Tell me if you’ve heard this before – “Which of our 1200 sequences should our new SDRs focus on using?” or “Who’s job is it to make an updated version of last year’s cadences?” what about “How do we know when a sequence is good enough to share with the whole team?”.
If you’ve heard any of these – or other challenges surrounding the content governance in your sales engagement platform – this article is for you.
Content governance is one of those topics that get lots of theory and little application (or often any consideration at all). Unfortunately for that, managing the content and the workflow, is central to capturing the promise of sales engagement. Without a consistent practice of content governance, your team will lack the ability to identify, prioritize, create, organize and optimize sequences across the organization. Whether you end up using outdated sequences or prioritize low-performing sequences, your team won’t be aligned on your needs, wins, and losses.
Keep reading to learn how to establish your own content governance process.
What is Content Governance?
Content governance is the process of ensuring your team is seamlessly using the best content for every sales interaction. You’ll need to create a content governance committee, centralized best practices, and no shortage of creative problem-solving. A thoughtful content governance program includes:
- Sequence/cadence requests and prioritization
- Routing and segmentation
- Creation and approval
- Testing and organization
- Tracking and optimization
Content governance requires a team effort and committees can help to lead from the trenches. Most content committees are specific to the sequence workflow (ie AE vs SDR vs CSM) but they are also collaborative across depts – (content marketing, sales development, sales ops, etc.).
The best committees typically operate with 5-7 people. The titles of those involved vary from company to company, but the team must have the authority to make decisions on behalf of sales and marketing. Options include your top-performing rep, rep manager, top-performing AE/AM, product marketer, sales executive sponsor, etc.
Building a Content Governance Process
Requests and Prioritization
When a sales sequence is needed, it’s all too common for an individual to take on that challenge. At first glance, this appears to be a positive occurrence; we love folks who take initiative. But the long-term effects can derail a sales engagement strategy. You’ll find yourself running dozens of outdated sequences, most of which don’t follow best practices. Your team will end up doubling their efforts, creating multiple sequences for the same persona. In short, things get messy, not to mention a loss or dispersion of the data on what performs best.
This is why the first stage of content governance is to create a streamlined process to request and prioritize sequence creation. Create a benchmark that reflects the typical bandwidth of your sequence creation team; for example, perhaps your team has the resources to create 10 new sequences each month and each sequence can be completed within 3 weeks’ time. Communicate these limitations with your team. From there, reps, managers, and your demand gen teams should populate sequence requests that land in a queue based on personas, products, segments, use cases, etc. Once a queue is established, managers should prioritize requests and assign which sequences get created for that month, and the process continues.
Routing and Segmentation
Optimization is driven by thoughtful segmentation. From shifting tone to selecting channels, utilize segmentation to reflect the needs of your buyer. Some factors to consider in segmentation include :
- Lead tier (high-priority, mid-priority, etc.)
- Workflow (inbound, outbound, expansion, etc.)
- Inbound source
- Role (SDR, AE, CSM)
- Current Customer (Yes or no)
- Persona (VP of IT, Dir of Marketing, etc.)
- Industry (Manufacturing, software, etc.)
- Market Segment (SMB, Mid-market, Enterprise)
Creation + Approval
The key to creating sequences that convert is cross-departmental collaboration. You need the weigh-in of industry experts and specialized roles to truly understand bottlenecks in your content process. Here’s how to utilize your team to create an environment of content governance:
- Your content or product marketing team typically should create new messaging and plug it into an existing sequence architecture.
- Your sequence committee (typically made up of sales reps and SDRs), reviews newly created sequences and provides either edits or approval.
- From there, your operations or enablemnet team uploads the approved sequences into your sales engagement platform and flags them for testing.
Testing + Organization
High Performing sequences are proven before they are promulgated; integrating best practices for testing is key for your success. Below is my recommended workflow to test campaigns before fully launching them into your approach.
Step 1 – Assign the new sequence to top reps for testing
Step 2 – Top reps use the new sequence for 2-4 weeks
Step 3 – Manager reports back on the test results
Step 4 – The sequence either passes the testing thresholds or is sent back for optimization
Step 5 – Sequence Team canonizes and tags new best performing sequences post-testing for full teams roll-out.
Tracking and optimization
Optimization doesn’t stop after the initial performance review. High-performing sequences are the product of interactive tests and tweaks. Optimization is an ongoing process and regular review is required:
- Within your content governance committee, the team will flag any sequence that falls below performance benchmarks and any sequences that are no longer relevant (ie seasonal, etc).
- Once identified, flagged sequences either undergo optimization or are archived.
- New sequences are prioritized for creation by historical performance and segment gaps
- Quarterly analysis shows market trends and updated learning that get built into the new standards
Remember, an established feedback loop with reps and management focuses on throughput, quality, and efficiency of results.
Who, When, How Fast?
The best teams adopt and manage against Committee SLAs and leverage a cleansing rhythm to keep their instances organized and clean. Establish contextual benchmarks that work for your organization. Allow yourself to move quickly and efficiently by having defined processes and principles.
At Sapper, we recommended the following, but keep in mind each company and audience has unique needs.
- Bring value
- Be problem-centric, not product-centric
- Build off of each touch
- Be appropriately persistent
- Break myths through testing
- Priority sequences must have at least 20% manual steps
- Prospecting sequences must have a minimum of 10 steps
- Diversify sequence touches with direct, general, and ‘non-ask’ touches
- Never add more than 5 contacts at an account to a single cadence at one time
- Tone – create examples of acceptable variation when it comes to tone
- Pace- specify the acceptable variation when it comes to the timing of steps
- Channels – specify the acceptable variation with interchanging channels
Content governance provides the necessary maintenance to enhance your campaign. While creating a content governance protocol is completely doable, it takes longer to go alone. Leverage our experience to help accelerate your revenue engine: build pipeline faster, close deals more often, and win more expansions. To connect with me, click here.