales content strategy.
Take a look at the content you have already and review your goals. Where are the biggest areas for improvement? How can you fill the content gaps to ensure your prospect has all the information they need to make an informed decision? You should be examining your funnel from bottom to top, and prioritizing those areas that will have the biggest impact on conversion first.
Consider the feedback from your sales team to see what content they feel is most needed. From their feedback and the gaps identified in your content map, create a list of content that needs to be created or edited. Look at the scope of each project to determine what content projects have the highest priority.
Once you’ve set a priority list for your content, work with your communications team to create and update the content you need. Since you asked your team for feedback, be sure to keep them informed of the timeline of each content piece. This will make rollout and adoption much easier when the content is ready – it’s a step in the process that many teams don’t close the loop on.
Rollout Content and Train the Sales Team
In addition to determining your next content steps, you can use your content map to design intentional and effective content storage for all your sales enablement materials. Having all your content pulled into one location can really make sure each member of your team uses the most recently updated content. It’s critical to a streamlined and effective sales processes.
Rather than having your information spread across multiple folders, Dropbox, Google Drive accounts, and more, storing your newly-organized content in one place saves your sales team time. With easily-accessible new and updated content, your sales team can spend less time digging for the right marketing piece and more time with prospects. It ends a lot of the frustation sales and marketing teams have with messy drives and speeds the activation of the sales team on any launches you have, too.
Training your team on using your new content and storage structure can help them quickly find the content they need even when they’re on the phone with a customer. Storing talking points (positioning) and sales support documents in the same system as other marketing collateral makes sure your sales team is always prepared to answer questions for prospects anywhere in the funnel. Plus, when it comes time in the conversation to share a marketing resource, the best practice is to create custom URLs for each piece of content to help your sales team track performance!
I’ve found quarterly sales content refreshes with the sales team and all-together meetings around launches to be really effective with getting everyone up to speed.
But, ultimately, tracking the performance of content and making it more accessible to the sales team makes it easier to see which content pieces are performing (and what isn’t) and who on the sales team are your content champions. From here, you and your sales team can provide feedback to the communication team and reevaluate your content goals to increase sales success continuously. Feedback mechanisms like the sales content wishlist feature in Content Camel mean that feedback and updates are an easy, natural, continual process.
Track Content Success
Adding tracking information to content can offer the missing information on what content types and pieces contribute to conversions. Your CRM and outbound tools like Outreach and Salesloft do a great job tracking what links are clicked, but the common frustration is that this doesn’t provide any info on what content the sales teams is actually sending out (and what’s working for them).
Gathering information on what content the sales team sends out, what content links and attachments are clicked on by customers, and how long it takes the sales team to locate content can help you determine what’s working. With all this information available to you, you can keep improving your processes and capitalize on the parts of your sales process that work best (and where conversion pitfalls are).
It’s easy to see what new goals to prioritize in creating new content and improving the existing content delivery systems. You’ll be able to track which pieces are the most relevant, which contribute most to successful sales, and which pieces fall flat with customers. With capabilities like Content Camel’s sales leaderboards by content sharing, you’ll know who on the team are your content champions activating on the latest content. We’ve seen that companies that reduce the time to marketing asset activiation (especially around launches), hit their sales goals significantly faster by reducing ramp time.
Keep Improving Your Sales Content
Creating a sales content audit is not a one and done task. Don’t just shelve that spreadsheet! While categorizing your content may not be as time-intensive in the future, you need to maintain your organizational structure to make an audit successful in the long run.
Updating your sales content inventory with each new or edited piece of content is only part of the challenge. Delivering content to the sales team, training them to use it, and removing irrelevant content are all ongoing activities necessary to ensure your sales team’s continuing success. Regularly requesting feedback from your sales team can help you stay on track and know which content would maximize sales enablement moving forward.
If you’re ready to tackle a sales audit and need a new sales content storage solution, Content Camel is the perfect tool for you. We’ve designed it to be easy to roll out, keep your content inventory up to date, and generate the tracking information you need to make decisions. Sign up for a free trial today and see how easy we can make managing and tracking your sales content!