Creating Content Closing Deals - B2B Website Design B2B .

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CREATING CONTENT.CLOSING DEALS.The ultimate guide to content marketing and sales strategy for B2B

Content marketing is an ideal companionto a B2B sales team. Why? Two reasons:1. The B2B sales process’ inherent nature (a longer sales cycle, smallerpotential client pool, higher priced purchases and multiple decisionmakers) requires multiple touch points with a prospective client.2. The traditional B2B “sales funnel” is evolving from a predictablelinear model to a much more diverse and jumbled path—requiringmarketers to consistently remind prospective clients of a B2B brandthrough relevant, new content on an infinite number of platforms.So if you’re not already modifying your content to fit a buyer’sneeds in each stage, it’s time to get started! In this guide we’lladdress common obstacles in the B2B sales process, how contentcan solve them and how to measure your outcomes.The ultimate guide to content marketing and sales strategy for B2B//619.330.0730//www.bopdesign.com

DiscoveryAttracting web visitors and transforming them intoqualified prospects is the first step in a B2B salesprocess. These customers are conducting a websearch, gathering preliminary information and sourcingreferrals from trusted sources. Most importantly, they’retrying to find a business they can trust, meaning helpfulcontent that addresses their need will nurture therelationship much more than pushy, fluffy sales talk.How content helps during discovery: Begins building the relationship with a sales person Positions the business as a trusted source Better educates (and qualifies) a prospectObstacles During DiscoveryDoubtWhen beginning their preliminary searching, it’scommon for a prospect to approach your salesteam with skepticism. Doubt stems from a variety ofcircumstances, such as confusion with your servicedelivery or perhaps a poor experience with your type ofbusiness in the past. Content can help mitigate doubt byestablishing credibility and initial trust with the prospect.Content marketing that defeats doubt can include: Third party validation of your firm (e.g. thoughtleader endorsements, positive media coverage) Social media clout Price and BudgetB2B services are often high priced ticket items.Think of software, engineering, medical, andconsulting services. All typically involve relativelyhigh prices and long-term contracts—as well aslittle industry transparency—compared to B2C.Meaning there will be prospective clients withunrealistic budgets and sticker shock. Instead ofimmediately disqualifying, content can help reevaluate price requirements, build your firm’s valueand set the prospect back into the sales funnel.Content that can address price concerns include: Tip lists Service delivery breakdown Introductory videosClient EducationDepending on your industry, prospective clientsmay have never heard of your service or business.A sales person should be well equipped withcontent that educates a prospective client.This allows a sales person to alert prospectiveclients of new challenges and realized problemsthat originally weren’t considered.Content for client education can be: Free white paper and state of the industry reports Checklists eBooksThird party articles about your industry, process, etc.PortfolioIndustry client listClient testimonialsThe ultimate guide to content marketing and sales strategy for B2B//619.330.0730//www.bopdesign.com

ConsiderationDuring the consideration phase, a qualified leadrecognizes your business as a potential suitor andunderstands your unique value proposition. They’remost likely comparing you to competitors and have aclearer picture of their project needs. Recycling the samecontent from the discovery phase is a bad idea. Thesequalified leads want to engage with a B2B firm and inreturn receive personalized answers and attention.Content helps the consideration phase by: Outlining your unique value propositionvs. your competition Deeper education about your specificservices and need for tailoring Prospect can picture future successwith your partnershipDisorganizationSometimes in a business your prospective client isstretched very thin in available time and resources.Additionally, depending on your target industry, aprospect may need buy-in from senior leadershipand may not have the time or required skill to sellyour firm internally. Your content should succinctlydescribe your service within the confines of theirneeds—saving your prospect the time and energywhen they discuss internally. Most importantly,your content should make your prospect’s jobeasier when trying to gain internal buy-in.Content that improves disorganization can be: Competition comparison Analysis reports White papersObstacles During Consideration WebinarsIndecisionAt this point a prospect is closer to making their decision,but will start prolonging the sales process. This couldbe for a variety of reasons, the prospect may have otherhigher priority projects/needs, they’re awaiting teamfeedback or there is still lingering doubt and questionsfrom the discovery phase. While discovery content caststhe widest net, the consideration content should mitigatethe risk of losing any that have stayed for the ride.Content to aid indecision includes: Webinars Demo videos Service delivery guides NewslettersThe ultimate guide to content marketing and sales strategy for B2B//619.330.0730//www.bopdesign.com

DecisionFinally, a percentage of prospects from the discoverystage have made it to the decision stage. Remember thateven if a lead is ready to buy, you should build a case ofcredibility through content before moving to a proposal.Content supports the decision stage by: Instilling trust and credibility Closing the saleClient InexperienceSimilar to client education in the discovery phase,sometimes your point of contact is inexperiencedwith your service delivery. An inexperiencedclient may not be involved in the actual deliveryof the service, but still has to communicateyour business and benefits to their team.Content that helps client inexperience includes:Obstacles During DecisionMultiple Decision MakersAs stated before, many times your primary point ofcontact isn’t the only person making the decision to buyfrom you. Senior level colleagues also weight in. This isa great opportunity to gain brand recognition and trustdeeper within the company, but you also risk failingto drive consensus. One naysayer in the group canderail the whole project, so it’s best to have content onhand that can quickly absolve any negative thoughts. Guides geared toward the sphere of influence Pricing informationBuyer’s RemorseA sales person’s initial goal is land a sale, but turninga client into a long-term advocate sweetens thedeal. Money spent now, and the results of that, havegreat impact on that prospect’s job review, internalrecognition and future budget. So it’s importantcontent drills home your business as a critical partner.Content that relieves buyer’s remorse:Content that brings the group together includes: Ongoing educational webinars Process tips and sheets Podcast interviews Before & after stories Newsletters Competitor comparison sheet In-person events and speaker opportunities Phone calls with teams Special demos Team biosMisalignment of GoalsIt’s easy to assume that by the time a prospectreaches the decision phase their objectives arethoroughly understood and mapped out within theservice agreement. But sometimes perceptionschange since the initial sales discussion andnew needs present themselves. This could meanmiscommunication on the client end, internalchanges within the company or industry changes.Content to address last minute goal setting are: Service agreements Personalized slideshows Case studiesThe ultimate guide to content marketing and sales strategy for B2B//619.330.0730//www.bopdesign.com

MeasurementSo you have your buyer personas and your contentstrategy in hand, but wondering if the content is actuallyhelping reach sales and marketing objectives? No needto fear, here are four simple metrics (two for sales, twofor marketing) that you should really be measuring.Marketing: Web AnalyticsThe bulk of your content will be digital and hostedon your website. This means using Google Analyticsor a similar tool helps in measuring contentengagement. Here are some metrics to pull: Time spent on site (greater time spent on yourwebsite a more interested customer) Pages per session (more pages browsed inone visit a more educated customer)Marketing: Social MediaIf your business is involved on social media, thendiscover what content is receiving the most sharesand clicks on those platforms. These metricsshouldn’t be observed in a vacuum, as there is alot of data showing that social shares don’t alwaysequal high readership. Instead, pull the following:If you have important calls to action on your websitethat you want an individual to make—such assigning up for a newsletter, downloading a guideor completing a contact form—then track theseconversions by setting up Google Analytics Goals.Sales: Length of Sales CycleA B2B sales cycle can often take weeks—or evenmonths—to close. Keep the lines of communicationopen with your sales team and provide them withrelevant content along the way. To help, ask yoursales team some of the following questions: Is the content attracting the wrong type ofprospect (e.g. seeking different services,needs additional education, etc.)? Are there common misconceptions of our businessamong prospects (e.g. understanding of uniquevalue proposition, service delivery or other)? What common questions are prospectsasking that you need support answering? Referral traffic (based on platform)combined with the web analyticsSales: Leads GeneratedThis requires some big picture thinking and wranglingof multiple platforms. If you’re a B2B business thatstill conducts most sales over the phone, it becomeseven more complicated. But, as stated above, if yourcontent is digital the measurement becomes easier.Need more information on how contentmarketing supports the B2B sales process?For more insight into content marketing andsales strategy, visit the Bop Blog.The ultimate guide to content marketing and sales strategy for B2B//619.330.0730//www.bopdesign.com

The B2B sales process’ inherent nature (a longer sales cycle, smaller potential client pool, higher priced purchases and multiple decision makers) requires multiple touch points with a prospective client. 2. The traditional B2B “sales funnel” is evolving from a predictable linear model to a much more diverse and jumbled path—requiring