Four things you must do to spark a relationship with a prospect before they consider buying from you.
Did you know…
59% of buyers prefer to do research online instead of interacting with a sales rep because the rep pushes a sales agenda rather than helps to solve a problem.
B2B buyers are 5X more likely to engage with a sales professional who provides new insights about their business or industry.
We hear it time and again these days–the business landscape is changing. Buyers are more in control. So, why are enterprise marketing teams that target the SMB buyer still struggling to succeed with content marketing?
In our experience, it’s because large companies are finding it difficult to create stickiness from their content. That’s because the content being produced is mediocre and often product focused. The reality is that SMB buyers are busy people with challenges of their own. They must navigate change across all aspects of their business–from HR to Marketing to IT to Finance. Therefore, they tend to turn outside of their organizations for innovative ideas and solutions.
So, the big question here is, are SMBs turning to your company for help? If not, you are missing out on new customers and the revenue that comes with them. SMBs (and other B2B companies) need ideas as much as they need solutions. In fact, their research often starts with a question before they ever consider purchasing a solution.
For example, some typical questions in the life of an SMB buyer might be:
- How can I speed up the collection of my receivables?
- Do I need to update my logo?
- Am I compliant with new state labor laws?
- Does my office have the right network setup so that my people are working efficiently?
This is why content can be so powerful and matters as much as your product does. Content can differentiate your company in a way that products rarely can. By offering the SMB buyer information that they are seeking, you will make your company relevant to them and take the first step to becoming a trusted resource. Once you are a trusted resource, getting the SMB buyer to take the next step and become your customer is that much easier.
Here are four tenets of impactful content programs that we have seen transform the performance of enterprise marketing teams targeting the SMB Buyer:
- Have relevant, valuable, and functional content for SMBs
As mentioned, SMBs are working to build a business for themselves and are very busy. They need to be aware of pertinent best practices as well as how to stay ahead of market dynamics. If you want to be a part of their trusted community, then you need to have content that is meaningful to them. Content such as best practices, FAQs, how-to’s, and other tips that they will find when researching a topic aligned with your business and its products and services. It needs to be objective, sound advice if you expect them to turn to your company when they are ready. (Read more on functional content here.)
- Create POV-changing content that establishes your expertise
We all have preconceived notions about products, solutions, and brands. You can spend a lot on advertising and never change the majority of your audience’s mind about your brand or product. Buyers, especially business owners, are jaded and savvy to the techniques we marketers have employed in the past. What they want and respond to, according to CEB, is content that changes their POV.
- Integrate your content into your product pages and vice versa
A potential buyer that has made it to one of your product pages could be anywhere on the buyer’s journey. Statistically speaking, most won’t be ready to buy. What do you want them to do next? Having content on a topic related to your product on your product page gives them an option other than checking out your competitor. If you are concerned that you might be taking someone away from the sale, don’t be. Those who are ready to buy will buy. But the majority are not ready to buy. This method gives you an opportunity to nurture your customer. Find more on getting your website visitors to take action here.
- Train your sales team on how to use the content to accelerate sales
A marketer’s job doesn’t stop at creating content and turning over leads. It is in your best interest to make sure the sales team knows how to use the content you’ve created, has sales enablement materials aligned with the content created, and has been continuously trained on the method you’ve outlined. A sales rep that is a solution provider and a trusted resource is going to capture the attention of a prospect earlier and make a better impression. Content is only fully utilized when the rep understands it, and can share and explain it to customers and prospects, which differentiates the rep–and your company–and provides value. All content should come with a guide that includes highlights along with questions that reps should ask related to the topic at hand.
Today all marketers know that they need to “do content”. The ones that will be winning aren’t just doing content–they are putting as much into their content as they are into their products.
To hear more about the changing face of content marketing, you can watch Beyond Engagement: 4 Steps to Turning Digital Visitors into Customers here.