How productive could a sales rep be if they knew exactly when each deal would close?
Predicting how quickly a sales opportunity will close is always difficult for a rep – and doubly so in today’s economic conditions. But knowing the time frame in which a deal is likely to close gives your team better revenue forecasting and gives confidence to the entire sales team.
The key to forecasting when sales opportunities will close lies in data that your team is likely ignoring or not capturing: prospect content engagement. In this piece we’ll outline what content engagement is, why you need to be tracking it, and how to best use it to forecast revenue.
What your prospect isn't telling you
If you’ve got a better idea of if and when a deal will close, you can focus your efforts on the most promising opportunities, allocate your resources more effectively, and improve the overall performance of your sales team. But, what’s wrong with the metrics you’ve been looking at?
There are a number of other metrics that you might be using to predict outcomes of deals, like open rates or click through rates. While these metrics can provide some insights into a prospect’s level of engagement, they require such little effort that they don’t necessarily indicate how quickly a deal is going to close. An opened email doesn’t always mean they’re thinking about you and this gives you little insight as to how quickly they’re looking to move through the sales cycle.
Meeting your prospect face to face doesn’t help much either. According to Gartner, during a buyer’s journey, only about 17% of time is spent meeting face to face. That number can drop even further to 5% depending on how many opportunities your prospect is evaluating (Gartner). This means that 83 to 95% of the buyer’s journey is happening without you there. Face to face interactions provide valuable nonverbal cues and feedback that are not always present, even in virtual communication like emails, making it increasingly difficult to predict what your prospect will do next and hard to determine when the deal will close.
So why is content engagement the best metric for this?
Why Prospect Content Engagement Is a Leading Indicator
Looking at the analytics of how your prospect is interacting with the content you’ve sent them can provide valuable insights that can help you understand how quickly they are going to close. Understanding the kinds of content they’ve interacted with and the amount of time they’ve spent on your brand material can give you a ton of insights:
- Level of Interest: Consistent engagement with your content is an obvious sign that they are thinking about you and actively considering your opportunity. Continued engagement can tell you that this is still an active prospect and they are working on making a decision
- Specific Pain Points: The specific content they are engaging with can also provide you with information about what is most important to them. For example, long periods of time spent on pricing pages could tell you that pricing is a big deal for them and has a lot of influence over their decision – allowing you to build a case for ROI more effectively
- Scheduling Data: Analytics on engagement might also be able to show you when this deal is being discussed the most. For example, if content is often viewed on Thursdays at 10 am, there is likely a meeting happening at this time where your opportunity is being discussed. Use these schedule patterns to send content at the best time to stay top of mind and give information when it is most relevant to them
A study from Gartner shows that prospects who found sales content to be helpful in the decision making process, were 2.8 times more likely to buy quickly (Gartner). If we assume that helpful content equals high engagement, then this means that sharing helpful content with a prospect that is getting high engagement can close a deal nearly 3 times faster.
Now let’s take a look at how we can find these analytics and how they can be used to predict the timeline of a deal.
Optimize Your Pipeline
Having all these analytics can be really positive, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t guarantee that a deal will be won. A prospect with a high level of content engagement shows they are close to making a decision, but this doesn’t guarantee it will be in your favor. Having these insights can still be beneficial when it comes to prioritizing efforts and working towards closing deals faster, which is still better than not knowing at all and potentially wasting resources on unqualified leads or missed opportunities.
Leveraging these insights can lead to a lot of benefits, including better revenue forecasting, a more optimized sales strategy and more high-engagement content in the future.
Better forecasting: Understand which deals will close earlier based on how much engagement a prospect is having with your content. High engagement is likely to mean a quicker deal cycle
Optimized Sales Strategy: Focus your efforts on the deals that you know will close quickly and avoid the low engaged deals that will likely drag out and go nowhere
Better Content: Analyze the content that is giving you high engagement and build off of that to create more effective content for prospects in the future
Content can be a huge part of the sales process and the engagement analytics have the power to give you information you can’t get anywhere else. Start using these powerful analytics and get a better understanding of your pipeline. Want to learn more about what Enablix’s analytics can do for you? Let us know!