Content Marketing for Sales

In the world of B2B marketing, there’s an oft-cited statistic:

67% of the buyer’s journey is done digitally, before the buyer speaks with a sales person[1].

It’s a fallacy for B2B marketers to believe that they should therefore focus their content marketing and distribution efforts on just that 67% before their sales colleagues take over. Regardless of where the buyer is at in their buyer’s journey, they need information to address their needs and challenges.

The decision stage is in fact a great opportunity for marketing and sales to collaborate on providing potential customers with content to make that important final decision. Ultimately, better sales and marketing alignment will lead to improved customer acquisitions and ROI for both.

Meeting B2B Buyers’ Needs by Both Sales & Marketing

Thanks to search engines and social media, today's B2B buyers have a wealth of information and sources at their fingertips. They now come to sales meetings armed to the teeth with information gleaned from online research.

At the decision stage, marketing and sales need to show that they are just as well-informed of buyers, as buyers are of your products. We think that marketing and sales should collaborate in these ways:

  1. Marketing tends to be more heavily involved in the earlier buyer’s journey stages, thus marketing should inform sales of shifts in observed buyer needs and patterns of interest

  2. Sales is on the front line to customers. So sales needs to give marketers feedback on the type of information that helps to convert leads into customers.

By identifying gaps in buyers’ needs and providing relevant content that meet those needs, marketing and sales can demonstrate that they are in tune with what their buyers want.

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Marketing Can Help Sales with Product Information and Thought Leadership

content_sales_needs_from_marketing2.jpg

LinkedIn’s research found that B2B buyers require a full and varied range of content to make their purchase decision[2].

To deliver such content, we’ve identified two main types of content that sales will need that marketing can provide:

1) Product Information: Data sheets, Demos, Trials

Basic decision stage content is product-oriented. Marketing’s role is to study the potential buyers’ interest in products. This is done by regular monitoring of potential buyers’ online activities and search behaviour patterns to identify areas of interest.

Marketing should then work closely with the following teams[3]:

  1. Product management, to determine the buyer’s purchase targets, so that product management can define the product to be built
  2. Sales, to ensure that sales sells what was built

2) Thought Leadership: Expert Opinions, Best Practices

Beyond product information, B2B buyers also need broad information on where the industry is headed to help them make the final purchase decision[4]. In fact, being “a subject matter expert/ thought leader” is one of the top four most important factors influencing a buyer’s willingness to engage with a vendor[5].

Marketing could therefore provide sales with thought leadership collaterals used in earlier buyer’s journey stages. These should include expert opinions and best practices from authority figures within the business.

And That’s How We Align Marketing and Sales

Content’s value to sales enablement lies in its ability to nurture old or new leads into customers[6].  

At the critical decision stage, marketers should be supporting sales with the content it needs to make those conversions. After all, when it comes to the marketing metrics that matter to your bosses, you should expect to report on your customer acquisition efforts among other things. If marketing and sales can collaborate on staying on top of buyers’ needs and delivering the content buyers want, both would be able to reap the ROI benefits they desire.

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Credits & Sources:

Header image from Helloquence @ Stocksnap.io
Image of ladies from Pexels

[1] Three Myths of the “67 Percent” Statistic (src: Sirius Decisions)
[2] Announcing the “Rethink the B2B Buyer’s Journey” eBook: 6 Takeaways for Marketers from New LinkedIn Research (src: LinkedIn)
[3] Tech Marketer Talks: Driving Top Line Business Growth with Global Integrated Marketing – Dimension Data (src: Mktr2Mktr)
[4] Rethinking the B2B Buyer's Journey (src: LinkedIn)
[5] Announcing the “Rethink the B2B Buyer’s Journey” eBook: 6 Takeaways for Marketers from New LinkedIn Research (src: LinkedIn)
[6] Is B2B Content Marketing a Failure? (src: PeopleLinx)

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