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Content Mapping: How Content Creates A Path To Sales Success

  • Written by Brandi Eppolito, Spiceworks
  • Published in Demanding Views

brandi eppolitoIf you’re in content marketing or sales enablement, you may have heard the somewhat terrifying stat that nearly 70% of content doesn’t get used by the sales team. That’s right — more than two-thirds of content created by your marcom team isn’t being leveraged by those in your organization with a direct connection to the customer.

Given the time, money and creative energy that goes into creating assets — whether it be an infographic, white paper, or blog post — we wanted to find a way to ensure our best content is being leveraged during the process of building and growing client relationships.

Not long after starting at Spiceworks, I was tasked with sorting through our library of marketing content to determine which pieces should be included in a new product-focused email series. 

While we’ve had a persona-based nurture stream for some time now, that series of emails is targeted to prospects near the top of the funnel. The new product-focused series is designed to pick up where the persona-based nurture series leaves off. It will kick off when a prospect has reached 50% of an opportunity, a sales stage we’ve defined when a prospect understands how we can help and has expressed interest in some of our specific products. 

My goal was to determine which pieces of content would be most valuable in the conversion process as marketers learn more about our products. As I thought about the ways I might sort a list of 100+ content pieces into nine separate product-focused email streams, it came to me: Let’s get physical!

The Method Behind The Madness

First, I sent a list of all of the content pieces to the product managers and demand gen teams. Each stakeholder was assigned 10 content pieces to revisit and answer the three following questions:

  1. To which product group does the content piece most closely align?
  2. Should we use the content piece as is, lose it completely, or update it?
  3. Which point of the buyer’s journey (as per Smart Insight’s content marketing matrix template) does it best address: educate, inspire, entertain, or convince?

After the sorting was done, I printed out the title of every content piece that was assigned a “use” or “refresh” status and sorted these by product group. 

Next, we held an all-hands meeting with the product managers and demand gen team where I quickly explained the task at hand and split up the attendees into pairs.

Each pair was given the associated content pieces for two different product groups and asked to pare them down to the top 10 most impactful pieces. From there, they were asked to pick the order in which the content should be served to create the most compelling story. 

To help with the sorting process, we physically taped and sorted printouts of the pieces so it was visible and obvious where there were gaps in content and where we’d need to narrow down the selection. Each group was also given some blank paper for creating new content ideas/pieces. No reason to waste all of that brainstorming and creativity by limiting yourself only to existing content!

Why did we decide to sort the content pieces manually?

There were a few reasons. First of all, I firmly believe it gets your energy flowing to get out of your office chair and move around. More importantly, though, the physical sorting was designed to allow us to efficiently sort 100+ content pieces with multiple stakeholders providing input.

While we could have simply sat around a conference room table spinning our wheels (and chairs), going back and forth about the merits and deficiencies of each piece, that would likely have been unproductive and — frankly — boring.

Instead, we got up out of our chairs, split into groups small enough to allow for healthy debate and thorough discussions, and accomplished our sorting goals within the allotted one-hour time frame.

After the meeting, I compiled the newly determined content flow for our product-focused email series and shared it with the team. I think we were all a bit relieved at how effective the process was, and more importantly, we’re all able to rest a bit easier knowing our content would be getting used to its fullest potential and in front of the right eyes.

Brandi Eppolito is the Content Marketing Manager at Spiceworks, a professional network for the IT industry.