a man's hand breaking water

Something about your content management system (CMS) is off.

It's not easy to find content on it, even when it's been recently added.

It doesn’t seem to, well, do what it is supposed to do — which is ultimately drive revenue.

Sometimes, although you hate to admit this, your CMS is more apt to get in your way than help you.

Something is wrong. You know this in your gut. Your sales and marketing people complain about it, too.

More Than a Feeling

Now, thanks to a new survey from sales execution company Qvidian, there's proof — hard data from your peers that backs up those vague, nagging thoughts that something is amiss.

Those survey results can be found in Qvidian's just released Content Automation Trends Report. It queried companies on their use of sales content, how it impacts company growth and the way reps sell.

The results were not pretty.

But first, a word about why Qvidian was so interested in this topic.

"We had this sense that a lot of companies were struggling with disconnects in their content management systems, but there wasn’t any hard data to back it up," Amanda Wilson, director of marketing at Qvidian told CMSWire. "When we got the results, we kept saying amongst ourselves, 'see, I knew it.'"

The report is interesting because it confirms that many CMSs do not operate in peak mode— or even at the bare minimum. And it also pinpoints exactly where they are breaking down.

Content management, of course, is a multi-step process stretching across creation, access and delivery. As it turns out, there are common weaknesses in most of these stages.

A Big Disconnect

For example, access to the system: Not only is it broken, but it's broken big time, according to the survey.

Content is a key asset in a selling strategy, confirmed 78 percent of survey respondents. Yet more than 83 percent told the researchers they have trouble easily accessing related content in a selling situation.

Only 17 percent say it’s easy for sales reps to locate relevant messaging and content they need in each selling situations.

This data point alone is the money shot. After all, if a rep can’t easily access content — content that costs serious money to generate — it's game over.

'It Takes a Village'

The survey highlighted the care companies put into their content creation.

The majority of respondents indicated more than three people manage content creation and distribution. In the case of 17 percent of the respondents, 20 or more people play a major hand in the process.

This is understandable and even smart — provided there is a clear process for organizing and tracking the content created.

It "takes a village to handle the ongoing and ever-fluid complexity, communication, and synchronization of content creation and management," the report noted.

But despite the number of hands touching the content, something is still off.

More than 75 percent of survey respondents said the frequency of reviewing and updating sales content is only somewhat, not very or not at all sufficient.

Moreover, 49 percent said their data and content in sales assets is only somewhat accurate. Nearly the same percentage (48 percent) said content is reviewed and updated on an as-needed basis.

OK, What About Solutions?

Remember that content management is, as noted above, a multi-step process.

Focusing on fixing broken points in your CMS using those stages in the process as a guide, Wilson suggested. "We think about content management automation in four categories," she said. "Access, assembly, delivery and measurement."

The "automation" component is also important, she added. "You want to ask yourself, how can sales reps use and assemble content without having to re-create the wheel each and every time and still be able to put together content tailored to a specific client."

"These are not static documents."

Other advice can be found throughout the report.

Those three to 20 people who are involved in content creation, for example? A manager looking over this process might want to ask himself what exactly determines a content refresh need and more importantly, is anyone ever notified of the update?

As this process overhaul gets underway, it is also helps to keep the big picture in mind.

"Increased win rates are possible when, and only when, your sales teams stop selling for the sake of selling, and start selling to create real added value for each distinctive buyer," the report concluded. 

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Title image by Petras Gagilas.