At the top of the funnel, marketers obsess over attracting, capturing, and handing off qualified leads. At the bottom of the funnel, sellers fixate over deals won and revenue attained.
But what about the middle of the funnel? It’s easily the most ignored – but, arguably, the most important – stage in any sales pipeline.
The middle of the funnel is where relationships with prospects are built, and where reps learn what obstacles need to be overcome. It’s also where those relationships have the potential to turn into sales opportunities and, eventually, into deals won.
Despite this, we give the middle of the funnel very little attention. But it’s time that organizations recognized the middle of the funnel and its optimization as an opportunity for business growth.
Why the Middle of the Funnel Matters
Driving prospects to purchase has never been harder.
All of these interactions in the middle of the funnel have become critical to today’s sales outcomes. From hosting demos to sending collateral, sales reps are building relationships with prospects across multiple digital touchpoints.
What’s more, as the sales process becomes more complex, new demands on sales and marketing emerge, specifically as it relates to using content to drive conversions.
For sales and marketing leaders, this means only one thing: It’s time to apply the same data-driven rigor expected elsewhere in business to the middle of the funnel.
Building a data-driven pipeline with sales content analytics
Just as data revolutionized marketing, data has transformed the art and science of sales. The challenge facing sales leaders now is identifying the right metrics that reflect the right outcomes.
In the middle of the funnel, the right outcome often takes one of three forms: An email, a phone call, or a meeting. And the key to achieving these outcomes? High-performing sales content.
Sales content – from product overviews to case studies – has long been a tool that sales reps have leveraged to keep prospects engaged and to drive deals forward.
Indeed, companies now invest over $12 billion annually in sales enablement tools, including tools that help marketers and sellers produce more sales content.
But how can sales leaders leverage data about sales content to drive bottom-line impact?
They can start by aligning sales and marketing around sales content performance. If organizations want to drive efficiency in the middle of the funnel, they need to invest in both the tools and the methods for tracking, measuring, and optimizing their sales content.
The crucial first step? Determining what metrics actually indicate success in the middle of the funnel. Then sales leaders need to formulate actionable strategies for driving towards these metrics and achieving higher velocity pipelines.
That’s easier said than done, though – and this is exactly where sales content benchmarks come into the picture.
Sales content benchmarks you need to know
A new study from DocSend provides much-needed insight into how sales content can be used to drive a more efficient sales process. And the findings make it incredibly easy to finally connect sales content to business outcomes.
Our report, From Strategy to Execution: 6 Sales Content Benchmarks Every Business Needs, analyzes over 34 million interactions with sales content on our platform. Taken together, these interactions give sales leaders a detailed look at when, where, and how prospects consume content during the sales process.
In the report, we distill our findings into six sales content benchmarks that every sales and marketing leader needs to know in order to kick off this process.
Here, we’ll share two that you can use to start optimizing your sales content today.
1. Prospects still love one type of sales content way more than others.
When prioritizing your sales content, keep one thing in mind: Prospects still love one type way more than others. And it’s the tried and true case study.
Our data revealed that case studies routinely outperform other types of sales content in terms of completion rate. Case studies boast an average completion rate of 83%. That means that, of all prospects who have ever viewed a case study on DocSend, 83% read the entire thing.
What does this mean for you?
Use your own sales content insights to see what’s working for your team, and double down on those content types before creating others. Remember, you don’t need to do it all – just what’s actually moving deals forward.
2. There is a magic length for your next piece of sales content.
There’s no magic formula for creating high-performing sales content. But, turns out, there is a magic length for sales content with higher completion rates, and it’s 2-5 pages in total.
(We threw out one-pagers, since the completion rate for one-pagers is, obviously, 100%).
It can be tempting to share everything about your product with prospects all at once. Yet, like most of us, prospects also find that it’s easier to consume content in pieces, and it’s reflected in the higher completion rate for shorter pieces of content.
What does this mean for you?
Do your best to observe the recommended length, and focus on conveying your most important points within those 2-5 pages. If you practice account-based sales, use what you know about your prospect and target account to refine your content.
Own optimization at the middle of the funnel
If businesses want to optimize for sales efficiency, it’s high time they paid attention to the middle of the funnel, and built a data-driven pipeline that starts with sales content performance.
By clear establishing metrics for success and the methods needed to track it, sales leaders can leverage sales content analytics to drive prospect engagement, increase productivity, and stay focused on bottom-line outcomes.
With the right long-term approach to leveraging sales content, organizations can finally optimize the middle of the funnel and turn a huge blind spot into an opportunity to win more business.
Want more insights like this? Access the full report and start building a more efficient sales process today!
In this guide, you’ll learn the 6 sales content benchmarks every business needs with insights from over 34 million interactions with sales content. Plus you’ll learn how to:
- Identify the sales enablement KPI your marketing team should be tracking
- Build a more efficient sales process
- See which sales content is more likely to convert
- Maintain lead velocity with the right content
Ready to get started? Download the report here.
*Note that by downloading this guide, you are agreeing to share your information with OpenView.