Our new survey on disruption in B2B sales and marketing processes has thrown up many insights but perhaps one of the most significant is the value marketers now give to content creation.
Brands as publishers
Not so long ago, B2B content meant a few pieces of product information for the sales team to use – brochures, competitor comparisons, how it works, testimonials etc. In 2018, brands are acting more like a traditional publisher would do – creating high volumes of content, in many formats, in an attempt to win the interest, respect and trust of would be buyers.
In B2B, it’s insightful content that builds trust – that’s what buyers are looking for. As such, a high priority for B2B marketers is content that provides thought leadership and also education across a wide range of relevant topics.
And within this, readers don’t necessarily want to hear companies banging their own drum. One of the insights from our survey is that B2B marketers are creating content without an immediate sales angle at all – designed to engage, not sell.
What keeps buyers awake at night?
One of the trends we’re seeing is towards B2B content that addresses the issues that keep buyers awake at night – the issues that are disrupting and impacting the jobs of people like them within organisations. It’s the sort of information that will be useful at meetings and help build their reputation as a thought leader in their own right, within their own organisations.
Content for the buyer journey
Whilst it’s true that buyers are less reliant on sales people for product information, there is an opportunity for sales people to reach out at different points of the customer journey if sufficient interest is being shown in the content produced. The order of content consumption on a buyer journey needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt. Ultimately it’s impossible to tell if they’re going to buy until you have a coffee with them, so there’s scope to ‘hack’ the journey at any point. The trick is to know when.
Digital sales people
The transformation of the traditional B2B sales person to a ‘digital sales person’ is challenging though. With so many digital tools available, to a large extent the sales process now comes down to good task management. It’s a radical change in working and convincing long established sales departments of the value of new ways of working, and learn and adopt them is not easy. But more of that in a future blog.
Video on the rise
On a final note, in our survey, we were seeing a lot of interest in video as a sales format – many marketers see that as a format for the future, spearheading the traditional raft of blogs, ebooks, infographics and webinars.