If you are only posting stories for people to read, you're only using half of the Internet. Great content should encourage B2B buyers to engage in conversations with your sales teams. Consider your ideal buyers for a moment and try to assess what would motivate them to engage, explore further or even buy.
In a world where the empowered customer controls the buying process and performs their due diligence online by consuming various sources of content. What qualities make content so useful that buyers and influencers want to engage with your sales team? That's exactly what Forrester wanted to find out after they discovered that "50 percent of buyers say much of the content they receive is useless."
They asked what people wanted and buyers responded. In the results from the Forrester survey, here are the top three attributes of credible content from the perspective of a buyer/influencer, along with some suggestions on stocking your library with credible, comment-worthy content.
1. Qualified Expertise
Buyers are just like you. They know the Internet is hungry for content and they have to feed it regularly. Sometimes they don't feel so inspired and they post boring content just to meet a deadline.
According to Corporate Visions, 74% of buyers choose the sales professional that was first to add value and insight. Your sales team should commit to providing value through the buying journey. Consider using third-party sources for content such as Forrester Research, Gartner, CEB or others to leverage their domain expertise. If you can't come up with something useful, repurpose one of your popular blogs as an infographic or video. You can also curate content such as new reports from top industry analysts. Be the expert source that they check on their phones whenever they have a free minute.
Nobody knows how big the Internet is, but World Wide Web Size reported that there were 4.62 billion pages indexed as of April 1, 2016. That's a lot of people talking and most of them saying nothing at all. Separating the facts from the opinions is like finding a needle in a haystack. In light of this, it can be valuable knowing that infographics are shared on social media three times as often as any other type of content. Forrester also reported that 47 percent of potential buyers considered content highly valuable when it was backed by data, while only 11 percent valued content without facts to back it up. Be the needle, not the hay.
On DVRs, they zap ads. On videos, they skip ads. In browsers, they block pop-ups. It seems there's a pattern developing here. Nielsen's Global Trust In Advertising 2015 Report showed that 83 percent of people online trust recommendations from their networks, compared to 47 percent who trust ads in search engines. They want to learn about and try new things, but they want to hear an unbiased review from friends and network connections.
This means that content doesn’t promote (or preach) your brand over and over. Brand-agnostic content helps establish your sales team as thought leaders. Buyers will be able to reference your sales team as a trustworthy source for information.
As information has become more freely available, sales teams become more valuable later in the buying decision.
Give them helpful content about solving a problem early in the relationship and spark conversations. As they narrow down their options, they will want more specific information about what your company does and will ask for success stories about what you've been able to do for others.
This is normally the spot you'd see a call to action, but that doesn't mean you have to jar the reader with a sudden advertisement. You can stay brand-agnostic and use this paragraph to sum up data-driven advice from qualified experts that your buyers have been searching for. You can still motivate them to contact you with their stories. What do you think? Do you have plans to apply Forrester's advice?