Don’t Just Be a Content Marketer – Stand Out as a Content Navigator
Over the years, we have all witnessed the power shift in the buyer/seller relationship. The education that a buying team requires in order to make a well-informed purchase decision is no longer only generated by sales reps. Instead, it is the information featured in various content and media such as white papers, eBooks and videos that has allowed buying teams to educate themselves and select the vendors with whom they prefer to engage.
Guide IT buying teams with the right content
Now, it isn’t even enough to simply produce a variety of content as it will be lost in the large amount of information buyers readily have at their disposal. Rather, it’s up to the marketers to build accurate personas of the entire buying team and use the right content to navigate them through the maze of evaluating the marketplace, comparing various solutions and selecting the most qualified vendors to feature on their short list. To assist B2B and technology marketers in understanding the dynamics of this process and which content will drive the most influence, TechTarget has produced its latest Media Consumption Report, Guided by content: How IT buying teams navigate through the process.
This report analyzes the demands of IT buying teams and outlines the opportunity for marketers to serve as their true guide through the buying process. It delivers insight into how content can effectively lead the buying team towards a final purchase destination.
Armed with this information, you are are well on your way to becoming a true content navigator and an invaluable resource for your prospects and customers. Here are some tips to help you get started:
3 steps to becoming a true content navigator
1. Identify those who have an IT project by aligning your content to the venues where buyers begin their research
When first identifying a technology problem or need at their organization, IT buyers and their team (often 5+ members for purchases greater than $100K) are highly active in researching and comparing vendors/solutions. In order to get your content in front of those about to begin the buying process, the content must have a presence in the environments in which these teams conduct their research. This will assist you in identifying those buyers with a project that are seeking your guidance. However, many of these environments are those not owned or operated by technology vendors.
During these early stages, only 20% of buyers only visit vendor-owned information sources such as vendor websites. IT publisher websites and IT-related social communities (not social networks) are key venues where buyers look for content to help address their specific needs in their IT project(s). In order to become a true content navigator, you must market your content in all of the venues where buyers are looking for it.
2. Focus on the information your content features, not the media format
When it comes to selecting a piece (or multiple pieces) of content to help research vendors and solutions, don’t fall into the trap of focusing solely on the most popular media types. For buyers in need of content, the media vehicle/format (white paper, eBooks, video, etc.) is not what drives consumption; it is the utility of the information and how relevant it is to the specific needs of the buyer’s project(s). So while you build, design and develop your white papers and case studies, feel inclined to broadcast your message through videos and blogs to start capturing those in need for relevant insight and guidance.
Also the source of the content is not as important as the information featured within it. For instance, 86% of buyers downloaded at least one piece of relevant content that was produced by an unfamiliar vendor. So the more content with relevant information you can produce, the more trusted a navigator you become.
3. When you have navigated buyers to your sales team, the guidance shouldn’t end
Your content has driven the buying team through the various stages of the process and has now led them to your sales reps for a live conversation. It is crucial that you make sure that the conversation between the two groups is productive and, more importantly, not a cold call. Because of your guidance through content, buyers have acquired much knowledge about you and your solution, so your sales rep should know all they can about each buyer at these accounts.
The most effective conversations will be the ones that include an implementation expert or sales engineer to address the technical questions that the buyer will want to ask. For your sales team to have this intelligence, build a detailed profile of the buying team based on the content consumption trends you witnessed while guiding them. Understand what their current infrastructure is and how your solution can integrate into it seamlessly along with what other vendors they are considering so you can accurately deposition them.
There are many more findings in this year’s report that will help marketers emerge as the true content navigator buyers are actively seeking. I encourage you to take a look at the full report. For questions, follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.