Marketing and sales in the B2B space can be an agonizing process, especially if you don’t have a proper marketing strategy in place. Some sales cycles can stretch for years, but we all know how much time you have put in developing your product already, studying the market and developing the valuable solution for market’s needs. Why do buyers take so long to understand the value of your product then? Hey, it’s not your fault. We live in a complex world now, ridden with distractions, and marketing tactics had to evolve to be able to stay effective.
Luckily, right now there is a strategy that allows companies to reduce their sales cycle by marketing to the prospective buyers in a natural way that mimics their their decision-making process. Have a look at this infographic below for a brief overview. As you can see, it is not something you can set up in a day or two, but a good strategy will pay dividends for years and you will be surpised every day how qualified buyers come knocking on your door every month, on demand, with scaringly accurate predictability.
Let’s walk through the entire customer lifecycle and take a look at the types of content that can be a great fit for each stage. We’ll use a fictional company, Mr. Roboto, Inc., to demonstrate how to sell robotic office workers to small businesses with content-driven lead nurturing.
Mapping Content To The Lifecycle
Each stage of the B2B buyer’s lifecycle is unique, and as a marketer, you’ve got to reach your prospects and customers on their own terms throughout their journey, from awareness and interest to consideration, conversion, and expansion.
This is your opportunity to attract the buyer’s attention. Focus on their issues, problems and pain points. Content types might include:
• Social media
• Blog posts
Ideally, you should deliver content from industry experts at this stage as well as your own insights. So, for example, the marketing team at Mr. Roboto might post an invitation on social media like this: “Attend this virtual conference with robotics experts to learn how androids solve staffing issues for innovative companies.”
Capture the attention – and information – of your prospects with content that provides solutions to specific problems. Educate and help them evaluate buying criteria with more in-depth content, including:
• White papers
• Analyst reports
At this stage, the marketing team might send an email: “Join this webinar with experts from Mr. Roboto to see what it takes to successfully implement an all-automaton workforce.”
Now it’s time to demonstrate your brand’s value and show what it’s like to buy from you. Content for consideration might include:
• Product demos
• Data sheets
• Product trials
• Case studies
• Vendor comparisons
• Implementation data
With an increasing amount of insight into their prospects, the marketing team can send content tailored to the interests of prospects. An offer at this stage might be: “Looking for robot contractors? Read this case study to see how a travel agency saved money and improved customer satisfaction by switching to robot workers.”
When prospects actually buy, it’s your job to make the process as easy as possible – and to validate their decision. This kind of content is appropriate here:
• Live and video-based training
• Live and on-demand webinars
• Self-guided training options
• User guides
• Demos of add-on products and services
This is also the time to begin implementation training and offer professional services. For example: “Just for new customers! Watch this video to learn how you can break the bad news to your biological employees.”
Continue the learning process after the purchase and check in often. Provide customers with information on new features, plus upsell, cross-sell, and loyalty campaigns.
• Customer communities
• VIP/advocacy programs
• Newsletters and emails
• Phone calls
• Live and on-demand webinars
At this point, Mr. Roboto’s marketing team might send current customers a newsletter: “Join this webinar to find out how the Robot 3.0 upgrade will affect you. (Spoiler alert: you will be exterminated.)”
Hopefully, this blog post will inspire you to take action and take a first step in transforming your business this year.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
― Sun Tzu
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