Buyer enablement content has become even more valuable now that much of the world has pressed “pause” on large in-person events. Even prior to the pandemic, the annual Content Preferences Study from Demand Gen Report found that 67% of buyers are relying on content more than they did last year to research and inform their purchase decisions. Since then, B2B vendor sites are surging with traffic as buyers are seeking information they’re used to getting from in-person events.
That traffic is a big signal from buyers and prospects that they need you to inform and educate them, and to help them with the tasks related to making buying decisions. That’s where buyer enablement content comes in.
Tonya Vinas, VP of Content Strategy and Services, and Brenda Caine, Senior Content Strategist, discussed buyer enablement content during a recent session in Demand Gen Report’s Buyer Insights & Intelligence Series that you can watch here.
What Is Buyer Enablement Content?
Tonya began the presentation with a handful of buyer enablement definitions, each with a worthwhile piece of the buyer-enablement puzzle:
- Gartner says that buyer enablement is “the provisioning of information that supports the completion of critical activities necessary to make a purchase.”
- Sales Hacker says, “the key to winning tomorrow’s sales game is to prioritize helping, solving, and enabling the prospect rather than just selling to them.”
- Chilipiper says, “buyer enablement means providing B2B buyers the necessary information and appropriate tools to make the best possible purchase. It also involves supporting buyers throughout each stage of their journey.”
Buyer enablement content gives prescriptive advice and practical support related to buying decisions. This content makes it simpler and easier for buyers to do business with you. And that’s a key consideration for the 77% of buyers who told Gartner that their last purchase was “very difficult or complex.”
That complexity is due in part to the expansion of buying groups, which now typically include six to 10 stakeholders. Your buyer enablement content needs to help guide these multiple stakeholders through the buying process.
The best way to do that is to take the position of a helper or partner. Steve Casey, a Principal Analyst at Forrester/SiriusDecisions put it this way:
“Buyers expect providers to know who they are what they want in every experience they have throughout the lifecycle of the relationship.”
Your buyer enablement content can help you further engagement and continue to build customer loyalty throughout the customer lifecycle.
6 Types of Buyer Enablement Content
1. Persona-Focused Content
All buyer enablement messaging should be from the buyer’s perspective. Demonstrate a real understanding of the buyer and their challenges and address their roles, responsibilities, pain points and challenges. Then you can offer solutions to solve those problems and show the value of rethinking the value of changing the status quo. Understand how they measure success, and connect the dots to show how you can make things easier, save them money or help them succeed in their jobs.
When you can, speak to several players in the buyers group, from gatekeepers to decision makers. Interactive content lets us tailor the navigation and experience, so it offers a prime opportunity to embed content that speaks to different personas.
This day in the life piece we created with Broadridge speaks to the persona directly, following Alison through her day and demonstrating the value Broadridge’s solution offers throughout that day. An embedded quiz keeps the reader engaged and lets her better understand the content, while the second page includes an embedded video that furthers the conversation.
Checklists, listicles and FAQs can also be great buyer enablement vehicles.
2. Solution-Focused Content
When you create solution-focused content, talk less about products and solutions and more about pain points. The product shouldn’t be the star of the show; your ability to solve their problems is. Inform and educate the audience, and go further to start or advance the buying decision.
The best solution-focused content adheres to one of three demand types identified by SiriusDecisions/Forrester as:
- New concept: A new, unfamiliar product or service requires marketing that defines a problem that’s solved by your solution.
- New paradigm: A new product or service introduced to improve upon an existing product or service.
- Established market: A product or service already accepted as necessary and best in class, typically offered by a handful of top competitors who vie for market share.
Identifying demand type is an important step in understanding how to create the most effective buyer-enablement content.
When we created this E-book for PTC, they needed to start talking about a grand-new concept in the Internet of Things (IoT). The audience was used to the traditional tools that produced traditional products. This IoT guide took a very high-level approach to start a conversation that involved new ways of thinking. It’s a good example of new concept buyer enablement.
Watch the webinar to see an example from Siemens of buyer enablement for an established market.
Whatever the demand type, there are plenty of content format choices. E-books and G-books, listicles, checklists, infographics, cheat sheets and FAQs all easily lend themselves to early-funnel solution-focused buyer enablement.
3. ROI Analysis Content
ROI analysis tools are often about more than numbers. They can help your buyer quantify the value and impact of a product or service and can introduce new considerations or benefits your buyer may not even be aware of.
ROI calculators seem to be less popular lately. They can be difficult to create and get complex very quickly. It’s also becoming less clear how customers are defining ROI—maybe it’s intangible and difficult quantify, like the ability to recruit top talent.
But you can still deliver ROI analysis content in ways that don’t focus on calculations, like analyst reviews, that place more emphasis on the importance of evaluating particular factors of your product or solution.
This E-book we developed with Hexagon, a provider of geospatial imaging used for design, planning and engineering businesses to determine the precise locations of structures, foliage, utilities and the like when they’re working on projects. The E-book reviews how various factors such as accuracy can affect a project’s success. Readers learn quickly how relying on a less accurate solution can become a costly mistake.
Checklists/Q&As, analyst/peer reviews, listicles and benchmarking assessments are all potential options to provide concrete information and to validate the value of a solution in the middle and late stages of the buyer’s journey.
4. Community-Driven Content
Peer information is very valuable to buyers, who will eagerly engage with actual peers as opposed to influencers in content formats like case study portfolios, podcasts, webinars, videos, user-generated assets and data from sources like G2 Crowd.
5. Product Showcases & Experience
When you show your product in action in the form of a demo video, a product simulator or an interactive experience that shows dashboard components, you give buyers the chance to “try it on.” They begin to understand what they might experience if they purchase your solution.
These don’t need to be highly technical, either. Buyer’s guides can be extremely helpful to buyers who want to walk through the various components of a product or service they’re considering.
6. Post-Purchase Content
Post-purchase content is an important step in the buyer’s journey—and one that’s often overlooked. Keep customers engaged with podcasts, webinars, videos and newsletters that validate their purchase decision and encourage them to take advantage of new aspects of a product or service that they may not be using. That might mean cross selling, or it might just mean you’re continuing to help them validate a purchase decision they’ve already made.
Toyota Industrial Equipment used videos we produced to promote upsell and cross-sell, and they offered a certification program aimed at forklift users who weren’t using Toyota’s service technicians. One of these upsell videos explains the benefits in a way that appeals to users who like to see things in action—a big strength of video content.
Newsletters are a great way to keep the conversation alive with customers. You might consider your content hub to be a smorgasbord, where newsletters are the sandwich boards that tout your daily specials.
5 Key Takeaways
These are the top five lessons from the webinar about buyer-enablement content:
- Always take the buyer’s POV.
- Demonstrate an understanding of their specific challenges.
- Offer solutions to their problems.
- Choose asset formats that match your goal. (Hint: Interactive formats work better.)
- Think about the next steps. What are your buyers going to do with this content? Make it shareable so they can reach out to other members of their buying groups.
Buyer-enablement content has a valuable place in your marketing library, educating prospects and customers and helping them to make buying decisions. Watch the full webinar for a deeper dive, and be sure to check out our new G-book, Inside the New Buying Experience: How to Create Awesome Buyer Enablement Content.
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.