The modern buyers are equipped with digital enablers (be it the internet, social media, new mobile apps) and are able to better search the internet and educate themselves about potential products or services to meet their needs. As a result, modern buyers can do a lot on their own during their buying journey, which presents risks of customers or prospects not interacting with your sales people.

Implications

If B2B buyers complete their buying journey and, in the end, select your competitors’ products or services, you missed a sale! Missed realizing additional revenues and related margins. But even worse: this could result in losing a customer forever.

To avoid being left out, a business needs to be actively part of the buyer’s journey and ensure its present during the different stages of this journey. For example:

  • Position your company at the beginning of the buyer’s journey (we exist in a particular product/Service category, when you search us online we are among the top search results, we are referenced properly)
  • Interest stage of the customer
  • Ensure there is a real need (gap / or ‘ouch’ I’m in pain) and that the customer is looking to spend time and energy to find a solution
  • Be there to influence the consideration stage and convince the customer of the benefits of our solution versus other alternatives
  • Impact the final selection stage of the solution selected and put in place

Businesses need to ensure have effective content marketing and relevant tactics that influence the different stages that customers go through as part of their buying journey.

Ensure are effective in ‘what’ a business communicates, ‘to whom’ it communicates and ‘through’ which digital and social media channels. All these steps part of effective content management.

Six key questions to address to help ensure that your content management activities help create gold for your business?

  1. Analyse well who are the customers who buy from your business. What are the different types of buyer profiles your business sells to? How does the profile differ for example for an industrial company if it is selling to a plant manager versus a procurement manager?
  2. Define what are the different buyer personas (each persona being a fictional character, but being a typical representations of real people). Develop personas that describes each buyer in terms of: roles, responsibilities, age range, goals and challenges.
  3. Understand what type of content and through which social channel that this content gets accessed and consumed. What content do your customers and prospects use as part of their buying journey?
  4. Determine what time exists between the consumption of the content and getting the actual sale. Implement your personas across your entire funnel strategy, and let everyone in your organization know who they are — from Marketing to Product Management to Sales to Service.
  5. Understand when do my buyers use content. Is it in the early stages of their buying journey? during or at the end? What does this mean relative to our sales funnel?
  6. When should a sales person start to interact with prospects and what can they do to add value in their interactions? Salespeople can use content and social media to gain back their selling power. Sales people need to find and engage with buyers early on in the process – given that “Approximately 75% of buyers select the sales professional who was first to add value and insight to their journey” (Corporate Vision, Sales for Life).

Companies that implement these six steps can accelerate their speed to more revenues. Content management – integrated with digital Sales and Digital marketing  – can deliver more gold for B2B companies when used well.