One challenge I’ve seen B2B companies face when building out a suite of marketing materials is the sheer volume of content they have to describe their offering. Technical products and services require a lot of explanation, resulting in a desire to provide all the information with every customer interaction.
The trick is to determine what information you need to provide, when and to whom.
Before you start sifting through your existing content, or writing new content, there’s a few steps you should to take to create content sorting “buckets.”
1. Map out your sales cycle.
This can differ substantially depending on the type of product or service you’re selling and how your customer finds you (e.g. online or face-to-face).
2. Determine the audience at each phase of the sales cycle.
Are you approaching a technical buyer or a decision maker? What type of information do they need to understand the value of your offering? Do they know your company and your offerings?
3. Determine the best format for your marketing materials.
The best format for your marketing materials depends on how customers interact with your company (e.g. websites, over coffee or formal PowerPoint presentations).
Once you have broken out the phases, audiences and types of information buckets in your sales cycle, you can look at your content and organize it into the buckets. Coming from an academic background, I take an analytical approach – words are data that can be categorized and organized.
As you sort your content into the buckets, keep the target audience and key messages top of mind. Here’s a few examples.
1. Phase 1: Client has never heard of your company.
Before diving into the technical benefits of your offering, start with an awareness piece that provides an overview of your company and what it has to offer as a whole. Think brochure or online video.
2. Phase 2: Client is a technical buyer.
Here’s where you get into the meat of your products features and benefits. Let the jargon fly – you’re talking to your people. Think detailed PowerPoint or spec sheet.
3. Phase 3: Client is a decision maker.
This audience may not speak your technical language, so they want to know the higher-level benefits of your offering that will affect the bottom line and increase efficiencies. Think case study or executive summary.
No matter what your sales cycle looks like or what format your marketing materials take, avoid information overload and overlap.
Guide your potential customers through the quagmire of technical information by following the path you’ve laid out through the above steps. They will enable you to evaluate your content to build a suite of marketing materials that supports sales and grows your business.