Boston Consulting Group’s recent report Building an integrated marketing and sales engine for b2b reported that not only are b2b buyers much further down the path of making a decision before they engage with a sales rep (two thirds according to Google and CEB) but a content-driven approach is needed more than ever since a lot of the research can be conducted online.
Taking the sales funnel on the left (below) from the report, digital content is required at every stage if your b2b buyers use the internet. Even during a purchase stage, it is entirely possible that your buyer is reviewing competitors' value-added insight when they are not in the room with you so you must keep providing this yourself.
So what does this content look like and how do you create it? Another reputable brand, Edelman PR, has just released the their2020 Thought Leadership Impact Study. Once again content needs to be:
- From a trusted source
The results of this are promising for sales, those that produce high quality versus lower-quality thought leadership will achieve a higher sales impact:
Combining this, it is apparent that there is a need to engage your potential buyers earlier in their sales process online and to do this you need content that will connect with them, their challenges, industry and importantly come from someone with expertise in that domain.
Today's B2B buyers do things differently than their predecessors - all the way through the purchase process. Understanding their changing behavior, particularly in their use of online and mobile channels is the critical starting point for B2B companies. In this new paradigm, buyers are much further down the path of making a decision before they engage with a sales rep. Companies that do not engage customers effectively online are at risk of listing opportunities before they are even aware they exist.