buyers what did they want from content?
The results should be no surprise, because it's what we all want .... but what we all want and what marketing delivers often seem to be two different things.
"While content has always been an important part of a strong marketing strategy, it became invaluable during the pandemic. Amidst stay-at-home orders and canceled events, B2B buyers became reliant on online content to stay connected and research potential purchases — and it's a trend that's here to stay."
But look, content is a gold mine, for getting yourself in front of buyers
Another interesting discovery is that most buyers typically spend between five to 30 minutes reviewing nearly all content formats.
"Among the most popular content formats for early stage research were infographics (62%), blogs (58%) and podcasts (56%)."
What does a buyer want from content?
"55% of buyers said they now rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. But digital channels are growing more crowded each day and breaking through the noise requires an adept content strategy carefully crafted with buyer needs and preferences in mind."
1. Curb the sales messaging
In this blog, I go into the reasons, backed by psychologists, why you shouldn't be salesey.
"Of course, not all content is created equal. When asked what makes a piece of content memorable and triggers buyers to take a sales call, respondents again voiced the importance of research. More than half (51%) said the content should use data and research to support its claims, while 41% said the content itself should be research-based."
"Another common theme was the desire to share the content with the buying team. A staggering 49% of respondents said the content must tell a strong story that resonates with their buying committee and 41% said the content should be packed with shareable stats and quick-hitting insights."
2. Create shorter pieces
"B2B buyers say they tend to find shorter content such as infographics and blog posts most valuable early in the buying process."
Nobody reads white papers. If I give you a 300 word blog you will read it now, if I give you a 2,000 world white paper, you will file it away to read another day.
3. Buyers want to share content internally - Create content at is shareable
"As buying committees expand, B2B executives are increasingly seeking out content that they can share with other members to drive alignment around purchasing goals and decisions. According to the survey results, the top content formats that buyers share with their colleagues include research/survey reports (45%), E-books (43%), webinars (42%) and case studies (40%)."
When asked about the key drivers for sharing content, respondents said it is important that the content:
- Includes relevant/shareable links that can be shared immediately (48%)
- Is packed with shareable stats and quick-hitting insights (42%);
- Tells a strong story that resonates with the buying committee (41%);
- Is ungated and easy to share with colleagues (37%); and
- Will influence peers/other internal stakeholders on the buying team (34%).
Among content-sharing platforms, LinkedIn was cited as the most popular for sending relevant content to colleagues or other members of the buying committee, with usage up from 71% last year to 76% in 2022. Email closely followed, jumping from 66% to 71%. Internal collaboration platforms, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, also rose in popularity, climbing from 40% in 2021 to 45% in 2022. Meanwhile, content sharing declined on both Twitter (43% to 39%) and Facebook (43% to 36%).
"An effective content marketing strategy requires much more than just getting the message right. B2B marketers must also be tuned into changing buyer expectations regarding content format, length and style.
The 2022 Content Preferences Survey Report reveals that today’s buyers crave high-quality, easy-to-access content that is backed by data and filled with quick-hitting insights, with webinars and research reports among the most popular content formats right now.
and relevance are also key to creating the types
of content that buyers will not only want to
consume, but also share with the rest of their
buying committee, bringing vendors one step
closer to conversion."
About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 174 executives (manager level and above) who work for B2B firms across a wide range of industries, including technology, professional services, and business services.
Published on May 10, 2022"
Now Imagine .....
Imagine, I pick you up tomorrow in my car and drive you to a place which is full of your prospects and customers. All you have to do is go up and have a conversations with them.
Remember, social media is, social media. In the past you interrupted somebody with a cold call or an email and pitched your services. As social media is being social on media, interrupting and pitching does not work.
If I walked up to you at a social event and pitched, you would make your excuses and go and talk to somebody else.
So how about tomorrow, I pick you up in my car and we go to a place where all your prospects are hanging out. You can stay as long as you want. All you have to do is have a conversation with them. It's that simple, if you are interested, read on.
What is social selling?
Here at DLA Ignite, we define social selling as
"Using your presence and behavior on Social Media to build influence,
make connections, grow relationships and trust, which leads to
conversation and commercial interaction."
It's not witchcraft, it's enabling your salespeople to work from home, (or the office) and create conversations with prospects and customers. Conversations on social media and conversations that convert.
The problem with the name "social selling" is that people think that this is selling on social. All these pitches that you get on social are not social selling, they are spam.
The other thing you need to know about social selling is that this isn't about "putting out some videos" or "putting flowers on your profile" or "going viral" this is about revenue, EBITDA, you winning business from the competition and having a competitive advantage.
With anything you do on social there are two questions you need to ask
2. How much revenue / EBITDA am I getting as a business?
So who's social selling?
In case you missed it, the Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch have banned cold calling and have moved all their people to social selling. This isn't some trendy tech company that might have decided to do this on a whim, this is a very conservative financial services company that has made a decision based on data.
But surely cold calling has a better ROI than social selling? Not according to Merrill Lynch.
"They will also be encouraged to contact prospects over LinkedIn, which has a higher hit rate than cold calling"
“Social selling is not an option now it is the way of the world and you either learn and execute it or fear getting left behind”
Kevin Murray who is the Head of Sales at MacArtney Underwater Technology recently posted about his success with social selling here and wrote an article about the transformation that has happened in sales here.
Andrew Ferrier who is the CEO of Display Technology Ltd and in this article it talks about why Display Technology have adopted social selling. His team have also created a social media strategy with help from our partner, Crux.
Their social media mission statement is
“We want to position ourselves as a forward-thinking, knowledgeable team of individuals who are all experts in our own right, therefore, collectively awesome!”
Andrew also says in that post
"Adopting this (social selling) strategy has taken all of us well outside of our comfort zones but the rewards we have seen in a short period of time have created an excitement within the business development team (new term for sales team).
Because of the nature of social media, quite often you can get instant results. Even if that is just a comment left on your post, or a like, or someone taking the time to want to connect with you.
The excitement around the sales team is infectious, it’s no longer a chore to reach out to the market place because the results can be instant and are there, right in front of you."
What sort of results can you expect?
If you check out this video of Chris Mason CEO at Oracle reseller Namos, and DLA Ignite customer, fast forward to 19 minutes 55 seconds. Chris talks about a $2.6 million win from being on social, after completing the DLA Ignite social selling and influence course.
What happened? They buyer was on social media looking for a solution to their problem, spotted one of the Namos salespeople, who had a buyer-centric profile and asked if the salesperson could help them. That turned into a $2.6 million deal.
Go and look at their LinkedIn profiles .... look how they can have digital conversations, create insightful content. This could be your company!
We are the only social selling and influence company in the world to offer a certificate in social selling sponsored by the Institute of Sales Professionals (ISP).
Other articles you might be interested in ....
Articles for the CEO
Articles for Sales leadership
Can programmatic social selling sort my pipeline issues?
Articles to support sales people - sales process and sales tips
Can I use prospect sequencing with social selling?
Articles to support channel and third party selling
Articles to support Account Based Marketing / Account Based Selling - ABM - ABS
Articles about Employee advocacy
Articles for Marketing
Our VP of Sales Just got 83 likes on a LinkedIn post, so that means we are social selling? No!
Should you outsource your social media?
Articles for social procurement
Articles for the CFO and Finance
The report was based on data from a survey of 174 executives (manager level and above) who work for B2B firms across a wide range of industries, including technology, professional services, and business services. Some 39% of buyers say they'd recommend B2B vendors curb the sales messaging in order to improve content quality, and 37% say they'd recommend B2B vendors create shorter content.