This guest post by David Sroka, President and CEO of Point of Reference, for the CEB Leadership Council follows right in the footsteps of my recent posts on B2B content targeted with both ideal company profiles and your product or service audience personas. David outlines quickly and concisely using the right content at the right stage of the buying cycle. Also, check out a post I wrote a few days ago about how much work this can actually be with multiple personas and multiple stages in the buying cycle – Content Marketing’s Dirty Little Secret — And How Curation Can Help.
Here it is…
The marketing department in B2B firms is typically responsible for producing “evidence” of satisfied customers in the form of case studies, quotes, press releases and videos. This customer content has plenty of uses and users, but arguably, the heaviest consumer is the sales force. Like other marketing “investments,” there’s an imperative to make decisions that garner the biggest bang for the buck. So how should the marketing department decide how to spend its finite budget when it comes to sales-accelerating assets like customer content? Start by considering the current range of available content relative to where it’s needed in the sales cycle. For instance, press releases and one-page success stories are perfectly appropriate early on in the sales cycle, but less meaningful and effective in the middle to later stages. Full ROI case studies, often 5-10 pages in length, are overkill for the early stages when buyers are merely tire kicking.
To provide a framework for this approach we created a tool to help you link various content types to various sales stages: