How Content Marketing Cultivates Consensus In The B2B Buying Process
Our last few posts have focused on the sales side of things: reviving dormant leads with sales-driven lead nurturing campaigns, switching from solution to insight selling and rolling out a hyper-personalized content sales strategy.
But today, it’s all about content marketing: how a systematic and streamlined, yet customized and authentic content marketing strategy helps build consensus within the B2B buying process.
First, what exactly is content marketing?
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of highly-relevant, ultra-valuable content to 1) attract, 2) acquire and 3) engage a clearly-defined target audience. The objective? You guessed it: sales enablement.
How does it work?
- Content marketing works to attract and retain customers by consistently churning out cogent content to help guide your prospects through each decision-making stage, making them feel comfortable with and confident in your company to take the next step.
- Since it’s 100% focused on the prospect at all times, content marketing helps align your company’s sales process with your buyers’ buying processes.
- Essentially, it’s a marketing technique that never truly ends. Content marketing is ongoing and must be integrated into your overall marketing strategy.
Why is consensus important?
Today’s organizations are more integrated than ever, driven by collaboration and consensus to obtain sustainable business growth.
B2B buying situations are complex.
- Buying teams are incredibly diverse.
Members at all levels of an organization, and across multiple departments, have their hands in researching, evaluating and recommending solutions.
- Power lines are less defined and responsibility is diffused.
No longer is decision making a one-man show. Today’s B2B purchasing decisions are much more ambiguous; therefore, pinpointing that “key decision maker” is either very difficult or simply impossible. According to Forrester, nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers identify the engagement of key decision makers as their top challenge.
- Things get emotional and egos get involved.
Each decision maker demands his rightful piece of the decision-making pie. In particularly delicate situations, a sales rep may feel like he is playing mediator between decision makers with clashing personalities.
(And finally,) How does content marketing cultivate consensus?
1. It “takes the lead.”
Content marketing reaches out to prospects throughout the buying cycle with the exact type of content they need, exactly when they need it, to make an informed decision.
2. It creates value.
A strong content marketing program includes powerful information from experts, research firms and industry leaders. This is not information that can be readily found with a quick Google search. All content should provide clear value for its audience.
3. It promotes “like, know and trust.”
By curating powerful, personalized content, you’re proving that your company 1) knows what it’s talking about and 2) cares enough about its audience to give them eye-opening, perspective-shifting insights. This promotes the “like, know and trust” foundation that’s crucial for consensus and, ultimately, sales enablement.
4. It’s a powerful vehicle.
Effective content marketing is a vehicle that gets your message to the right people, incentivizing them to start a conversation with you.
5. It goes beyond the “champion.”
The champion (i.e., your sales rep’s main point of contact) may give you indications that everything is great, but this could be just his or her own opinion.
- The champion may not be making the decision alone.
- The champion may simply favor your solution and be trying to help you close the deal.
- The champion doesn’t tell the whole story.
Content marketing goes beyond the champion. Powerful content enables the champion to present your company -- not just from his own words of encouragement, however flattering they may be -- to the rest of the organization. It gets your company’s message to all the decision makers, helping to build consensus.
6. It doesn’t disregard the champion, though.
With powerful content readily available, the champion is able to champion your company in the most effective, efficient way to the rest of the decision makers. And if your content is truly valuable, relevant and engaging, you’ll get the consensus that’s crucial to sales enablement.
When rolled out effectively, a hyper-personalized content marketing program provides undeniable value for your prospects and presents your company as the clear solution to their pains.
Content marketing may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Fill out the form below for help in launching and sustaining a powerful content marketing program with Accent Technologies.