Step 1: Focus on building trust
Buyers are becoming more selective about who they will talk to.
A consultative selling approach requires considerable investment from both buyer and seller to elicit requirements and define a solution. Buyers want to be sure that this investment in time will be worth their while. 60% of B2B buyers only consider one or two companies before reaching out to a potential vendor, and 75% of B2B buyers will only visit your site once. You need to position your brand as approachable and create a human connection. It is all about solving problems and presenting a trusted face. So you need to demonstrate upfront that you understand their problem and you can solve it.
Step 2: Involve the sales team
The key to making this work is to involve your sales team in the content design. Your sales team speaks to leads and customers every day, and they know what questions arise most frequently. Their insight will help you identify problems and solutions to develop content around. Listen to recordings of sales calls and find out what qualifying questions they use.
The questions that a buyer will type into a search engine are the same questions they will ask on a sales call. Make sure your SEM and SEO strategies include these questions so your website can replicate the sales qualifying process.
Step 3: Be generous with your content
Gated content is a mechanism to capture leads, but it can also be viewed with cynicism. Data is currency and buyers first want to trust that your content is helpful before “paying” for access.
Research shows that in B2B buying jobs, more time is spent researching independently online (27%) compared to meeting with potential suppliers (17%).
The more useful content you can provide, the more the buyer will trust you and return to you. And an added benefit is that your buyers will self-qualify and relieve some of the pressure on your sales team.
Step 4: Design in titles
The sad truth is that your competitors will probably pay more attention to your web copy than your leads. Visitors typically scroll down the page very quickly; they only have time to read the titles. Once they spot something relevant, they might slow down and scan the content. If scanning is too much effort, it's back to the search engine to click on another brand.
Try removing all the body copy, just keeping the headlines – does it tell a compelling story?
Step 5: Sell the outcomes not the features
Focus on outcome selling instead of feature selling. Use case studies to demonstrate how you understand the buyer’s business challenges beyond just the immediate problem.
Buyers will typically begin their journey when they are trying to define their problem. By focusing on outcomes, you can help them see the potential to solve not just that specific problem, but also to advance their business KPIs and effect wider change. And bigger impact means bigger budgets.
Step 6: Do the analysis
A robust measurement plan and solid data model should be the foundation for all marketing and sales activities. Benchmark each key touchpoint in your user journey but be aware that buyers do not normally follow a linear buying process.
Data will come from many sources. Ideally you want your data available and accessible, with minimal processing or delays, in a single platform, with a dashboard of KPIs. This itself is a Herculean task. Devise a test plan so that you can assess the impact of each new website change and document your evolution on a timeline. Assess your changes not just in terms of leads captured, but in terms of lead quality, conversion rate and return on investment.
Step 7: Keep the sales team involved
Your sales team is your barometer. If they feel they are heard and respected, they will be your most important source of feedback and ideas. Organizations that put marketing and sales in control of the content of the website are best placed to create a digital experience that supports the buyer journey. Until recently this was impossible, given the complicated architecture and web design process. But now it's time to let the sales team drive your sales machine.