B2B marketers are under increasing pressure to create and deliver valuable ‘thought leadership’ content. As the buyer lifecycle has changed, we’re seeing a tsunami from ‘brochureware’ towards expert articles, WPs, blogs, infographics, videos and other content to support nurture marketing through the earlier stages of extended buying cycles, and subtly impress your brand on professional purchasers via social media and industry forums.
To create this content, engaging the Sales team and getting their input is critical. Some Marketing teams think they can go it alone, but they are usually removed from the target audience, however much they think their analysis/theories/assumptions make them experts. This said, Sales are often pressed for time – so getting their input is hard, but essential to success. One way to convince them it’s worth the effort is the promise of sales tools they can use to help progress their leads!
For many B2B organisations, competitive difference lies in the expertise of their people – and the best way to share this expertise is to ‘bottle’ and distribute it in a variety of forms across a variety of channels. This doesn’t demand a lot of these experts’ time; skilled content developers can conduct a short conversation with an expert or take a series of dot-points, then turn them into an engaging ‘point of view’ or opinion piece that can potentially be published as an article, SlideShare, blog, or developed (with additional research) into a white paper or infographic. One of our clients describes this surprisingly easy process in this video.
Importantly, the process of creating valuable content for marketing to potential customers has the added benefit of making it readily usable at the coal-face: supporting the Sales team in progressing their own efforts, and educating them in different approaches to market challenges. These dual-purpose assets now constitute the largest proportion of Green Hat’s communications practice deliverables.
So, the next time you’re assessing the ROI on creating content, consider the value it can deliver to your sales team – both in terms of their own empowerment, education and confidence in your organisation, as well as their ability to use it to engage with their own contacts and progress their prospects towards a sale, whether face-to-face, via email or social media.
Caroline Leslie has over 30 years’ experience in B2B marketing and bus dev, and has led Green Hat’s content and communications practice since the company’s inception in 2001. Keep up with Caroline by connecting with her on LinkedIn.