Are You Getting Sales Insights From Your Product Content
Until recently, product content was viewed primarily, if not exclusively, as an information tool. As such, it was deemed successful when it clearly, concisely, and completely conveyed facts that customers needed or wanted to know. In this sense, the message was a lecture instead of a conversation — and this was perfectly acceptable. In fact, it was required.
However, changing customer attitudes and expectations, along with technological advancements and innovations, have categorically altered the paradigm. Now, product content has the capacity to be more than an unidirectional information tool. Instead, it can be (and arguably should and must be) a source of rich data from which companies can generate valuable insights that drive customer engagement and increase sales.
A Lesson from Marketing Analytics
If this approach sounds familiar, it is because the effectiveness of content isn’t’ new. Online marketers have been doing this (with varying degrees of success) for several years, and the more recent emphasis on inbound marketing is driven, ironically, by something that customers never actually see: an expanding universe of back-end analytics that, as CMO.com notes, can be used to track engagement, leads, conversions, revenue, acquisition costs, lifetime value, and even, the “virality” of content.
However, the metrics noted above refer to marketing content – which, while customer-facing, is categorically different from product documentation. As such, companies need to make adjustments so they are generating actionable intelligence.
Actionable Intelligence from Product Documentation
And so based on the above, what qualifies as actionable intelligence in a product documentation context? That is, what questions should companies be asking of their product documentation so that they become functional components of the sales cycle?
Essentially, there are 3 insights that go beyond the conventional “X number of downloads” or “X # of page views” (which are almost certainly already being tracked as part general webmaster housekeeping): what customers like, want and expect.
- What Customers Like
Companies can use sophisticated customer-content behavior analytics to glean which features and product issues are of interest and importance to their customers. In addition to improving product content quality, this insight can be leveraged to improve existing sales tactics, and used to develop future sales strategies, programs and training.
- What Customers Want
Companies can track individual customer content interest to identify sales and upselling opportunities. For example, instead of waiting (and hoping) that a customer will call or email to learn more about a new product’s features, sales professionals can automatically detect a level of engagement and proactively reach out with personalized communications. What’s more, instead of coming across as aggressive, sales professionals are perceived as helpful – which further increases the chances of deepening an existing relationship and increasing lifetime customer value.
- What Customers Expect
As noted by McKinsey & Company, the 3 C’s of customer satisfaction before and after the sale are: consistency, consistency and consistency. Companies can use analytics to track product documentation engagement across all channels, and ensure that high quality content is consistently distributed – and low quality content is quickly improved or replaced.
The Bottom Line
We’ve left behind the Information Age, and entered the Insight Age –because today’s companies have plenty of the former, but can never get enough of the latter. Simply put, with the right analytics solution – i.e. one that is specifically designed for product content and technical writers, and not marketing content and copywriters – companies can generate actionable insights to impress customers, increase sales and improve the bottom-line.