Streamlined content marketing throughout the b2b customer journey

Attention has become a decisive currency for success in globalised competition – also in B2B marketing. Today’s decision-makers are confronted with an extreme variety of stimuli – which come unsolicited. With classic marketing instruments and cold sales methods, it is increasingly difficult to stand out from the background noise and reach potential customers sustainably. However, in order to reach the relevant set of your target group – i.e. the selection of providers and suppliers who could be considered for a possible purchase – it is crucial to provide the user with the right information at the point and time when he is searching for it himself. With a sophisticated content marketing strategy.

In this way, you are not perceived as a disrupter, but as a competence authority that creates added value. On the other hand, the quality of your content must meet the high demands of your target group and be clearly tailored to the respective needs of your user at the respective point in time in the customer journey. Effective content marketing in the B2B business therefore means: the right information in the right depth at the right time. In order for this to succeed, a basic understanding of the b2b customer journey is essential.

customer journey levels in content marketing

1. awareness stage

At the beginning of his journey, you cannot yet assume that your user has a concrete intention to buy. That’s why you shouldn’t frighten him with overly advertising content. At this point he would first like to get an overview of the topic with its opportunities and risks. And he tries to figure out basic solution options for a challenge he is currently dealing with. As unspecific and undirected as the interest is at this point in time, it is precisely there that it is worthwhile to reach the user with your content. Because at this point you shape his awareness for the further occupation with this topic. In this way, you can focus the user’s attention at an early stage on those aspects in which you know how to shine with your solution. At the same time, you position your brand as a credible opinion leader and win the trust of your potential customers.

2. consideration stage

Your user has gained a basic understanding of the topic and is now looking for concrete solution options. But be careful: he is not automatic to search for specific providers! For example, a sales manager might already have realized at this point that he can increase the efficiency of his team through more structured customer data. Now he is looking at what the implementation of a powerful CRM system would mean for him. However, the question of which software provider he finally decides on does not play a major role for him at this point. With the help of more in-depth content, you are increasingly pointing out concrete possible solutions. Prove a real understanding of the challenges your potential customer is facing. In this way, you embed your brand in your user’s mind as a value-added provider and finally in his relevant set.

3. transaction stage

At this point your user searches for concrete product information as a basis for the purchase decision. Compact and concrete. If you have acted smartly in the first two phases, your prospective customer will pay particular attention to the aspects that you have previously established as important when making the purchase decision. However, even in this phase, it is essential that you keep the focus on the customer. In your communication, concentrate not only on the features of your offer, but above all on the tangible advantages that result for your customer. Through the trust you have gained in your brand in advance and the concrete buying interest, your sales department can now exploit these leads particularly efficiently and conclude the deal.

4. binding stage

Do not consider the customer journey completed after a successful sale. By continuing to provide your customers with useful content – now also via targeted dialogue media – you are laying the groundwork for promising upselling potential. And promote long-term customer loyalty. Continue to build trust in your brand so that you benefit from your long-term investment in this customer.

Content Marketing along the customer journey needs understanding

In order to be able to address your target group in the respective phases of the customer journey, you need to gain a real understanding of your (potential) customers on two levels: You have to internalize the challenges they face on a daily basis and for which your offer can represent a solution, either directly or indirectly. And you need to know which phase of the customer journey your user is in. Signals about acute trigger events help you to draw conclusions about the current status of a company in the purchase decision process. You can read how Implisense Pro can help you use them for your marketing in a previous post on our blog.

Help to shape the decision-making process of potential customers from the very beginning and benefit from a noticeable simplification of work in sales. With an integrated content marketing strategy, you guide prospective customers through the entire B2B customer journey to a successful deal.

5 theses on B2B sales people of the future

The fact that the information and purchasing behaviour of customers in an increasingly digitized business world is changing essentially, has probably not escaped any sales department by now. In many places, however, there is less clarity regarding the question of how sales should best adapt to these changed and constantly changing conditions. We have formulated five theses that describe what the sales people of the future will look like.

Sales people of the future: Woman on the phone with mobile phone

Thesis 1: Sales loses information supremacy

Much of the information that the customer previously only learned in conversation with a sales representative is now available to him at all times. All the essential nominal data of a product are just a few clicks away. And they can often be evaluated more efficiently by the customer in this way than a conversation with the sales representative. Today’s sales people have to deal with much better informed customers – and with the resulting increased expectations of the conversation. Because the added value of the conversation for the customer can no longer be created by pure information. Instead, sales people of the future will have to offer much more strategically specific solutions. This requires in-depth knowledge of the customer.

Thesis 2: The sales people become customers’ experts

Today, sales people are often primarily experts for their product. But with the loss of information supremacy this is worth less and less. In order to meet the increasing demand of customers for noticeable added value, sales people of the future will have to become experts for their customers. In order to be able to offer truly innovative solutions, it is necessary to have a deep understanding of the processes and, in particular, of the customer’s challenges. The guiding principle: “Know your customer” will become dramatically more important.

Thesis 3: Sales people become supporters in the purchasing process

Given the much deeper insights that the sales people of the future will gain about their customers, they will increasingly become the customer’s representatives in the company. Instead of a salesperson who is fully focused on the conclusion and distribution of an existing product, the salesperson’s self-image is increasingly turning into a supporter of the customer in the purchasing process. And this is a tremendous opportunity! Because by bringing the real and relevant needs of the customers into the company, the products and solutions can be tailored more effectively to them. With sales – assuming a corresponding corporate culture – the entire company becomes a problem solver for the customer.

Leuchtschrift "Data" vor Fenster mit Blick auf Hochhäuser

Thesis 4: Data will be the decisive resource in sales

Technology is still seen more as a competitor than an opportunity by some sales departments. One reason for this is often the fact that too many companies still relate the digital transformation too closely to marketing. And some formerly original sales tasks are now integrated into marketing as a result of technology. But also and especially sales people need to be trained in how to use these technologies. In order to be able to fulfil the new role of the sales people in this form, data becomes a decisive resource. Only with the help of comprehensive data can the deep insights into the needs and challenges of customers be gained, which will enable sales people of the future to become experts and find solutions.

Thesis 5: Sales people can spend more time on their customers

Finally, the good news: What sounds like a lot of additional work in sales up to now, is in reality simply a different job. Many simple administrative tasks are increasingly being taken over by technology – even in sales. As a result, employees are gaining more and more time to focus on their customers. Technological change is neither a blessing nor a curse for sales. It is an inexorable fact to which we have to adapt evolutionarily. However, this will not succeed with isolated individual activities, but only by completely rethinking the role of sales and by fundamentally adapting the DNA of the sales work in the company. Then the sales people of the future will become a key growth driver.

Become an expert for your customers with Implisense Pro’s daily updated data records. The app as well as the new user-friendly Premium Reports provide you with hundreds of data points on your customers and leads – far beyond the usual master data. Your start into the sales of the future.