In the business to business (B2B) space, it can often be tough for companies to know how to market to their audience. Should they focus on generating more whitepapers on various products? Or perhaps they should work on generating more webinars for prospective buyers? Whatever you choose, your goal is the same: generate content that will interest B2B buyers.
If you’re a business that’s still struggling with effective content marketing, this blog is for you! In a recent report, Demand Gen Report and ON24 surveyed 174 B2B executives across a wide variety of industries. The topic? What content they prefer and why.
We’ve taken the time to review and condense some of the most valuable information from that report into the list below. Read on and enjoy!
B2B Buyers Preference: Less Sales Pitches, More Quality Content
According to the study, approximately 39% of B2B buyers recommend that B2B vendors cut down on sales messaging to improve the quality of their content. It’s a common temptation to oversell yourself or your product. But buyers have gotten more and more savvy. They know when they’re being sold to. So instead of pitching to them, try informing them!
Here’s an example related to telecommunications: “For hotel chains, it’s important you choose a phone system with the best IVR possible, capable of routing calls correctly between locations, offer employee directories when needed, etc.” It’s specific, informative, and helps them pick a good product no matter if it’s yours.
Opposed to: “Our system is the best choice for the hotel industry. We have all the features you need to succeed!” This kind of language is self-aggrandizing and quite vague. What features do they need? Why does your product fit those needs? They don’t know. All they know is you think very highly of yourself. Many B2B buyers will click off content if they feel like they’re being sold to.
B2B Buyers Preference: Shorter Content is King
The next highest recommendation from B2B buyers is to keep your content short and sweet. 37% of respondents said they’d recommend that B2B vendors create shorter content, with 36% adding that they should consider using images to break up their copy, rather than copy for copy’s sake. Your average B2B buyer is probably far too busy to wade through a 2,000-word blog, or a 50-page whitepaper. Keeping your content short, engaging, and interspersed with infographics will draw more attention from your audience.
B2B Buyers Preference: Data First, Claims Second
Yes, saying that companies could use a product like yours sounds great. But buyers today are more wary of sales than ever before. If your first thought at that statement was “Where’s the data to back that up?” – you just proved our point. You’re in good company though. Approximately one third of B2B customers don’t trust salespeople and are reluctant even listen to a pitch, let alone purchase from them.
So, when 51% of B2B buyers say the top trait of memorable content is content that uses data and research to support its claims, it’d be wise to listen. Backing up your statements with factual evidence will make B2B buyers more likely to answer your prospecting calls and emails.
B2B Buyers Preference: Content That Tell a Strong Story
But what is a “strong story?” Most of the time, it has to do with presenting an example or situation that the reader (or readers) identifies with. Then you walk them through how that situation can be solved with your product. 48% of B2B buyers want that kind of piece, especially if it resonates with their buying committee.
What’s a buying committee, you might wonder. Well, if a B2B buyers’ needs are varied and complex, they’ll probably have a buying committee involving about 6 to 10 decision makers. Appealing to 6 to 10 different perspectives in one document will be challenging.
Which is why we recommend asking the following questions when generating B2B content:
What is the buying scenario?
There are three common types:
- Committee – Deals are approved by executive management team
- Consensus – Deals are approved by multiple people from multiple teams i.e., sales, marketing, operations, and IT, etc.
- Independent – Deals are approved by just one to two people
Who plays a role in that buying scenario?
Once you’ve answered these questions, create your content accordingly.
B2B Buyers Preference: Varied Content for Each Stage of their Journey
B2B buyers are on a unique journey when they start looking for a supplier. According to Gartner, it consists of these six steps:
- Problem Identification: “We need to do something.”
- Solution Exploration: “What’s out there to solve our problem?”
- Requirements Building: “What exactly do we need the purchase to do?”
- Supplier Selection: “Does this do what we want it to do?”
- Validation: “We think we know the right answer, but we need to be sure.”
- Consensus Creation: “We need to get everyone on board.”
At each stage of the journey, B2B buyers are going to benefit from different kinds of content. During the Solution Exploration phase, about 62% of B2B buyers consider infographics to be the most informative, and 58% think blog posts are helpful as well.
Later in the process, during the Validation phase for instance, B2B buyers tend to find webinars of greater value. After all, they want to see what the product does and be able to answer questions without the pressure of making a purchase.
Need a Content Generation Machine? GreenStar Can Help!
The last thing we want you to do is to walk away from this blog feeling overwhelmed. If you don’t think you’re ready to take on content generation on your own, we can get you started! From generating eye-catching blogs to designing informative whitepapers, GreenStar Marketing is committed to giving you content that will engage and excite B2B buyers in your industry. Contact us today for a free consultation!