B2B Articles - March 29, 2022
By Chantel Hall, Marketing Content Specialist
The average B2B sales decision involves 11 active members and up to seven occasional participants, each of whom has their own priorities, concerns, and goals.1 During the decision phase of the buying cycle, salespeople have to provide information that addresses each stakeholder’s concerns and helps them make a decision, all at the right time in the process. That’s a lot of potential content for your marketing team to plan and create!
By collaborating with sales and taking a structured, segmented approach to developing content for sales stakeholders, your marketing team can facilitate meaningful conversations with leads without burning up all of the time and budget you have dedicated to content.
An impactful sales enablement content strategy needs input from both marketing and sales. Not only will salespeople be delivering this content directly to stakeholders, but they have direct experience with buying groups at this stage of the sales cycle. Collaboration also allows marketing to help sales frame conversations in a buyer-centric way and continue the messaging in your marketing campaigns through to the decision phase.
In this post, we’ll show you how to work with sales to create a buyer-driven sales enablement content strategy that is efficient, effective, and scalable for both your marketing and sales teams.
Segmenting stakeholders makes your sales enablement content strategy simpler to develop and execute. An efficient way to group stakeholders for content creation is segmenting them by their pain points and value propositions.
While this tends to fall along job functions, that won’t always be the case. Stakeholders are likely to have more than one goal or concern throughout the sales process, and even companies in the same industry will have different stakeholders involved in their buying groups.
For example, since B2B purchases usually have a high price point, discussions around pricing and financial concerns are common during the decision phase. It’s likely that more than one decision-maker will have some concerns about pricing; an IT director may be trying to balance the cost of your product with overall spending on their tech stack, while executives might want to understand your solution’s overall ROI and how it fits into their operating budget. Your marketing team can develop content assets around your product’s pricing, ROI, financing options, etc., and those assets can be used in discussions with any and all stakeholders concerned about price.
Segmenting by pain points will allow your marketing team to develop messaging and content that addresses your buyers’ most common concerns without having to customize individual pieces for different stakeholders or create new content for stakeholders as they join the conversation. This type of segmentation will also allow salespeople to scale up their lead handling more effectively and have productive conversations with stakeholders no matter their role or job title.
Before you start creating new assets for your sales team, take some time to develop messaging around each pain point to ensure the content your marketing team creates is consistent and addresses your buyer’s concerns. Marketing and sales should collaborate here to ensure that the messaging around each pain point gets to the heart of your value proposition and meaningfully addresses stakeholders’ paint points.
As with all marketing and sales messaging, it should be buyer-focused and directly speak to the goals that are important to each stakeholder. For example, building on the example we laid out in the previous section, when you’re developing messaging around financial concerns, messaging like “Our product is the best value for your money” or “Our fee includes features like X, Y, and Z,” don’t provide meaningful information about the value buyers will get from your product. Messaging should be explicit about your value propositions and address stakeholder concerns with information that is meaningful to buyers — not platitudes or marketing fluff.
Your messaging should also need to consider the industry, size, and technological maturity of your prospects and their stakeholders. For example, IT stakeholders at a low-tech manufacturing company will have different pain points and goals than an IT stakeholder at a SaaS company that wants to integrate your product into their software solution.
Sales teams can often provide valuable information on how they overcome the most common stakeholder concerns, and your marketing team can use that information to develop messaging that gets to the core of stakeholder concerns and addresses them in a meaningful way and positions your solution as the best option.
A lot of interactions in the decision phase involve the salesperson educating prospects, providing prescriptive information, and further qualifying leads, so your content should enable and support those conversations. You might think of your content strategy at this phase as creating a digital version of a helpful salesperson — you want to create content that can both be utilized by salespeople in meetings or email conversations and distributed amongst other stakeholders and reviewed independently.
Content during the decision phase should generally be shorter and more personalized, taking into account the conversations the salesperson has already had with stakeholders and building on them.
Templated content is especially useful when you’re building out your sales enablement content strategy. B2B sellers typically have a narrow target audience, and you can use that to your advantage by creating templates for the industries you most commonly serve, different company sizes, and each of your unique offerings. Additionally, templates will help sales and marketing teams streamline content production even when stakeholder content does need to be customized for an uncommon situation or a specific stakeholder.
By using data about your current customers’ path to purchase and the sales team’s experience with overcoming objections, you can create templated content that facilitates conversations between salespeople and stakeholders. These templates can easily be adapted to different buyer groups and scaled up to meet the demand for your product.
Some examples of content templates you might create for this stage include:
Perform a content audit and create a list of the messaging assets you need to create. Working with sales, prioritize content based on their most pressing needs and what can be used most widely and effectively.
Your sales enablement content strategy needs to balance efficiency with effectiveness. Every lead doesn’t need completely customized content written from scratch, but leads seriously considering purchasing should have content served up to them that acknowledges information you’ve already shared and gives salespeople the opportunity to provide additional value. But you also want to ensure that the marketing team’s efficiency doesn’t eclipse the sales team’s need for content that helps them address pain points and overcome objections successfully.
Sales enablement content production should be agile, so focus on high-impact content that takes less time to create and continually refine and iterate on the content that is performing well. Salespeople may find that some content formats aren’t engaging prospects or they may identify additional concerns that need to be addressed with new assets, so make sure there is a forum for salespeople and the marketing team to discuss what’s working, what additional messaging or content is needed, and what changes salespeople are seeing in buyer groups.
This approach to creating sales stakeholder content will help you balance the limits on your marketing team’s budget with the sales team’s need for effective, targeted content. Working together with salespeople, your marketing team will be able to create assets that are both useful and practical without breaking your creative budget.
1Gartner, Engage B2B Buyers in an Uncertain Environment, June 24, 2020
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