An Easter basket is full of colorful surprises to delight the senses: Eggs decorated in pastel colors and delicious chocolate bunnies nestled in fresh green grass. At this time of year when everything is fresh and blooming, it’s good to refresh your ABM content marketing strategy.
B2B Craves ABM in Strategy Baskets
ABM remains high on the priority list of B2B marketers, according to the 2021 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey Report. ABM helps focus on lead quality versus lead quantity, another priority for marketers.
Here are the top 2021 B2B marketing priorities according to the survey from Demand Gen Report:
Why does ABM rate so high on the priority list?
ABM: Eggs-Actly on Target
ABM has actually been around for a long time. Businesses that offer costly solutions with long selling cycles have always focused on the accounts that met the criteria for their solutions and not thrown their efforts behind activities with minimal payback potential. One of the differences now is that technology has helped take down the wall between sales and marketing, allowing marketing to become part of that targeted B2B strategy.
The result of these changes is that marketing is now being held accountable for contributing to pipeline and revenue goals. This is a good thing. It gives marketing a bigger, more influential voice in the organization and makes its efforts increasingly valuable and essential to the success of the company.
And that’s where content comes in.
B2B Buyers Hunt Eggs on Their Own
Research results from SuperOffice support the notion that B2B buyers are doing their own research and are well along the buyer’s journey before they actually want to speak to vendors. Here’s what the research found:
- According to HubSpot, only 29% of buyers want to talk to a salesperson when researching a product.
- More than half (57%) of buyer decisions are made before buyers ever speak to a vendor, according to Flume, a sales training company.
- Gartner notes that only 17% of the B2B buying process is spent meeting with potential vendors.
If buyers aren’t talking to your sales reps, they are getting their information from content. The case for content grows stronger when you realize that for more than a year B2B companies have not been able to make face-to-face connections at trade shows and conferences, field marketing events or visits to prospect businesses.
A recent Forbes article recommends investing in inbound and content marketing, noting that most of the sales cycle takes place online. Buying committees comprise an average of 6.8 stakeholders, HubSpot says.
These trends aren’t new, but they are growing even stronger as the digital business environment evolves.
Make Those Easter Eggs Easy to Find
The Easter Bunny hides those much-desired eggs to make it a challenge to find them. But as a B2B marketer, you want to create content that’s easy to find. And you want that content to be full of information that helps your target buyers move along the buyer’s journey. With that in mind, here are some tips.
Know who’s on the buying committee at your target accounts. Titles are good. Names are even better. The more you can personalize the messaging in your content, the better chance it has of persuading.
Create content that speaks to everyone on the committee. There are a couple of ways to approach this. One option is to build foundational assets that include messaging, or even entire sections, that speak to the specific pain points of the individuals on the buying committee. Another option is to create separate assets that target each persona separately and create customized marketing strategies for each.
Identify your champion. The decision-maker on a buying committee may not always be the same as the champion. Work with your sales team to identify who is leading the push to purchase the solution. Then create content that gives that champion ammunition to get buy-in from the rest of the committee members.
Reach your target accounts early in the buyer’s journey. With so much research happening before B2B buyers contact your business, your content needs to be out there educating, informing and persuading them early in the process.
Use a multi-channel strategy. Creating content for every stage of the buyer’s journey isn’t enough; you need to share it where your buyers can find it. Prioritize the places you know your target accounts visit for information. If you publish it on your website, for example, place it in a section organized by industry, persona or the solutions you know they’re looking for. Here’s a list of potential channels to get you started:
- Content syndication
- Your company website
- Email campaigns
- Online communities
- Social media
- Influencer websites
- Your sales teams’ hands
See for yourself how putting content at the center of ABM can drive the success of your program. Watch our case study, How Assurant Used Content as the Key to ABM Success.
Brenda Caine is a senior content strategist at Content4Demand. She works with B2B clients on content marketing strategy, personas, messaging and ideation; content audits, gap analysis and content mapping; blogs; content development and more. Brenda has a black belt in karate, and when she’s not immersed in technology, you can find her dancing in the ballet studio, lifting weights at the gym or strolling down the avenue in a 1930s dress with a smart hat to match.