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Content fuels sales. Whether you use it to attract inbound leads, push it to targeted audiences, or make use of it to enable your sales reps to close deals faster, content is the new currency. But you won’t go as far with content that’s not immediately useful to your target audience or, worse, content that’s attracting the wrong leads, the leads that waste your sales team’s time. That’s why you need a data-driven content strategy that’s not based solely on assumptions.
Now, what if I told you that your CRM contains more insights about the next move in your content strategy than any online resource? By taking a closer look at all the deals that closed (and those that didn’t), it’s possible to identify patterns that will guide your content strategy.
Assuming that you’ve gathered the right data in the first place and that you’ve taken steps to acquire any missing intel, here’s what you should know about your best customers as a SaaS business:
- How they consume content
- What their technology ecosystem looks like
- What is their company size, revenue, funding, etc.
Let’s look at how this information can be leveraged to steer your content strategy going forward.
Analyze content consumption to find patterns
If you commit to producing a lot of content, individual pieces won’t be helpful in telling the whole story of what’s going on; there will simply be too much noise. But if you group content metrics by campaign, topic, or format, it will make it much easier to attribute conversions and find out what’s working.
What matters in terms of content consumption is:
- What content got your best opportunities through the door.
- What kept them engaged throughout the buying cycle.
- What pushed them past the finish line / enabled your sales team to close.
But what if your CRM does not contain the right data to perform such analysis? First, you need the right technology in place to capture content consumption, whether it is a content marketing software or a marketing automation platform that does more than count page views. Then, you need to modelize the data in your CRM in a way that’s actionable for your demand generation team.
What some of the savviest Uberflip customers do to attribute sales to content is to populate properties in their marketing automation system whenever a prospect engages with a piece of content, even when no form has been filled out. This allows them to take into consideration not only form conversions in their attribution model, but how a group of assets contributed to the ultimate conversion goal.
Understand how you fit into your customers’ technology ecosystem
Competitive intelligence tools are not only useful to spy on prospects and competitors, they can also bring you closer to your customers. For a SaaS business, knowing what other tools your best customers are using helps you better understand how your solution fits within their stack.
Once you get a better sense of where your ideal customers are putting their dollars with the help of third party data, you can seek out co-marketing opportunities with non-competitive technology vendors and access lookalike audiences to market your product for free.
If you have experience using the same tools as many of your customers, you can also create helpful resources around these tools knowing that your audience will find them relevant.
Lastly, you can create product-related content about how to use your solution in tandem with other tools that your best customers are using.
Leverage account-level data to adapt your approach
Is your blog reader the sole member of their finance, marketing, or sales unit? Or are they more likely to work for a massive organization where very specific functions are owned by different individuals?
Depending on the answer, you’ll know whether to produce content around a niche subject to serve readers in specialized roles or to publish about a variety of topics that cater to readers who wear many hats as employees of a startup.
The problem with asking for account-based information in a form is that depending on their position, prospects might have no clue how much revenue their company brings in or how much funding they’ve raised so far. That’s why I recommend using a third party provider that will gather that data from trusted sources and remove all the guessing from the equation.
From there, you can query your customer database in search of similarities between your closed opportunities and adapt your approach to the types of organizations where your end users work at.
To summarize… your CRM is a source of valuable insights that you can mine to create more targeted content based on data about your existing customers, the content they consume, the techs they use and the characteristics of the organizations where they work.
It’s important to make sure you:
- Capture the right data through the right software
- Acquire the data that’s missing to tell the full story (you can go a long way with just a work email address!)
- Organize your data to make it actionable
From there, you can rest assured that your insights are grounded in good data and start making decisions about the direction of your content strategy with confidence.
Francois Mathieu is the Marketing Programs Manager at Uberflip, a content automation platform that allows marketers to manage content, place contextual calls-to-action, and measure performance. Before becoming a startup marketer, Francois worked in the banking industry where he specialized in the fields of market intelligence and customer data analysis.
About the Author
Sam is the director of marketing at Datanyze. He's a big John Hughes fan who occasionally fills the DZ office with the sweet sweet sounds of 90s rock giant, Creed.Follow on Twitter More Content by Sam Laber