In today’s world, content is king. From binge-watching shows on your favorite streaming platform to endlessly scrolling engaging social media feeds, personalized content captivates users and keeps them glued to their devices. We’ve grown accustomed to highly customized, responsive content in our consumer lives and that same standard for consumption has infiltrated the world of B2B buying and selling.
As the demand for personalized buying experiences grows, businesses are looking for ways to meet buyers where they are. For SMBs looking to engage with prospects in a meaningful way, content is your greatest tool. It’s the key to maximizing mindshare and building trust with prospects as they navigate towards making a purchase decision. It can also be the difference between a prospect choosing your business or opting to work with a competitor instead.
If you’re ready to use content to your advantage, here’s what you need to know to boost your one-to-one selling efforts.
The first thing to understand is that buyer behavior has dramatically shifted in the last few years. Before crafting a marketing and sales content strategy, it’s important to recognize some of these critical new buyer characteristics.
- Buyers view every interaction as a calculated investment in time. They’re increasingly busy and used to getting what they want immediately.
- Buyers believe they can find the information they need on the internet and want to research and explore information on their own without the interference of a salesperson.
- If a prospect can’t find what they want or gets overwhelmed with the breadth of information available, they want a concierge to help them get the information they need. And they want this concierge immediately.
- Buyers don’t want to spend time educating a seller, but they want confirmation that the seller understands their objectives and challenges.
- Prospects don’t want to repeat themselves to people or computers, and they don’t respond well to conflicting messages.
While these behaviors are evidence that the buying and selling landscape has shifted, one thing remains constant – the importance and effectiveness of one-to-one interaction. One-to-one marketing and sales approaches use tactics that put you in direct communication with your prospect. You’re using high-touch methods like sending them personal, individualized emails and relevant content to nurture them throughout the funnel.
Prospects typically shift to one-to-one communication as they move further through the sales funnel and closer to the purchase decision. However, in today’s buying journey, prospects often move back up the funnel and require additional one-to-many communication. The communication method comes down to a prospect’s position in the funnel and the actions they’re taking.
Armed with a clear understanding of modern buyer behavior and how your communication style should adapt based on funnel position, you can then start thinking about your content approach.
Today’s B2B buyers now navigate 60-70% of their purchasing journey in digital channels before ever interacting with a company representative. Further, 55% of buyers rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. For marketers and salespeople, that means you need to bring your buyers relevant content to capture their attention.
At the top of the funnel, offer content that helps interested visitors quickly find problems that resemble their own, solutions they can imagine working for them, and satisfied customers who look like them. They need to quickly find pricing information and the material to convince themselves and persuade others on the buying committee. White papers and e-books are great for early-stage research and one-to-many communication.
As prospects move along their journey and require more one-to-one attention and selling, the content becomes increasingly tailored to their needs. Have they shared a particular challenge that they’re trying to solve? Share a case study of how your solution helped another customer with a similar problem. Are they still weighing the pros and cons of investing in your product? Arm yourself with analyst reports that uncover trends and highlight where your solution fits into the future of the industry.
Marketers and salespeople must get at the heart of sales engagement: trust. There’s a big difference between mass personalization and inbound marketing vs. curated information with a digitally-assisted sales approach. By employing curated content in a one-to-one sales environment, teams can build trust with buyers and deliver relevant information in a personalized, personable way that’s impossible through a solely automated system.
Now, let’s explore how.
There are many ways SMB marketing and sales teams could approach content creation and personalization, but it comes down to three things: understanding the buying journey, leveraging data for personalization, and measuring ongoing performance.
While this has already been mentioned, it’s worth a reminder: for SMBs looking to revamp revenue operations, it’s critical to understand how the buying journey has changed in the last few years. The buying journey is no longer linear, so sales teams must be able to navigate between one-to-many and one-to-one communication with prospects seamlessly. When you understand a prospect’s position in the funnel, you can tailor content for optimal impact.
Data is a critical component of your sales tech arsenal, curated content, and supporting personalized outreach. The more individualized you can be in your communications, the more likely your message will resonate with the recipient. Data insights should also be used to nurture buyers with relevant content – whether in group sales or one-to-one interactions. Build a comprehensive database for your customer information and ensure your marketing and sales teams are using one unified data source. Because both teams interact with leads, you’ll need all the data in one place. This positions sales teams to select and share the most relevant content with their prospects.
Set up a measurement system to evaluate how content pieces are working and adjust where needed. If one piece of content isn’t well received, uncover why and apply those learnings to the next one-to-one interaction. Alternatively, if one piece of personalized content helped close a deal with a lead, make note and determine if there are elements of that nurture process that can be replicated in the future. If you have a holistic view of activities and performance, you can determine which marketing tactics and content pieces are directly tied to revenue generation.
Understanding customers has always been the cornerstone of a successful business. By leaning on data, adapting to new buying journeys and heightening personalization, SMBs can meet new expectations and drive the bottom line. Even though buyers are more independent, businesses still hold a lot of influence in the buying process. For marketers and salespeople, many tactics have changed, but it’s opened the opportunity to lean on technology to be more efficient and impactful.short url: