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Moving SMBs Through the Sales Cycle with Content

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Which content formats –­ and other sources of information ­– do SMBs rely on most for awareness, research and decision-making when they are considering business purchases? What do SMBs look for in content from vendors like you? What kinds of content do they specifically want from your sales team?

To find out, we surveyed over 500 SMB principals on their content preferences at each stage of the sales cycle. We shared the results in a thirty-minute Fastcast recorded on Thursday, May 24.

The full recording is available here: https://bit.ly/2GLTx5j

Where we covered:

• Where SMBs first learn of new products and services
• What channels and formats are most useful in the research and purchase stage
• The role of vendors throughout the SMB buying cycle
• How and when they use vendor websites
• What traits of content are most important
• How they want to interact with vendors before buying – and after
• How all of this differs by company size, age, growth outlook, and more

Published in: Marketing
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Moving SMBs Through the Sales Cycle with Content

  1. 1. MOVING SMBS THROUGH THE SALES CYCLE WITH CONTENT May 24, 2018
  2. 2. 2 INCREASING SALES TO SMBS ORIGINAL RESEARCH  CUSTOM CONTENT
  3. 3. • Qualitative • Live focus groups • Online bulletin boards • Collaborative workshops • In-depth interviews • Quantitative • Custom online • SMB Pulse omnibus • New SMB HR, IT, Finance and Marketing Pulses Methods ORIGINAL RESEARCH  CUSTOM CONTENT • Ad, message, positioning testing • Attitudes and usage • Brand awareness / perception • Buyer identification • Competitive perceptions • Customer satisfaction / loyalty • Market segmentation • Media behaviors / preferences • New product testing • Persona / buyer journey • Purchase intent, behaviors, channels and preferences Topics 3 INCREASING SALES TO SMBS Internal: Actionable product / marketing insight External: PR / social / content / events / collateral OutputsOutputs
  4. 4. 4 INCREASING SALES TO SMBS ORIGINAL RESEARCH  CUSTOM CONTENT Video Email Newsletters Checklists / WorksheetsCase StudiesArticles Blog Posts White Papers Podcasts eBooks PR Surveys Social Media Handbooks / Guides Webcasts Slideshows Infographics Interactive Tools • Persona / buyer journey • Formats, topics and outlets • Peer data • Creative brief • Editorial calendar • Distribution plan • Content audit • Content creation • Analytics Contribution • Expert • Actionable • Relevant • Easy to understand • Professional • Brand-building • Custom Principles Search  Lead Gen  Nurture  Conversion  Retention
  5. 5. Help marketers better understand SMB content preferences RESEARCH OBJECTIVE Content that works best at each stage of the sales cycle Content attributes Content for sales support 5
  6. 6. METHODOLOGY 6 1 2 3 HOW WHO WHEN Online survey via the Bredin.com/SMBPulse 503 principals of U.S. companies with <500 employees (4% +/- CI) January 16-19, 2018 Representative mix of industries, business ages, locations etc. 251 VSBs <20 employees (97.7% weighting) 151 SBs 20-99 employees (2% weighting) 101 MBs 100-500 employees (0.3% weighting)
  7. 7. NEW PRODUCT AWARENESS INFORMATION SOURCES 7 In aggregate, SMBs are most likely to learn about your offerings from you In general, where would you say you first learn about new products and services for your business? (Please rank from most likely / important to least likely / important) n=499 % rated top-two box 5% 11% 12% 15% 15% 17% 18% 28% 37% 38% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% TV / radio / billboards My external team – e.g., my accountant, attorney or local technology consultant / reseller Analysts like Forrester or Gartner My internal team – e.g., my IT manager, financial manager, HR manager, etc. Online forum / discussion board Social media In a store Business news media / review sites / blogs Peers / colleagues / other business owners Direct from vendors – e.g., email, websites, trade shows, sales call from representative, etc.
  8. 8. NEW PRODUCT AWARENESS SOURCES: COMPANY SIZE 8 MBs are most likely to first learn about a product from analysts In general, where would you say you first learn about new products and services for your business? (Please rank from most likely / important (top) to least likely / important) n=498 % rated top-two box 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% TV / radio / billboards My external team – e.g., my accountant, attorney or local technology consultant / reseller Analysts like Forrester or Gartner My internal team – e.g., my IT manager, financial manager, HR manager, etc. Online forum / discussion board Social media In a store Business news media / review sites / blogs Peers / colleagues / other business owners Direct from vendors – e.g., email, websites, trade shows, sales call from representative, etc. VSB (<20) SB (20-99) MB (100-500) Women are more likely than men (42% to 31%) to learn from peers & colleagues. Men are more likely (45% to 34%) to learn from vendors. Businesses less than 4 years old, or older than 20, are most likely to learn in a store.
  9. 9. Baby Boomers are most likely to rely on their peers In general, where would you say you first learn about new products and services for your business? (Please rank from most likely / important (top) to least likely / important) n=499 % rated top-two box 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% TV / radio / billboards My external team – e.g., my accountant, attorney or local technology consultant / reseller Analysts like Forrester or Gartner My internal team – e.g., my IT manager, financial manager, HR manager, etc. Online forum / discussion board Social media In a store Business news media / review sites / blogs Peers / colleagues / other business owners Direct from vendors – e.g., email, websites, trade shows, sales call from representative, etc. 18-34 35-49 50+ NEW PRODUCT AWARENESS SOURCES: RESPONDENT AGE 9
  10. 10. NEW PRODUCT AWARENESS: DETAIL Overall, peers are the most important source of new product information On a scale of 1 (very unlikely) to 3 (very likely), please rate how likely you are to first learn about products or services for your business via each of these specific sources / content formats. n=503 % rated very likely 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% Case study Audio podcast One-off email Radio Pinterest Infographic White paper Press release eBook / guide / handbook Outdoor billboard or signage Twitter LinkedIn Blog Instagram Banner / display ad Research report Analyst report External / third-party consultant Interactive tool Webinar / webcast Print newsletter TV Forum or discussion board Video on vendor’s website Newspaper / magazine (print or online) YouTube Postcard, letter or catalog in the mail Facebook Email newsletter Online review Call or meeting with vendor sales representative Resources section of a vendor’s website Product section of vendor’s website In-house staff Event or trade show Peer / colleague 10
  11. 11. NEW PRODUCT AWARENESS: COMPANY SIZE 11 MBs are most likely to learn of new products from events and a sales rep On a scale of 1 (very unlikely) to 3 (very likely), please rate how likely you are to first learn about products or services for your business via each of these specific sources / content formats. n=503 % rated very likely 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Case study Audio podcast One-off email Radio Pinterest Infographic White paper Press release eBook / guide / handbook Outdoor billboard or signage Twitter LinkedIn Blog Instagram Banner / display ad Research report Analyst report External / third-party consultant Interactive tool Webinar / webcast Print newsletter TV Forum or discussion board Video on vendor’s website Newspaper / magazine (print or online) YouTube Postcard, letter or catalog in the mail Facebook Email newsletter Online review Call or meeting with vendor sales representative Resources section of a vendor’s website Product section of vendor’s website In-house staff Event or trade show Peer / colleague VSB (<20) SB (20-99) MB (100-500) Millennial SMBs are significantly more likely to learn from every source except: • Events and trade shows • Product & resource sections of websites Fast-growing companies learn from email newsletters (29%) and online reviews (37%) more than their slower-growing peers. Manufacturers are almost twice as likely as other industries to learn from radio.
  12. 12. NEW PRODUCT AWARENESS: CONTENT (COMPANY SIZE) 12 VSBs & SBs are most likely to learn of your new offerings via your resource center; MBs, a webcast On a scale of 1 (very unlikely) to 3 (very likely), please rate how likely you are to first learn about products or services for your business via each of these specific sources / content formats. n=503 % rated very likely 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% Case study Audio podcast Infographic White paper Press release eBook / guide / handbook Blog Research report Analyst report Interactive tool Webinar / webcast Print newsletter Forum or discussion board Video on vendor’s website Email newsletter Resources section of a vendor’s website VSB (<20) SB (20-99) MB (100-500)
  13. 13. PRODUCT RESEARCH INFORMATION SOURCES 13 Overall, SMBs rely most on their peers for product research… On a scale of 1 (very unlikely) to 3 (very likely), please rate how likely you are to use each of these sources / content formats when you are researching products or services for your business. n=503 % rated very likely 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% One-off email White paper Outdoor billboard or signage Infographic Audio podcast LinkedIn Pinterest Banner / display ad Radio Instagram Case study Analyst report Twitter Press release Webinar / webcast Print newsletter Blog Postcard, letter or catalog in the mail Forum or discussion board TV External / third-party consultant Interactive tool Newspaper / magazine (print or online) Research report Email newsletter Facebook eBook / guide / handbook YouTube Resources section of a vendor’s website Video on vendor’s website Call or meeting with a vendor sales representative In-house staff Online review Product section of a vendor’s website Event or trade show Search Peer / colleague
  14. 14. …although MBs are most likely to use search On a scale of 1 (very unlikely) to 3 (very likely), please rate how likely you are to use each of these sources / content formats when you are researching products or services for your business. n=503 % rated very likely 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% One-off email White paper Outdoor billboard or signage Infographic Audio podcast LinkedIn Pinterest Banner / display ad Radio Instagram Case study Analyst report Twitter Press release Webinar / webcast Print newsletter Blog Postcard, letter or catalog in the mail Forum or discussion board TV External / third-party consultant Interactive tool Newspaper / magazine (print or online) Research report Email newsletter Facebook eBook / guide / handbook YouTube Resources section of a vendor’s website Video on vendor’s website Call or meeting with a vendor sales representative In-house staff Online review Product section of a vendor’s website Event or trade show Search Peer / colleague VSB (<20) SB (20-99) MB (100-500) PRODUCT RESEARCH: COMPANY SIZE 14 Sales calls are more valuable at the research stage with manufacturers (39%) than for other industries. Professional services firms are significantly more likely to conduct research via magazines and newspapers (30%) and research reports (27%). Fast-growing companies lean more heavily on Facebook (32%) and YouTube (30%) than their slow and no-growth peers, and search much more (55%).
  15. 15. Millennials use a wide range of sources On a scale of 1 (very unlikely) to 3 (very likely), please rate how likely you are to use each of these sources / content formats when you are researching products or services for your business. n=503 % rated very likely 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% One-off email White paper Outdoor billboard or signage Infographic Audio podcast LinkedIn Pinterest Banner / display ad Radio Instagram Case study Analyst report Twitter Press release Webinar / webcast Print newsletter Blog Postcard, letter or catalog in the mail Forum or discussion board TV External / third-party consultant Interactive tool Newspaper / magazine (print or online) Research report Email newsletter Facebook eBook / guide / handbook YouTube Resources section of a vendor’s website Video on vendor’s website Call or meeting with a vendor sales representative In-house staff Online review Product section of a vendor’s website Event or trade show Search Peer / colleague 18-34 35-49 50+ PRODUCT RESEARCH: RESPONDENT AGE 15
  16. 16. VSBs rely most on vendor video and resource centers On a scale of 1 (very unlikely) to 3 (very likely), please rate how likely you are to use each of these sources / content formats when you are researching products or services for your business. n=503 % rated very likely 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% White paper Infographic Audio podcast Case study Analyst report Press release Webinar / webcast Print newsletter Blog Forum or discussion board Interactive tool Research report Email newsletter eBook / guide / handbook Resources section of a vendor’s website Video on vendor’s website VSB (<20) SB (20-99) MB (100-500) PRODUCT RESEARCH: CONTENT (COMPANY SIZE) 16
  17. 17. SMBs in aggregate are also most likely to rely on their peers to make a purchase decision… On the same scale, please rate how likely you are to use each of these sources / content formats to make a final purchase decision on products or services for your business. n=503 % rated very likely 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Audio podcast Banner / display ad Infographic White paper Outdoor billboard or signage One-off email Press release LinkedIn Pinterest Newspaper / magazine (print or online) Instagram Radio Webinar / webcast Interactive tool Case study Analyst report Forum or discussion board Blog TV Print newsletter Facebook Twitter eBook / guide / handbook Research report Postcard, letter or catalog in the mail External / third-party consultant Email newsletter YouTube Video on vendor’s website Resource section of a vendor’s website In-house staff Online review Search Product section of a vendor’s website Event or trade show Call or meeting with vendor sales representative Peer / colleague PURCHASE DECISION INFORMATION SOURCES 17 Want to watch the original Fastcast? Watch it here. Want the full deck as a PDF? Email us at: info@bredin.com

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