Understanding the decision stages B2B customers go through as they decide to buy from you and developing the content they are looking for at each stage is an essential B2B Marketing better practice. Creating and sharing the information your customers want at each stage of their decision process will dramatically improve the findability, relevance, and ultimately the value of your content and increase the visitors, prospects, active prospects, and qualified prospects you generate.
Marketing Sherpa’s #1 lead generation best practice is: “IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THEM (NOT YOU)“. Understanding “What your customer wants to know” is how we apply that discipline. But in order to understand what your customer wants to know, first you need to know more about your customer.
That idea leads us to Marketing Sherpa’s #2 lead generation best practice: “SEGMENT BY PROSPECT TYPE“. We recommend starting with the natural segments in your audience. For example, a C-level segment vs technical users. While it is always helpful to have a formal segmentation analysis, our experience is that these segments can be roughly mapped out with learning from sales and other customer-facing teams. You can refine your segments over time with more robust analytics and data but a quick segmentation is a great place to start knowing more about your customer and what they want to know.
Let’s look at Marketing Sherpa’s #3 lead generation best practice: “CREATE CONTENT FOR EACH STAGE OF THE SALES CYCLE“. This is all about optimizing the content assets you already have and identifying gaps you should fill. At Brainrider we take this best practice one step further by mapping content against each stage of the decision process.
Here is a quick guide on how to map content for each stage. First, model your pipeline by understanding the different stages a customer goes through when deciding to do business with you. They key is to keep it simple while identifying meaningful differences in “what you customer wants to know”. Here is the model we use as a strawman for our clients.
1. What’s my problem?: education and thought leadership
2. How do I fix my problem?: solutions & product suitability
3. Are you right for me?: credentials and decision support
We then map specific differences in what each segment wants to know. The chart below is the tool we use to simply map decision stages and content opportunities against existing, repurposed, and curated content.
Understanding what your customers want to know at each stage of their decision-making process
As always, we would love your input on how this planning compares to how you are marketing to your customers. Let us know if you have any questions or would like to see real life examples of this tool in action.