Today’s B2B revenue teams are likely still working from home, and by now, have transitioned to the all-virtual selling and customer communications environment. Sales and marketing teams — who used to rely on buyer feedback via real-time conversations in the boardroom, face-to-face coffee meetings, industry conferences, and client dinners — must now depend on data to understand what’s landing with customers and prospects, and what’s falling flat. And while data has long been an important source of buyer feedback, it’s even more critical today where buyer interactions are almost entirely online.
When we are finally able to return to interacting in person, this reliance on data won’t go away. In fact, B2B marketers and sellers will be required to not only have the know-how, but also the applications, tools and sources to distill and activate data at every stage of the buyer journey. Most organizations have long had access to data from top-of-funnel activity, but what about “last mile” data — the content, messaging and behaviors that your most successful reps are employing to close a deal?
For many organizations, that last mile is rife with “dark data,” or the information that either isn’t being captured or isn’t being analyzed. Because it’s invisible, it cannot be acted upon. An organization’s greatest repository of dark data is its sales and marketing content.
In these organizations, sellers revert to using their preferred pieces of content to try to close the deal, assuming the content that’s worked before has to work again. Marketers respond to ad hoc requests, creating content with little to no sense of whether it’s having its desired effect of helping close business. This environment isn’t conducive to revenue teams operating at peak efficiency or effectiveness.
Fortunately, there are ways to turn this “dark data” into actionable insights. Armed with intelligence from creation to close, businesses can make data-driven decisions that power them to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time — ultimately resulting in more wins.
For B2B revenue teams who want to be prepared for the next decade, or even the next year of sales and marketing, here is a 3-step approach to optimize revenue through harnessing the power of “dark data” in their sales and marketing efforts. Taking these steps will prove to be valuable for members across the organization, including marketing, enablement, sales and customer success.
Step 1: Shed light
Sales enablement platforms are purpose-built to shed light into previously dark “last mile” data. Look for ones that offer out-of-the-box reports tailored for critical roles including sales reps, sales leaders, content owners, and marketing leaders. They should include metrics and reports based on industry best practices, such as a content audit for a marketer to ensure content stays fresh, and generate data for sellers to see exactly what their prospects care about, providing a snapshot in time. Businesses that haven’t had this kind of data before can find it extremely valuable, and they can start gleaning these insights on Day 1.
Step 2: Make data-driven decisions
Once teams use data on a regular basis and begin to see the value of it, they quickly seek more sophisticated insights that can drive real-time decisions. At this stage, teams and individuals can create custom reports to answer questions unique to their role. For example, a marketer will want to compare content performance for a specific topic or asset type. Or a sales manager will want to drill into the most effective behaviors of her top sellers. This detailed and up-to-date information enables teams to pivot quickly to make tactical or strategic changes that bring tangible results.
Step 3: Optimize outcomes
Organizations will realize enormous performance and productivity improvements just within the first two steps. Many, however, opt to pair their content analytics with other data sets, such as CRM. This empowers teams to connect content to revenue. Here, teams can measure content-influenced revenue, optimize content used at each stage of a deal, and scale best practices of their winning reps across their entire company. Companies should anticipate the need to do some work to ready their systems, but they can make this easier on themselves by opting for platforms that have pre-built integrations and CRM-enhanced dashboards.
As B2B marketers and sellers continue to operate in an increasingly digital marketplace, having access to sophisticated, actionable content analytics from creation to close will allow revenue teams to operate at peak efficiency and effectiveness.