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B2B Marketing & Sales: From Content to Conversation

3 min read

Bob Apollo, advisor, coach, and trainer of B2B-focused sales organizations and MarketMuse Co-founder and Chief Product Officer Jeff Coyle examine discuss how content impacts the sales process and how content is only as good as the sales conversation it stimulates. Here are the webinar notes.

The Buyer Journey is Not Linear

In complex environments with multiple stakeholders and unfamiliar purchases, the journey resembles more of a spaghetti bowl. The buying team can move forward, backward, stay where they are, and move around in circles. 

Buyers Sift Through Too Much Content

Digital marketing loves content. So much so that there is a real risk prospects become overwhelmed and need guidance. But the last thing they want is a crude product or company pitch. They’re looking for a conversation that’s enlightening and insightful.

Familiar vs Unfamiliar Purchases

The majority of buyers find it helpful to speak with someone in two specific situations:

  1. When purchasing a completely new product or service. 
  2. When looking to buy a previously purchased product or service that has changed its specifications.

Your marketing strategy should facilitate this conversation.

Design Your Content to Align With Potential Champions

When designing content with champions in mind, it’s important to talk and listen to prospects and salespeople to better understand their viewpoint. Technology companies in particular are often driven by product marketing that doesn’t address buyer concerns.

Your Prospect is Probably Part of a Larger Buying Team

Your lead generation efforts will bring you a prospect. But it’s rare to have only one person involved in the buying decision. Usually, there is a multitude of people who need to be considered.

  • Users – who will be actively using your solution.
  • Champion – who believes your product is the best solution for their organization.
  • Influencers – although they may not have direct effect, they have the power and authority to sway the decision
  • Purchasing Power – the one who makes the ultimate decision.

Identify Gaps in Your Content Inventory

The active management of sales enablement content requires special tools to facilitate its governance and publication. At a minimum, the system should support the tagging of content so that it can be defined by industry and mapped to the buy-cycle. Ideally, this is buyer-centric so that everything is conducted with the buyer being front and center to the process.

Content Needs to Stimulate Sales Conversation

Sales content needs to show familiarity with issues faced by prospects and their industry. Decision risk occurs in the later stage of the buying cycle and case studies and similar content can help alleviate those concerns.

Supporting Value Gap Discussion With Content

First, establish that the prospect has a challenge. With your help, the prospect realizes they will somehow lose out by continuing down the current path. The gap is between their current trajectory and what they could aspire to with your help. It’s not enough to have a cool solution. A prospect needs to articulate to their colleagues what the problem is and how your solution will solve the issue.

Stephen leads the content strategy blog for MarketMuse, an AI-powered Content Intelligence and Strategy Platform. You can connect with him on social or his personal blog.