Get Ready for Genetically Modified Content

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Highspot introduces "content genomics," which codes and tracks each element of sales collateral for effectiveness.

Isolating the proper pieces of the content puzzle
Isolating the proper pieces of the content puzzle

It's easy to understand some of the typical divides between marketing and sales organizations. Marketing—fully versed in product and positioning and customer segments—produces reams of collateral to aid the sales force in making deals. But sales cuts and pastes and edits that material to suit the customers with whom they own personal relationships. The result is lots of wasted effort on both sides and little insight into what really worked with whom.

“We could get input at the top of the funnel with lead-gen, but we had no visibility into what content was working or not when it went to the sales force,” says Robert Wahbe of his time as CMO of Microsoft's server and tools division.

That frustration led Wahbe (left) to found the sales-enablement platform Highspot and to the development of a feature called Content Genomics, which aims at achieving better results while letting sales and marketing continue to play out their traditional functions.

Content Genomics, which emerges in a beta release today, plants a code on each page of content—created by either marketing or sales—identifying them as discreet elements in materials actually presented to prospects. Machine learning is then employed to track and score how each element works among various types of customers.

“Say a salesperson sends a customer a screen-share presentation. We could identify whether it was opened or how long a customer spent on a specific page,” Wahbe says. “Something like 70% of the content created by marketing never gets used. Of the remaining 30%, we don't know what drives the business, especially if it's something marketing didn't create. This closes that loop.”

The system can deduce what types of images or copy or colors work best with certain prospects and use that knowledge to modify presentations in the creation stage. The fact that the system is sales and marketing agnostic should encourage adoption by both functions, Wahbe hopes. “Sales can get guidance from marketing in quickly creating better content, and marketing can learn from sales what actually works best in practice,” he says.

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