It seems like everyone is talking about B2C and B2B content marketing. Marketers, sales reps, and business owners are becoming aware of the many benefits of propagating fresh and relevant digital content. But perhaps the most important content marketing benefit is the impact on the sales cycle. A relevant piece of content available to the prospect at the right time in the sales cycle, can accelerate the purchase decision.
Digital Content Shortens B2B Sales Cycle
What types of digital content shorten the B2B sales cycle? Here are a few ideas:
- Product Brochures and Data Sheets. Prospects will want to review your product or services literature before making the purchase decision. Perhaps they have made the emotional decision to purchase and are looking to confirm this by matching features and functions against their needs. They may also be comparing your benefits and features against competitive offerings. Either way, it behooves you to have well-organized and complete product and services information.
- Company and Product Reviews. Your offer may sound viable and the features and functions match the prospect requirements. But the impact of all the other information you provide will be magnified if you have lots of testimonials and independent reviews available. In fact, anything you offer the prospect to alleviate the fear of making a bad decision can help shorten the sales cycle.
- Case Studies. We love to produce case studies because they are excellent tools to show how a product or service works in their specific vertical or horizontal domain. This specialized content can have a much greater impact on prospects than a generic product pitch.
- “How To” Guides. Potential purchasers have a great interest in how they will install your product and use it on an ongoing basis. Assuming your product is not overly complicated – providing this information will help motivate prospects to act more quickly.
- Price Lists. We often have lively discussions with clients about posting their prices online. Companies hesitate to do this because they are afraid it will chase away prospects and because competitors will have access to this information. Both concerns are valid but should be balanced against the benefits.
- Order Forms. The order form is the ultimate way to shorten the sales cycle since it compels the prospect to take action now. Even if your product or service is high ticket (expensive) or complex, the order form can be used to generate a minor close. A good example of this is the free trial offer, where you are asking for a small commitment now, to be followed by a larger commitment later. We have used this approach successfully for equipment, software, and service offerings.
- Website Information. All of the content categories mentioned above, plus others, should be available on your website. We like to think of the website as Command Central when it comes to educating, motivating, and converting prospects into customers.
Keep in mind that some of the above digital content items can be offered in non-text formats like graphics, audio, or video. When it comes to shortening the B2B sales cycle, there is no right or wrong when it comes to content length. The point is to get the information to the prospect in the most easily and quickly digestible manner possible. Brevity is often better than comprehensive content, but do make sure that you have links from the summary to detailed information.
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