When marketing a product such as a new perfume to an individual buyer, you generally need to persuade only one person to buy – or two, depending on how your prospect’s spouse feels about gardenias. In B2B marketing, by contrast, you have a constellation of important decision-makers to impress. While it’s important to speak to everyone in your audience with your content, these six influential people are the ones who will ultimately make the choices. Impress them, and you’re well on your way to a good relationship with a new customer.
They may be in the middle of an organizational hierarchy, but the researchers who get the order from higher-ups to comparison-shop or gather information about your product line are often the first to see your website. They rely on search engines for their initial foray into their fact-finding expedition, and if your content team has done its work, your site will be on the first page of Google results. That first page is where 80 percent of search engine users stop; give researchers what they need on the first page, and they won’t need to dig deeper. Give them white papers, case studies and infographics they can take back to their supervisors to win them.
Researchers report to someone, and often, it’s the person in charge of new ideas, especially in tech sectors. People who succeed in research and development are typically analytical, linear and fact-oriented in their decision-making process. If you want your products to become a part of their number-crunching decisions, give them enough raw material to chew. Present factual data, spec sheets and statistics to help them choose you. If your company offers services or products that are harder to quantify, focus on straightforward content with a minimum of sales copy.
The people who maintain data security, implement new technology and inform other C-level executives about recommended upgrades are incredibly valuable allies. Once you’ve convinced them, you’ve come a long way toward a conversion. Like R&D personnel, some of whom may also be CIOs or IT directors, they respond to knowledgeable, information-rich, fluff-free features. Case studies and spec sheets are persuasive to them, but they’re often avid readers of industry journals and look for companies that are as up to date as they are on their industry’s leading-edge technology.
CFOs and Accountants
No amount of convincing content will move a company that truly can’t afford a big buy, but when you come across as a value proposition to financial decision-makers, they’ll opt for you over your competitors. Financial executives rely on precise, detailed content with facts and figures that back it up to inform their financial decisions. They’re used to saving wherever possible, and they like copy that’s economical with words; writing that meanders around a point for a few paragraphs won’t impress them with its sheer bulk.
Chief Executives and Owners
The ultimate decision-makers are at the top of the organizational ladder. They’re the big-picture people who define the company and set its goals. When you align yourself with those goals, you’re most of the way home. In their busy days, most CEOs have little patience for empty content and want relevant information that shows them how you fit into their overall aims. They may get dozens or even hundreds of outbound marketing offers in a day, many of which never make it past an assistant’s desk, but give them something worth seeing on a website, blog or white paper, and you have their attention.
You’ve caught the researcher’s eye, impressed the person with the purse strings and proven your value to the company president, but winning over the people who use your product or service is key. These are the people who write reviews, talk to business associates and give feedback to their supervisors. They typically want to know more about specific benefits you can offer them. Depending on the industry, end users may also want video demonstrations, webinars or frequent blog updates to help them make the most of your product line.
You may have noticed a common thread with all the people your content must convince: They all expect something meaningful. Knowledge is compelling; offer to teach your audience something new – whether it’s hard data for researchers, demonstrable value for CFOs or straightforward how-tos for users – and you’ve earned a longer look.
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