Creating Relevant Content for Your Buyer's Decision Stages

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How hard is your content working for your marketing and sales team? How much does it contribute to your ability to connect with and convert more customers?

This presentation gives you practical, actionable guidance on how to re-organize and re-purpose your existing content in the framework of your buyer's decision-making process.

Originally presented at Pardot Elevate 2010 by Nolin LeChasseur.

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  • All good B2B marketing is based on a solid foundation of the right tools, programs and content. This presentation digs deeper into how to create the right content.

    For those who like to know up front how the story ends, I’m going to tell you how to:
    1. make smarter content
    2. sequence your content to align with your buyer’s decision-making process
    3. always dangle carrots
  • Let me tell you a story about a company whose frustrated CEO who is about to slash his marketing budget and use that money to hire another sales rep.
  • This company has all the bells and whistles when it comes to B2B marketing content.
    corporate video
    corporate brochures translated into multiple languages
    product brochures and datasheets for every product
    monthly press releases
    product demo video archive
    customer success stories
    all available on the website in digital format, as well as printed on expensive stock in all of their sales and marketing offices.

    Sounds familiar right? The majority of B2B companies today have this stuff.
  • We see this with clients we work with, too. Here’s an example.
  • But here’s the problem - prospects aren’t always interested in “All About Us” content.
    stacks of printed collateral gathering dust
    boxes of materials being shipped back from trade shows
    not many website PDF downloads
    hardly any YouTube views
    sales reps creating their own sell sheets and presentations

    Bottom line?
  • Poor engagement.

    (This is a real screen capture from a real client.)

    And what’s the most visible result of that?
  • DRAMATIC PAUSE
  • Flatline is the extreme, but the way to improve engagement from whatever your starting point, you need to figure out how to be more engaging. How can you add real value to prospects?

    You need to understand a couple of things:
    How do your buyers buy?
    What information can you provide to help them make their decision?
  • Defining the problem/opportunity
    How big is it?
    How common is it?
    How do others describe it?
    What does it entail?
    How significant is it?
    Investigating options
    What approaches are being used?
    What has been tried before?
    Which approach best suits our company’s strengths, weaknesses, resources?
    Which vendors offer suitable solutions?
    How do those vendors compare?
    Which solution best meets our company’s needs?
    Making the final decision
    Securing internal buy-in
    Committing required resources
    Negotiation/acceptance of terms
  • Once you understand the buying decision, hang your existing content on that framework to see how your coverage is. (content shoebox reference - not just marketing and sales collateral)

    Marketing Sherpa has some great content about types of content too.

    (similar to Scott Moore’s “Content Closet” concept from yesterday)

    what are the obvious gaps?
    what content consumption patterns can you see?
    how do you make your existing content more useful?


  • Different types of content will help your buyer move from one stage of their buying process to the next.

    Different types of content will be relevant or irrelevant to your buyer depending on where in the process they are.

    So, once you feel like you have a better handle on how your content will be engaged with once it’s optimized, how do you actually make it happen?

  • First, you’re going to make your existing content work harder for you by making it smarter.

    We challenge the “more whitepapers” mentality and test a variety of formats and styles to maximize engagement.
    shorter and more focused
    turn one long content asset (like a 20-page whitepaper) into a series of shorter assets
    use embedded links to other trackable content

    This will help you learn not only what topics are of interest to a given prospect, but also where they are in their buying process.
  • First, you’re going to make your existing content work harder for you by making it smarter.

    We challenge the “more whitepapers” mentality and test a variety of formats and styles to maximize engagement.
    shorter and more focused
    turn one long content asset (like a 20-page whitepaper) into a series of shorter assets
    use embedded links to other trackable content

    This will help you learn not only what topics are of interest to a given prospect, but also where they are in their buying process.
  • First, you’re going to make your existing content work harder for you by making it smarter.

    We challenge the “more whitepapers” mentality and test a variety of formats and styles to maximize engagement.
    shorter and more focused
    turn one long content asset (like a 20-page whitepaper) into a series of shorter assets
    use embedded links to other trackable content

    This will help you learn not only what topics are of interest to a given prospect, but also where they are in their buying process.
  • First, you’re going to make your existing content work harder for you by making it smarter.

    We challenge the “more whitepapers” mentality and test a variety of formats and styles to maximize engagement.
    shorter and more focused
    turn one long content asset (like a 20-page whitepaper) into a series of shorter assets
    use embedded links to other trackable content

    This will help you learn not only what topics are of interest to a given prospect, but also where they are in their buying process.
  • This is Adam’s idea of content chaining. In a decision-making context, we call it pathways.

    Make it easy for your prospect to find additional content relevant to their current decision stage and topics of interest.

    Don’t worry too much about guessing right about what the next piece should be. Let them choose from a set of relevant options.

    This will ensure you’re adding value and building a stronger relationship at every stage of their decision-making process.

    But doesn’t this slow down sales cycles, you ask?
  • This is Adam’s idea of content chaining. In a decision-making context, we call it pathways.

    Make it easy for your prospect to find additional content relevant to their current decision stage and topics of interest.

    Don’t worry too much about guessing right about what the next piece should be. Let them choose from a set of relevant options.

    This will ensure you’re adding value and building a stronger relationship at every stage of their decision-making process.

    But doesn’t this slow down sales cycles, you ask?
  • This is Adam’s idea of content chaining. In a decision-making context, we call it pathways.

    Make it easy for your prospect to find additional content relevant to their current decision stage and topics of interest.

    Don’t worry too much about guessing right about what the next piece should be. Let them choose from a set of relevant options.

    This will ensure you’re adding value and building a stronger relationship at every stage of their decision-making process.

    But doesn’t this slow down sales cycles, you ask?
  • This is Adam’s idea of content chaining. In a decision-making context, we call it pathways.

    Make it easy for your prospect to find additional content relevant to their current decision stage and topics of interest.

    Don’t worry too much about guessing right about what the next piece should be. Let them choose from a set of relevant options.

    This will ensure you’re adding value and building a stronger relationship at every stage of their decision-making process.

    But doesn’t this slow down sales cycles, you ask?
  • This is Adam’s idea of content chaining. In a decision-making context, we call it pathways.

    Make it easy for your prospect to find additional content relevant to their current decision stage and topics of interest.

    Don’t worry too much about guessing right about what the next piece should be. Let them choose from a set of relevant options.

    This will ensure you’re adding value and building a stronger relationship at every stage of their decision-making process.

    But doesn’t this slow down sales cycles, you ask?
  • This is Adam’s idea of content chaining. In a decision-making context, we call it pathways.

    Make it easy for your prospect to find additional content relevant to their current decision stage and topics of interest.

    Don’t worry too much about guessing right about what the next piece should be. Let them choose from a set of relevant options.

    This will ensure you’re adding value and building a stronger relationship at every stage of their decision-making process.

    But doesn’t this slow down sales cycles, you ask?
  • In addition to offering additional content relevant to their current decision stage, dangle a carrot to entice them forward to the next stage.

    Make it easy to advance when they’re ready.

    This is how marketers can tangibly accelerate/shorten sales cycles.
  • And in the process of applying this framework, you’re actually redefining your entire marketing and sales pipeline in the context of the buyer’s decision-making process.

    Sales and marketing are now on the same page.

    Engagement with your content is telling you what they want to know, and where they are in their buying decision.

    That informs your marketing AND sales plans for that prospect.
  • So here’s a cheat sheet to get started.

    Map out your buyer’s decision stages
    Hang your existing content on the framework to see where the gaps are
    Then kick it up a notch
  • If you do these 3 things, your CEO will never cut marketing to hire another sales rep.

  • Creating Relevant Content for Your Buyer's Decision Stages

    1. 1. Creating Relevant Content for Your Buyer's Decision Stages B2B buyers go through a deliberate decision-making process when buying products and services.  In each stage of their buying cycle, the buyer(s) have very different goals, objectives, and information needs.  How you interact with them, and the content you create for them, can build a strong relationship, turn them off, or miss the mark altogether.
    2. 2. B2B Marketing Trinity YOU ARE Tools Content HERE Programs
    3. 3. The CEO wants to cut marketing and hire another sales rep. IMAGE SOURCE: http://snapitsalesblog.com/
    4. 4. IMAGE SOURCE: http://marquetteeducator.wordpress.com/ They have lots of really #pardot2010 @nolin awesome content.
    5. 5. IMAGE SOURCE: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/NtoZGd-0Ww4M6mqOs3mR3g But hardly anybody is #pardot2010 @nolin engaging with it.
    6. 6. August 2010. No. New. Prospects. THIS IS NOT A TEST. THIS IS NOT A TEST. THIS IS NOT A TEST. THIS IS NOT A TEST. THIS IS NOT A TEST.
    7. 7. IMAGE SOURCE: http://prettyintelligent.com/ The sales team says #pardot2010 @nolin the pipeline sucks.
    8. 8. IMAGE SOURCE: http://www.sharpbrains.com/ So what content WILL #pardot2010 @nolin these buyers value?
    9. 9. Define the Investigate & Commit to problem or evaluate the final opportunity options decision Map out how your buyers #pardot2010 @nolin make a buying decision.
    10. 10. Define the Investigate & Commit to problem or evaluate the final opportunity options decision Glossary Needs Assessment Company credentials Trends & Statistics Gap Assessment Case studies Q&A Market Benchmarks ROI estimator Top 10 Lists News and Analyst coverage TCO calculator 101 Education Discussion forums & threads Detailed product info Online and live presentations Business case Product tours & guides Sequence your content #pardot2010 @nolin as your buyer would.
    11. 11. Define the Investigate & Commit to problem or evaluate the final opportunity options decision Educational & Solution & Credentials & Thought Product Decision Leadership Suitability Support Understand how your #pardot2010 @nolin content is being used.
    12. 12. IMAGE SOURCE: http://gawker.com/ #pardot2010 Kick it up a notch! @nolin
    13. 13. Make your existing #pardot2010 @nolin content smarter.
    14. 14. Make your existing #pardot2010 @nolin content smarter.
    15. 15. Make your existing #pardot2010 @nolin content smarter.
    16. 16. Suggest pathways #pardot2010 @nolin through your content.
    17. 17. Suggest pathways #pardot2010 @nolin through your content.
    18. 18. Suggest pathways #pardot2010 @nolin through your content.
    19. 19. Suggest pathways #pardot2010 @nolin through your content.
    20. 20. always dangle carrots IMAGE SOURCE: http://www.bostonsearchgroup.com/ Suggest pathways #pardot2010 @nolin through your content.
    21. 21. Smart content gives you #pardot2010 @nolin richer visibility into leads.
    22. 22. Define the problem or Investigate & evaluate Commit to the final opportunity options decision Education & Thought Leadership Solution & Product Suitability Credentials & Decision Support • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • #pardot2010 Content Cheat Sheet @nolin
    23. 23. 1. Make smarter content 2. Sequence content based on your buyer’s decision-making process 3. Always dangle carrots 3 things you should do #pardot2010 @nolin with existing content
    24. 24. Download this presentation: http://brainrider.com/knowledge-center Ask a question: • ask me now • email info@brainrider.com • write it on your business card #pardot2010 What next? @nolin

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