Digital B2B Marketing: Create A Content Strategy For Long Sales Cycles

blog author
Sam Swiech
Content Marketing Manager

High tech product and service sales don’t happen quickly.

They almost always require companies to manage long sales cycles involving careful nurturing at each stage of the process.

More and more, B2B––high tech or otherwise––are relying on web leads as the primary source of potential customers.

Considering the company website has become the go-to place for those looking to learn about a specific product or service, companies that develop a content strategy targeting their ideal buyers are the ones who are moving up search engine result listings, getting their content shared and talked about through social media, and ultimately attracting the kinds of qualified leads sales teams can work with closely.

The trick is, while just about anyone can create a piece of content, it takes a well-planned strategy to ensure it’s exactly what B2B prospects will find useful enough to seriously consider in the face of competitors trying to do the same thing.

Let’s dive into what exactly goes into a B2B content strategy and more importantly, why it makes a difference to potential customers.

Engaging high tech B2B customers through top-of-funnel content

Long buying cycles require sales and marketing to dish up content appropriate for each stage of the process.

While managing the entire buying cycle is essential to generating customers, the task of the content marketer is just as much about educating as it is about communicating the value of a particular product.

In the end, a well-designed B2B content strategy should read like a curriculum––delivering a wide-range of industry knowledge that demonstrates your expertise, shares insights from authoritative figures, and describes solutions to common problems.

Tailoring content to the decision-makers

B2B executives expect more than surface-level insights––they want the solutions to their company’s problems laid out in front of them.

In fact, according to last year’s CMO Council and NetLine survey of B2B decision makers around the world, over half of the respondents (58%) said content played a part in purchasing decisions when it led them to find real solutions.

Similarly, the study found that 38% of decision makers were swayed to buy after reading content that presented new industry ideas.

What’s the takeaway here?

Content strategies that address the needs of decision makers will ultimately fare better than those that turn their websites into virtual brochures.

The best way to start targeting your content around these executives is to lay out the problems you think these customers are facing and connect the dots with content explaining how your product speaks directly to those issues.

Mapping your content to each stage of the cycle

With solution-based content ideas in mind, the next step is deciding where that information needs to get delivered during the sales cycle. Recent findings from Pardot show that three-quarters of B2B buyers prefer different content at each stage of the research process. It generally breaks down like this:

Pre-sales

The company blog is your strongest tool to utilize during the initial discovery phase. Usually found when searching for relevant information in search engines, regular blogging improves web visibility and provides readers with a variety of topical information designed to send them into the initial sales phase.

Initial sales

This is your chance to deliver more in-depth content prospects can use to understand the problems your product solves and what it has accomplished for other companies in the past.

Whitepapers, eBooks, and case studies are your most powerful assets here.

Mid-sales

Prospects at this stage should be considered serious contenders looking for highly detailed information. For high tech B2B, this usually comes in the form of detailed technology guides written for industry professionals to understand.

The final stage of the cycle is less about new kinds of content offers and more about how they plan to implement it within their business. This is where your sales team needs to shine brightest.

The bottom line here is simple: High tech B2B requires companies market themselves directly to the decision-makers who hold the power to make a purchase.

While there’s tons of content out there for them to absorb, its those who create a strategy designed around communicating solutions to specific problems that ultimately attract the attention of serious buyers.

Interested in learning more about the finer points of B2B content marketing, high tech B2B marketing or digital B2B marketing in general? Check out our free eBook: Creating Content That Converts: The Complete Guide To Content Marketing

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