How Mapping Content to the Buyer’s Journey Can Help You Sell B2B Software Faster
For SaaS and software companies, the process of taking a lead through to qualification and converting them to a customer can be lengthy.
Typical software sales cycles can last anything from 3-18 months. But Inbound marketing techniques can greatly shorten that sales cycle, boosting potential for greater and a quicker ROI.
Adapting To Shifting Buyer Behaviour Patterns With Inbound Marketing.
Adapting marketing strategies to address key buyer challenges is integral to the Inbound marketing methodology.
The goal is to be helpful, educating the right buyers at the right time with purchase stage relevant content – all without interrupting.
Why? Because the way B2B buyers purchase is shifting.
As the Internet has become more accessible, buyers are no longer responsive to interruptive ‘pushy’ marketing. Instead, they self-educate, researching solutions to their problems online, often reaching purchase decisions before sales teams are involved. According to a 2015 Marketing Automation Benchmark Report, nearly 60% of a purchase decision now occurs before sales teams make contact.
Mapping Content To The Software Buyer’s Journey For Shorter Sales Cycles
“Companies that utilise Inbound content platforms and offer buyer persona driven content see a 45% increase in the volume of Sales Accepted Leads (SALs)” – Kapost
When looking for a solution, B2B buyers typically progress through three main purchasing stages in the Buyer’s Journey;
● The Awareness Stage. Here, buyers are aware of a challenge or pain point, but do not know how to solve it.
● The Consideration Stage. At this stage, buyers have named their pain point, and are researching solutions – such as your software offering.
● The Decision Stage. By the Decision stage, buyers know the solution they need and are comparing vendors to select the best option.
If helpful, educational content is mapped to address the right persona’s challenge, at the right buyer’s journey stage, and at the right time, it will attract and nurture higher quality leads and build trust in your software brand – which in turn shortens the sales cycle.
For B2B software marketers to shorten sales cycles with Inbound content, they must:
1. Ensure they are creating a variety of educational content, which addresses the challenges of a specific buyer persona (ideal customer).
2. Make sure content is mapped to each stage of the Buyer’s Journey (awareness, consideration, decision) in order to nurture buyers through the purchasing funnel.
Essentially, by understanding which Buyer’s Journey stage a software buyer is at, marketers can know what type of content to create, the angle required, and when to send it to prospects for optimum nurture toward the decision stage.
How To Create Buyer’s Journey Relevant Content For Effective Nurture
“67% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago.” – DemandGen Report
Lead nurture activity throughout the Buyer’s Journey is crucial to shorten the sales cycle. Aligning each piece of Inbound content with the Buyer’s Journey facilitates effective nurture by addressing barriers to purchase and gaining customer trust.
B2B software buyers are more receptive to particular types of content at particular purchase stages, so when mapping content, consider:
– Awareness Stage. Awareness stage content attracts relevant visitors and converts them into leads. Software buyers at this stage will be aware of their challenges and problems, but won’t know how to solve them. Content that outlines vendor-neutral information to identify pain points is best here, usually taking the form of blogs, eBooks and guides.
– Consideration Stage. Consideration stage content builds trust in your brand, and awareness of your solution’s benefits. This content is targeted to buyers who have defined pain points and who are looking for more detailed information – which content like case studies and webinars can provide.
– Decision Stage. Decision stage content supports buyers who know the solution they need (your software) but who are still researching in order to make the best decision. It’s here that sales teams should get involved and introduce product specific content, such as vendor comparisons, webinars, free trials and demos.
Essentially, by understanding and mapping persona relevant content to the Buyer’s Journey, software marketers can build valued, trusted relationships with leads – and as a result, sell B2B software faster.
To learn more on how you can use Inbound Marketing to reduce the software sales cycle, please take a look at our latest eBook: How to Reduce the B2B Software Sales Cycle With Inbound Marketing.
Alastair Kane is a Senior Inbound Marketing Executive with Strategic Internet Consulting, an Inbound Marketing Agency based in the UK.