Content marketing includes creating and sharing different kinds of content with the purpose of engaging the audience and gaining new customers. The content marketing strategy should essentially aim at increasing sales. Although some B2B sales teams may doubt that content is as efficient in the B2B lead generation as in B2C, this marketing tool can bring fruits to any kind of business. The main thing is the right content strategy.
By implementing content marketing competently, business owners can:
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- Increase web traffic;
- Grow website engagement;
- Amplify brand awareness;
- Build credible relationships with their audience and eventually transform them into customers;
- Generate leads;
- Drive sales.
The experience of a B2B lead generation company, such as Belkins’io, can be extremely helpful in building a strong connection between content and sales. Let’s discover how businesses should use content to enhance their sales and uncover practical tips for creating effective content.
Why Content and Sales are Intrinsically Linked Tools for Lead Generation and Sales
Content is still king – and the B2B market can likewise experience its benefits. Valuable content invites customers to attend your website and makes them interested in what you sell.
Although on the B2B landscape the sales funnel is much more complicated than in B2C, decisions are still made by people. When a company experiences a need for a product or service, the people in charge seek information. This is what makes content marketing one of the most successful tools for B2B sales prospecting.
Content Selling Vs. Content Marketing
Once we have clarified that the content can evoke B2B sales, it’s time to identify the difference between the two content types: content selling and content marketing.
Content selling is the method of using content to perform an engaging follow-up process to nurture leads and guide them throughout the sales pipeline. This means you should provide potential customers with adequate types of content at every stage of their buying journey. Your content sequence should be consistent, relevant, and motivate the audience to move to the further stages.
This type of content features a broader approach to providing information and embraces a larger audience than your target market. Basically, content marketing is directed to people that may not yet be familiar with your brand.
|Content Marketing||Content Selling|
|Focuses on a broad audience||Focuses on a specific buyer persona who already entered a sales funnel|
|Directs at cold leads||Directs at warm or lukewarm leads|
|Aims to bring a prospect into a sales funnel||Aims to guide a lead throughout a sales funnel and make him/her convert into a buyer|
Why B2B Should Leverage Content as a Sales Tool
The B2B sales process is significantly different from B2C, with one of the major differences being a longer sales cycle. Moving from lead research and prospecting to a purchase stage may take months, not even speaking about the huge resources and effort spent on the way. Therefore, by shrinking the sales cycle you can relieve the drain on the company’s resources.
Content marketing is a mighty tool that can help minimize B2B sales cycle. An average B2B customer completes about 60% of a standard purchasing decision procedure before even speaking to a supplier. This implies B2B clients are researching options, establishing requirements, determining budgets, and assessing opinions internally before reaching out to a sales team. Therefore, valuable content is what can turn them to your side before they contact your sales reps.
How to Make Content a Winning Sales Tool for B2B
The efficiency of various content types is different throughout the stages of the sales cycle. The chart below displays the 10 content types that the respondents consider most efficient and the extent of their usefulness at each stage.
Let’s have a look at how to implement content as a sales tool at every phase of the cycle to succeed in lead generation for B2B.
Unaware of the problem
This is the very beginning of your prospect’s journey. Here, the audience may not even recognize the need for your solution. Therefore, you should aim to turn their attention to the existing issue and explain how it can be addressed. Which types of content are most efficient at this stage?
- Email marketing. Emails are great to start personalized communication with your prospects. Make sure to create relevant, precious, and engaging email sequences and take measures to enhance deliverability. Belkins’io, a proficient lead generation company focusing on the B2B sector, provides unrivaled software that guarantees unobstructed delivery of all your messages to recipients. Such solutions as email checker help you optimize your emails and prevent them from getting into the spam folder.
- Blog posts. Quality content on your corporate blog satisfies your audience’s information hunger, raises interest in your product, and elevates your search engine rankings.
- Social media. Utilizing social media such as LinkedIn for spreading your word is beneficial for B2B since it allows reaching the audiences that you’ll otherwise be unable to find. You can also leverage software like Wiza that will help you with your email and SM campaigns.
Understanding the problem
The audience that proceeds to the second stage of your sales funnel already recognizes the problem and knows that your product can deliver a solution. Your major goal here is to keep them engaged by making your content progressively detailed.
- White papers. This type of content is excellent for providing more detailed information, focusing on industry issues and solutions, delivering no-cost value, and building your reputation as an expert.
- How-to articles. Practical examples and use cases are relevant at this stage. They add value to your brand and help involve the audience in conversations.
- Videos. Video materials diversify your content. For many people, video is also easier to consume than written text.
Identifying solutions, selecting
This is the stage of assessing the options and making the choice. The audience is ready for extended communication with your organization to study your product in detail. For brands, it’s time to bring irresistible arguments in their favor and ensure potential clients obtain the answers they are searching for.
- Detailed tech guides. These guides can be presented in written and video formats and contain all the technical details a customer may request. They may contain pictures and charts to help users completely understand your product.
- eBooks. This format denotes larger content volumes and offers exhaustive information to potential customers.
- Webinars. Live interaction is an excellent opportunity to address all the existing questions and highlight the product’s benefits.
Making a purchasing decision
At this point of a consumer journey, the goal is to transform customers from potential to real. The content at this stage should provide convincing reasons to buy and be targeted and personalized as much as possible.
- Live guides/demos. Demonstrating your product in action is an excellent way to give a sales-qualified lead a fundamental reason to make a purchase.
- Case studies. Practical examples of your expertise, experience, and efficiency will give your prospects another argument to choose your brand over the competition.
- Special offers. The perspective of a good deal can streamline an internal approval process. Give that cherry on top to your prospect with B2B reward programs, and increase your chances of closing the transaction.
Practical Tips for Content Selling from a B2B Lead Generation Company
Once we have identified which kinds of content work at which stages of the customer journey, it’s time to figure out how to compose the content that works as a sales tool for B2B.
Establish a strong connection between your sales and marketing teams
Only through unobstructed cooperation between the two teams can a business reach efficient marketing efforts resulting in growing conversions. Salespeople can offer valuable insights into which ideas could work or not, while marketers can better understand and address the needs of sales. Ultimately, both departments will streamline their processes and contribute to a successful result.
Sort out your content library
Plan your content and align it with the stages of your prospect’s journey. You shouldn’t put the cart in front of the horse by trying to hard-sell at the top of the sales funnel. Instead, clearly organize your content according to each stage’s goal. Work out the appropriate kinds of content for lead researching, educating, engaging, convincing, and motivating. Ultimately, you’ll have your content working as an excellent B2B sales prospecting tool.
Ensure easy access to your content
After you have created your content and sorted it out, make sure that your team has easy access to it. The sales reps should be enabled to quickly find the information they need, otherwise, they may fail to use it. For this purpose, utilize a CRM system or simply a shared folder.
Competently planned content implemented at each phase of the sales pipeline captures attention and motivates a potential customer to make the further steps. Hard-selling can work in the short term, but for the long-run success, you will need to educate, inform, build trust, address concerns, and persuade your prospects to become your loyal customers. For this purpose, you’ll need a magic fusion of content selling and content marketing.
A qualified B2B lead generation company is capable of empowering you with efficient tools to ease your path. Belkins’io delivers superior B2B lead generation services including Wiza to help you plan and implement a stellar content strategy to enhance the sales process.