5 things B2B Decision Makers Want from Your Content
With B2B buyers now more in control than ever of their own information consumption, and subsequently far less dependent on sales reps to get hold of any required product information, brands must produce content that sells itself. The reality is, first impressions are key, and even if you’re successful in driving quality traffic to your website, your content must be able to persuade potential buyers of your value, and that you’re worth further consideration. All in a matter of seconds.
CMI’s recent study into the B2B buying journey, provided insight from over 100 business and IT executives in various industries, as to which resources they consult to guide their purchasing decisions, and what they require from a B2B vendors content.
Here are the five things your content should address in order to provide value and increase your chances of sales conversions.
Emphasise the impact of your solution on their business
In addition to competing with your competitors for sales, it’s extremely likely that you will be competing with other projects for limited resources within your prospect’s organisation. Getting the buyer on side doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a closed sale, and you must help them build a business case for change, in order to convince the decision makers of the importance of your solution.
In certain instances, B2B decision makers won’t always be aware of the problem your solution addresses, and you must make it clear how this problem has a significant impact on their business, and how fixing it enables the business to save costs or mitigate risk. You should weigh the positives and negatives of fixing the problem versus doing nothing, and you must also provide proof of the value of your solution, demonstrating ROI through case studies.
Less isn’t just more, it’s necessary
It is likely that you will have an individual’s attention for only 3-7 seconds, meaning you have roughly 90 words to maintain their attention and make enough of an impact to convince them that your solution is worth further consideration.
This requires the short-form messages on both your homepage and product pages to be concise and compelling enough to convince any potential buyers to invest more time researching your solution, but to achieve this you must know for certain what it is they’re looking for in the first place. Consider interviewing your audience to generate insights including; what do they look for in a solution and vendor, which criteria they use to compare, what impact each has on their business, how they evaluate vendors, and ultimately how they decide which vendor to select.
Provide in-depth product information
The further a B2B buyer gets in their decision making process, the more robust marketing materials they require, to help them understand the breadth and depth of your offering, as well as your capabilities as a company. Failing to provide this in-depth product information significantly limits your chances of making the short-list.
Using the insight generated by speaking with your audience and customers, you should address how your solution meets each criterion, why you do it better than your competitors and how you back up your claims with proof points.
It’s important not to overwhelm any potential buyers with information they don’t require, so you therefore consider providing clear navigation on your pages, enabling individuals to drill down on each criterion, as and when needed.
Include a Criteria Overview on your product page, opening with a brief value proposition, followed by a list of the buyer’s criteria that your product or service addresses. Each criterion should link to a dedicated page that explains exactly how your product or service meets their criteria, and why yours is the best approach. Each claim should be supported using industry research product metrics and customer proof points, including the benefits they’ve experienced and their ROI of using your solution.
You should further provide an in-depth explanation with technical details, of how your solution addresses their problems and meets their criteria. This is the most appropriate time to place your in-depth product information behind a registration wall, in order to generate quality leads. It’s important to accommodate information preferences and time constraints throughout, by providing content in different formats and lengths.
Produce case studies that go beyond stating the benefits
Detailed and relevant case studies play a significant part in convincing potential customers of your capabilities as a company, as well as the capabilities of your products or services. Your case studies must be able to demonstrate not only the benefits of using your solution, but also whether your solution is applicable to their business using the resources available to them.
When interviewing your audience, you should also try to gage what their key business goals were and what prevented them from achieving these goals. You should also enquire whether there was a specific reason for wanting to address this problem, their expectations for once they had implemented the solution and what people, business processes and systems were affected. It will also help to understand some of their challenges they had to overcome, their reasons for selecting the vendor they did and both the tangible and intangible benefits and ROI they have seen since implementing the solution.
This deep insight will enable you to produce detailed and relevant case studies that prove your value as a vendor.
Help sell your solution to internal stakeholders
B2B purchasing decisions don’t tend to be made by an individual, and depending on the urgency of the problem your solution addresses, the buyer may need to market the idea of your solution to internal stakeholders, and persuade them exactly why there’s a need for it. By contextualising messages at different levels, you are able to add significant value to the sales process.
Through your tailored content, you should explain how exactly your solution adds value to industry-specific business processes, channels and customer segments. You should also reinforce how exactly you solution and the problem it addresses is linked to a broader business objective of the company, and how your solution can achieve it, as well as addressing the specific priorities, requirements and concerns of the departments affected by the problem. Finally, you should appeal to the intellect and emotion of an individual, by explaining how solving the problem will benefit the individual’s professional life.
Mike Maynard is Managing Director at Napier. Napier is a B2B technology PR and marketing agency, with over 30 years’ experience planning and implementing creative campaigns for companies in the IT, Electronics and Engineering sectors. Follow Mike on Twitter @Mike_Maynard