Self-driving leads: How to make content marketing work for your B2B sales funnel

Tech B2B businesses, for all the marketing budget and hours spent on converting leads, can come up woefully lacking in the results department if they don’t fully understand the content requirements needed to convert leads into customers.

Discovery. Consideration. Conversion. These are the key catalysts for audience conversion across the purchase funnel. And the vehicle that drives all of these phases is content. Tech B2B buyers spend more than two-thirds of the purchase cycle engaging with content before they ever decide to speak to a company representative.

And as your prospects progress through the funnel, they need different types of content. Addressing their information search needs at each stage of the cycle. Different in terms of the level of technical depth, type of content, form factor, and more.

But how do you map out content for each point in the sales funnel? Are there specific types of content that work better than most? 78% of B2B marketers believed content marketing was the most effective approach to generating more leads in 2020. And this will remain the case in 2021. For the purpose of this blog, we’ll be talking about how to approach each section of the journey with content marketing at the forefront.

Drive curiosity at the discovery phase

Tech B2B products and services are often niche, highly specialised, and complex. But this doesn’t mean your marketing has to be. At the discovery stage, prospects are thinking about their pain points and probably exploring a wide range of approaches to solve their problem. For example, let’s say you are selling an internet of things (IoT) platform based on satellite connectivity and one of your target verticals is automotive.

At the discovery stage that automotive executive is thinking – ‘How do I take the cars I manufacture and turn them into self-driving cars?’ At this stage, you must think about how your technology solves that particular problem, and your content must set the scene – this is one approach to solve that problem, presenting the solution in a unique and engaging way. So maybe you’d want them to think about how satellite connectivity is a good, reliable option for connectivity. It doesn’t depend on Wi-Fi or swapping SIM cards, it provides blanket connectivity and is cheap, for example. At this stage, remember to keep your content:

  • Informative and educational – how your business addresses a problem?
  • In short-form – engaging blogs or social media posts
  • Highly visual – such as infographic or video

And what about the types of content that work most efficiently at this stage? Here is where content such as social media posts, infographics, video tutorials, and important data figures help build awareness, driving prospect curiosity to find out more about your offering.

Buyers

Fun fact. Before making a purchasing decision, the average buyer engages with 3-5 pieces of content before talking to a sales representative. This means you need to have a bank of content at the ready for leads to engage with. At the consideration phase, prospects are narrowing down their choices and weighing their options. This is where your brand must establish the value of your service or product offering.

Take our automotive executive again. They have narrowed down their choice of IoT connectivity platform but are still considering different options. Here, you can demonstrate your connectivity expertise, competitive price, ease-of-use, or quick time-to-market through detailed, real-world examples and success stories.

At this stage, focus on these types of content:

  • FAQs
  • Video demonstrations
  • Webinars
  • Case studies

These build out the contextual foundations laid down in the previous step and give consumers as many options as possible to understand your service and the value it can bring to solving their pain point.

We find case studies have the most impact on audiences. This was confirmed in our recent Tech B2B report, indicating 68% of content tech B2B marketers plan to create this year will be case studies.

Aim your content to convert

 IoT use cases across the world, like self-driving cars, are driving curiosity and raising awareness of the industry. The content for the discovery and consideration phases acts the same way for converting leads. The heavy lifting has been done but you still need content to tip the scales in your favour and turn leads into buying customers.

Utilise content that:

  • Is highly detailed and demonstrates expertise – such as a whitepaper
  • Includes call-to-actions to encourage leads to get in touch or view a demo
  • Champions previous customer successes – For example, case studies or testimonials
  • Detailed product or service information like a sales presentation, podcast, or webinar
  • Visually engaging “how-to” guides and video tutorials

You’ve built the relationship, you’ve built trust. This is where you need to build value. Customers need to fully understand and accept the value of your offering before fully converting.

Final thoughts

Consumers will be at different stages of the B2B sales funnel, so it’s important to develop tailored content for all stages. To ensure you remain on track and enable future content campaigns, remember to define your content metrics. SEO, website optimization PPC, and other techniques should all be considered to drive overall awareness of the business.

To win over the skeptics, the IoT industry needs to demonstrate its value and build trust.

Content marketing in tech B2B is no different.

Treat your target audience with respect, build trust, demonstrate sector knowledge and value, and prospects will soon become as autonomous as a self-driving car.

Get in touch with us at [email protected] to find out how we can help you to deliver ‘self-driving’ content at each stage of the sales funnel.

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About the Author : Miles Jones


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