In B2B marketing organizations, content marketing aims to help buyers buy. Right?
Content marketing provides the information buyers need to determine the type of solution they need, develop internal support for a change, create a short list of providers and address objections, all while positioning your company as a trusted resource.
Wow, that sounds amazing. But is your content really what stood between a prospect and a purchase?
I had the opportunity to speak with Sharon Drew Morgen a couple times recently. Each time I came away thinking we can do so much more.
If you don’t know who Sharon Drew is, she is the creator of Buying Facilitation and has written multiple books delving into how and why businesses buy, including the behind-the-scenes issues that sales, content and marketing automation often do not address today.
So before you start creating more content to move prospects through your buyers journey, step back and consider how to help prospective buyers buy.
The Buyer’s System Works Today
Your prospect’s business works without you. If it didn’t, they would already be out of business. Your solution isn’t the difference between a spiral into obsolescence and a viable ongoing business.
If you sell a solution that automates a manual task, your prospect knows it is a manual task. They don’t need content and case studies telling them that automation would take less manual time and investment!
Instead, you need every stakeholder to be on board with moving from the manual solution to an automated one, from a known working solution to one that requires making changes. Being on board includes staffing, training and uncomfortable organizational changes, not just cost savings and feature or benefit lists.
The time it takes for everyone to understand and accept the organizational changes required to incorporate your solutions into the business (that was already working!) is the length of the sales cycle.
Buyers Don’t Need Experts
A coach’s expertise is not your business (although they are generally well versed in it). The coach’s real expertise is helping you overcome barriers, make changes and ultimately succeed.
To help buyers buy, marketers need to become more like coaches and less like traditional sales people and marketers. Rather than just convincing potential buyers that you offer the best solution or educating them on the market, your role is to facilitate change and help buyers succeed.
Or as Sharon Drew would probably put it, facilitating buying is really facilitating the change management process in the buyer’s organization such that every stakeholder is agreed to all of the organizational changes your solution will require.
Every time I read back what I think I heard to Sharon Drew, she tells me I’m understanding only a little bit of what she has said (yet that little bit is still insightful to me). I’m sure this post is no different, so if you are intrigued at all about the impact this could have, spend some time reading her blog or her latest book:
- Sharon Drew Morgen’s site and blog
- Dirty Little Secrets: Sharon Drew’s book and the next item up on my reading.
How many more sales would you close if you helped buyers buy instead instead of only educating them through content marketing? I don’t know the answer but I am convinced it would be a significant improvement for many companies.
Share your thoughts in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).
Image Credit: Buy Sell image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net