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Content is the New Selling?


I recently heard this statement from a marketer whom I respect a great deal, and I admit that I was initially taken aback.  Aren’t salespeople still out there pounding the pavement, making cold calls and closing business?

The more I thought about it, however, the more it made sense in B2B transactions. Buyers are more empowered with greater access to information than ever before. Forrester estimates that buyers will find nearly 70% of the content they need on their own, with only 15% sent by marketing and 15% delivered by sales. -   Source: Daniel Klein, “The Right Ratio For Your Content Marketing Strategy: Guiding Principle Number Three,” Daniel Klein’s Blog For Technology Marketing Professionals, May 30, 2011

As a result of this, the marketing function now extends deeper into the customer journey than ever before. To make the most of the content that marketing departments are creating, it must align with the personas the company is targeting and their customer lifecycle.

Too much content is typically focused on lead generation to create leads that, when passed to the sales team, are really only marketing leads - not sales ready leads. The end result of this is annoyed prospects, annoyed sales people, and a frustrated marketing team that cannot understand why sales is not closing the leads they are sending. Further, the wrong content and approach to lead generation can make the seller seem distant, out-of-touch or pushy.

The solution to this is to create content that aligns with the customer decision journey. More content needs to be created to support nurturing for each buyer persona, particularly around the consideration/explore steps.

Here are some examples of the type of content that could fall into these steps of the customer journey:

  • Awareness - Educational content about solutions aligned with common queries, industry overview content that emphasizes the points of difference of your products and services

  • Consideration - Product or service alignment with persona’s needs, industry awards and recognition

  • Purchase - Customer testimonials, how-to information or detailed service delivery information, detailed product specs, customer service information all aligned with critical points of difference for each customer persona

It is essential to use the right content type for each step in the customer journey. Shorter, more concise content should be used in the awareness stage, and more detailed, longer form content is beneficial as the prospect progresses to consideration and purchase.

In the end, you will have more informed prospects, which will evolve into better leads to your sales teams with a higher close ratio.


Categories:

  • Marketing
  • B2B Marketing
  • Content Marketing