Small or large, public or private, increasing sales is high on any organizations list of annual objectives. But expanding your customer base is hard. Current customers represent the best growth opportunities. But with B2B customer churn rates at 20 - 30%, it takes additional sales volume just to remain even. New customers are a must. Increasing sales requires a different approach. Striving to hire your competitors top sales people and their book of business mirage, is no longer a viable strategy. Instead, it's time to consider different options.
How Content Marketing Builds Your Business
One thing is certain. Selling today is far different than 20 years ago. Buyers rarely meet early in the decision making process. Instead prospects look online for the education sales reps previously provided. You may have discussions with current customers early in the purchasing journey, but in lieu of discussions your contacts often opt for online research. So, companies are turning to content marketing. It continues the conversation even if you aren't involved in the discussion personally.
But does it really work? Here's how content marketing builds your business.
Land And Expand
Although they did add new accounts, a B2B Communications Provider achieved consistent growth rates primarily by increasing business with their client base. But recently the demand for their core product offering had declined. Although they had expanded their capabilities, new products weren't offsetting that erosion. In addition, one of their large accounts was recently acquired by another company. That substantially decreased the business the B2B Communications Provider had enjoyed for years.
Increasing The Sales Team's Productivity
The B2B Communications Provider shifted their strategy building their sales team and prioritizing new business. But results were mixed. Hiring experienced account reps didn't solve the problem. Business that a rep could bring to the company rarely materialized. They realized the value of a strong sales team but hiring reps for prospecting had not resulted in the return on investment they expected.
Marketing, sales and sourcing were the primary target audience for their products. And C-level executives were involved in large opportunities. Reaching and following up with these contacts was difficult. How could they communicate their value to a broader audience? They needed a better way to prospect and then deliver meaningful follow up to interested contacts.
Content Marketing The Billboard On The Online Expressway
The internet opened a door unavailable for companies in the past. Using online channels such as your website, blogs, social media and more connect you with your target audience like a expressway restaurant billboard does with a hungry traveler.
The B2B Communications Provider used content marketing to promote their brand and connect with their target audience. Buyers increasingly use online sources to form purchasing decisions. Creating content their target audience could use to help inform those decisions was essential. Distributed through a regular blog and a bi-monthly newsletter, topics were designed to increase awareness, educate and build understanding with their audience. Posts were keyword optimized to maximize exposure in search engines. In addition, they used their company pages on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to expand content distribution. And to further expand where their target audience could find their information, they contributed guest blogs and magazine articles to targeted publications.
Next, they developed white papers centering around their key capabilities.
These documents were advanced problem solving guides designed to educate their audience and explain their services methodology. Available on their website and in select blog posts and newsletters, the white papers targeted common needs of end users.
This information connected with prospects. It's an example of how content marketing builds your business. It increased awareness and aided the sales teams business development efforts.
Tracking Interactions and Enabling More Effective Follow Up
Anonymous website visitors. Blog readers. Email subscribers, Social media followers.
As prospects formulate decisions online and without your knowledge, it's difficult to know if your message is reaching the intended audience. And when a prospect does identify herself, how do you determine the buying stage and provide follow up in a timely and effective manner?
Marketing automation brought clarity to these interactions. The B2B Communications Provider identified companies that visited their website and read a blog post or an article. Using optimized landing pages they captured names and email addresses of prospects that downloaded white papers.
Through these interactions, they scored attributes and actions for both leads and accounts to qualify them and/or trigger a specific next action. These timely, personalized and relevant communications led to further interactions and allowed them to scale processes and campaigns to reach more leads and customers with less effort. This allowed their sales staff to connect with prospects far more effective than was possible using a manual process.
It also helped them determine the appropriate time for sales outreach. And when those individual conversations did take place, the real time data set of lead and account behavior informed conversations resulting in better outcomes.
Now in it's sixth month, the program is starting to pay dividends and helping the B2B Communications Provider return to the consistent growth rates they expect.
How content marketing builds their business.
Leads Generated Through Content Marketing And Marketing Automation
- Total leads - 39
- Top of the funnel - 14
- Middle of the funnel - 6
- Bottom of the funnel - 7
- New Customers - 4
- Dead Opportunities - 8
Need help developing your strategy? Download the Content Tool Set.Content Tool Set