“Demand Generation/Creating Content that Converts and Shortens the Sales Cycle (B2B)”


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Technology companies are known for being on the cutting edge and driving innovation. However, much of their marketing content reads like a dry technical manual and does little to distinguish them from their competition. This problem can worsen if the
marketing department and the technical team don’t understand each other – the
marketers know they need to educate their audience and focus on the business benefits, but the technical experts want to show all the features to appeal to the end user. Companies may end up with content that explains the features but does little to engage a potential customer and get them to take the next step in the sales cycle. This
session will show B2B technology marketers how to use content marketing strategies to become ‘customer-centric’, rather than ‘feature-centric’. In doing so, they will convert more leads and shorten their sales cycles.

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  • My content marketing journey began on the glorious day that I quit my miserable job to start my own freelance copywriting business.(photo from “Joey Quits” – he handed his resignation to his boss and had a marching band play him out)
  • Image: I put this image together. All of the photos within it came from Google images.
  • I received a grant for a business start-up program. During our in-class training, we discussed sales. Many of us were nervous about selling, as we associated “sales” with the dirty techniques used in Glengarry Glen Ross.
  • However, our instructor gave us this sales mantra. Although I did not know about “content marketing” at the time, this really resonated with me. This mantra is also at the center of content marketing.
  • When I found out that there was a growing community dedicated to content marketing, it made me very happy. Image purchased
  • “Can you use ONE WORD to describe the biggest challenge facing B2B marketing today?”This question was posted on LinkedIn’sB2B Technology Marketers group. Over 1,000 people responded. As you can see from this word cloud (designed by Adele Revella, Founder of the Buyer Persona Institute), one of the biggest B2B technology marketing challenges is content.The rest of this presentation will focus on three things you must do to increase the ROI from your content.
  • The B2B buying process involves multiple stakeholders and decision makers – from the mid-level or junior person performing the initial research to the people who decide whether they want to buy your product (sign your contract) to the end users. In the next few slides, we’ll discuss these people and what they want in more detail.Images from Google images
  • The B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends report – a joint study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs – revealed that effective marketers “are 50% more likely to consider the “stage in the buying cycle” when developing content, whereas less effective marketers are less likely to tailor content in any way.”
  • Who are they? Early-stage leads are people who visit your website to gather information about a challenge that your product or service addresses. They may not have a full understanding of their problem or know exactly what they need. Early-stage leads are often researchers who don’t have buying power but are compiling information for their bosses.What types of content do they want? Early-stage leads are looking for information that will educate them about their challenges. You don’t want to push your solution at this stage, but rather to educate your leads so they will see you as a trusted advisor. Great content for early-stage leads includes white papers, case studies, articles, blog posts, educational videos or podcasts.
  • Who are they? Mid-stage leads have identified their problem and are researching solutions. They have probably visited your website on multiple occasions, subscribed to your e-list or downloaded one of your white papers.  What types of content do they want? Leads at this stage want proof that you can solve their problems so they can build a business case for your solution. You should provide them with content that demonstrates your ROI, such as case studies or video testimonials. Mid-stage leads may also want to learn about your solution’s features and benefits, so you should provide demo videos, product brochures or data sheets. Just be sure that all your content focuses on your customers’ needs and the ROI you can help them achieve.Image purchased
  • Who are they? Late-stage leads are customers who are ready to speak with a sales representative. They’re in the final stages of their research and are comparing you to your competitors. At this stage, you’ll probably speak with the person who has the buying power to purchase your product or service. However, you may learn of other stakeholders – such as end users, financial directors, IT managers or senior executives. What types of content do they want? Leads at this stage have key questions that could make or break the sale. They may ask why they should purchase your product over your competitors’ products. They also need proof that your solution is reliable. Your content at this stage should answer these questions. You can provide late-stage leads with a side-by-side comparison of you versus your competitors, personalized webinars or one-on-one product demos. You should also create customized content for the various stakeholders you will meet during this stage. For example, a CEO will need proof of your ROI, while end users will want to know that your product is user-friendly and that it will make their jobs easier.
  • The audience can pick a metaphor that relates to getting to know your target audience.
  • DJing for dancers – blasting what you want isn’t going to work, because if people don’t like it, they won’t dance to it, and no one will want you to DJ. You must read your audience during every song.
  • Indoor campfire singers – Toronto group – Your customers are looking to connect with like-minded people, groups and companies. Need to get in your customer’s inner circle of trusted resources - You need to be relevant to do this
  • Ways to learn more about your customers (who they are, what they want, etc.)Image was purchased for my blog.
  • Ways to discover your story. I’ll talk about a client that had great stories, but these stories weren’t expressed in his old marketing.
  • Many B2B companies play it too safe with their marketing and have a hard time doing something different. Here are some case studies about two B2B companies that have taken risks and achieved a great pay-off.
  • “Demand Generation/Creating Content that Converts and Shortens the Sales Cycle (B2B)”

    1. 1. Demand Generation:Creating Content That Converts and Shortens the Sales Cycle (B2B) Rachel Foster Fresh Perspective Copywriting @CopywriterTO • #cmworld #cmworld
    2. 2. How I Got Started in ContentMarketing (A True Story) Photo from “Joey Quits” (YouTube video) #cmworld
    3. 3. #cmworld
    4. 4. How I Got Started in ContentMarketing (A True Story) Photo from Glengarry Glen Ross #cmworld
    5. 5. How I Got Started in ContentMarketing (A True Story) Stop Selling. Start Helping. #cmworld
    6. 6. How I Got Started in ContentMarketing (A True Story) #cmworld
    7. 7. The Biggest B2B Marketing Challenge Word cloud designed by Adele Revella, Buyer Persona Institute #cmworld
    8. 8. Key to Success #1:Create Content for Multiple Audiences #cmworld
    9. 9. Key to Success #2:Create Content for Different Stages ofthe Sales Cycle #cmworld
    10. 10. Key to Success #2:Create Content for Different Stages ofthe Sales CycleEarly-Stage LeadsThey need content that educatesthem about their challenges.(blog posts, white papers,case studies, articles, videos or podcasts) #cmworld
    11. 11. Key to Success #2:Create Content for Different Stages ofthe Sales CycleMid-Stage LeadsThey need proof of your ROI sothey can build a business casefor your products or services.(case studies, testimonials, demos, datasheets, brochures, webinars, etc.) #cmworld
    12. 12. Key to Success #2:Create Content for Different Stages ofthe Sales CycleLate-Stage LeadsThey need to see how you stackup against your competitors andhave any doubts addressed.(comparison sheets, customized content, proposals, etc.) #cmworld
    13. 13. Key to Success #3:Discover Your StoryTo create compelling content, you must:1. Discover Your Customers’ Story2. Discover Your Story #cmworld
    14. 14. Key to Success #3:Discover Your StoryIt’s choose-your-own-adventure time!A. DJing for swing dancersB. Indoor campfire singers #cmworld
    15. 15. Key to Success #3:Discover Your Story #cmworld
    16. 16. Key to Success #3:Discover Your Story #cmworld
    17. 17. Key to Success #3:Discover Your StoryHow can you getto know yourcustomersand discovertheir stories? #cmworld
    18. 18. Key to Success #3:Discover Your StoryHow can you discoveryour story? #cmworld
    19. 19. Bonus Key to Success:Don’t Play It Safe #cmworld
    20. 20. Success Story: B+H Architects #cmworld
    21. 21. Success Story: Allstream #cmworld
    22. 22. Summary: 3 Keys to B2B ContentMarketing Success1. Create content for multiple audiences2. Create content for all stages in the sales cycle3. Discover your story (but more importantly, discover your customers’ stories)BONUS KEY: Take risks! #cmworld
    23. 23. Let’s Connectwww.FreshPerspectiveWriting.comB2B marketing blog and resourcesTwitter: @CopywriterTOLinkedIn: Rachel Foster #cmworld