Creating Content That SellsOrganizations who align content to the buyer’s journey understand that this is not only a competitive advantage but that content addresses buyer interests and challenges. It helps answer what your buyers want, where they want it and when they’re ready for it. Aligning content to marketing/sales funnel stages is the most widely adopted practice among Best-In-Class marketing teams according to Aberdeen Research. This is to ensure revenue can be attributed to their content marketing efforts.

So marketers, I have a very important question to ask you: do you know if your content is generating revenue for your business? Particularly if you’re about to launch a new initiative to scale content production, you need to pause and evaluate the limitations and opportunities of your current insights factory.

Ask yourself:

  • At what level are you producing content today?
  • Of all your efforts, what is truly trickling down to the Demand Gen waterfall to create net new customers?

The only way you’re going to be able to answer these questions is analyze your current Demand Gen waterfall by looking at your content marketing in two silos:

Silo 1: Original lead sourcing

You need to look at more than just the original source of the lead. Expanding your original lead sourcing means to also evaluate if there is certain content that is triggering new conversations. You need to roadmap your ideal customer profile (ICP). Starting with the ideal customer profiles in your database—roadmap those ICP’s who are being engaged from the beginning based on a piece of content, and based on that engagement, which content warrants starting a conversation, booking a meeting, and ultimately becoming a new customer.

Our greatest original lead source comes from webinars and virtual summits. They trigger awareness of a defined event, and take people from other databases and bring them into our CRM platform to get engaged at the webinar. It’s the first interaction they have with Sales for Life.

You should be analyzing the content consumption path of all of your customers back to that original lead source. At Sales for Life, a third of all our leads come from content marketing. Within that, the majority come from webinars and virtual summits. The remaining two-thirds is sourced on referrals from existing customers, and channel partner referrals.

Silo 2: Lead Influencing

This is also known as lead attribution. It’s a more complex measurement than original lead source, but it’s critical. Here’s why. Every customer is leaving their digital fingerprints all over your content. It’s more complex because it’s not black and white as saying “this customer came because of our webinar.”

Lead influencing shows you that throughout the buying journey—between sales interactions, sales memos, and proposals, buyers are also learning on their own. They’re interacting with your infographics, eBooks, webinars, blogs, and that’s shaping their view of who they want to choose as a potential partner.

So what you need to be doing is pulling apart your best customers and mapping the content consumption story of every one of your buyers. You need to determine:

  • How much content do they consume?
  • Is the content they’re consuming more at the top of funnel vs. bottom of funnel?
  • How many days before or after sales interactions are they consuming content?
  • Are sales interactions triggered by content they’re consuming or vice-versa?
  • What are the best performing pieces of content that appear to be converting these buyers into customers?

By documenting this content consumption story, you realize the diverse influence that marketing and sales have when shaping the buyer’s journey.

Let’s go back to our original question: do you know if content is generating revenue? If you can’t answer silo 1 and silo 2 down to every customer and their content consumption story, you haven’t taken a data-driven approach to your marketing initiatives. The content consumption story tells you which content has the most influence to ultimately create revenue.


Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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