Content, Content, Content!

Content has become increasingly vital to B2B sales in recent years. From generating leads to cementing deals, it now figures in every phase of the funnel – and the average buyer consumes 13 pieces of content before selecting a vendor.

But as B2B brands continue to invest heavily in their content this year, many are missing an open goal. Rather than simply pumping money into your content pipeline, why not take a moment to re-examine what content means in 2022?

We’ve recently discussed the tectonic shift that’s taking place in B2B sales; we call it Sales 4.0.  And that presents an opportunity for content to evolve alongside the sales process – in ways which will empower both. 

Here are five ways content should adapt to fit sales 4.0:

  1. Use data to optimise content

Put simply: too much content is wasted. But this is not simply because the content is poor; it is because organisations don’t sufficiently track and analyse how it performs. 

Just 41% of B2B marketing organisations can view and analyse content performance metrics by “audience,” while 34% can do the same by “theme or topic.” This means there is a lack of feedback on existing approaches, and neither content production nor distribution can be optimised effectively. 

We have to fix this fast. Leading B2B businesses now use data to understand and optimise their content marketing performance; as they do, the advantage their content gives them will only increase.

In Sales 4.0, businesses will be able to go one further. By leveraging insights from AI, they will be able to use data to determine what kind of content to produce – often ahead of time. This will enable a more targeted and effective content strategy that addresses pain points more directly – as well as understanding what their target audience finds most compelling.

2. Increased personalisation

As marketing technology improves, content can increasingly be put in front of specific target audiences with a greater degree of both accuracy and reliability. 

This will allow B2B marketers to increase their personalisation efforts. As decision making is automated and sales people have less direct personal contact with leads, such personalisation will be vital – not just to ensure content is maximally impactful, but to ensure your sales efforts maintain their human touch. 

It will, however, require a larger volume of content to be produced. In order to save time and resources, teams will have to develop new methods to produce larger volumes of slightly-varied content. 

AI-generated content may help speed the process along, but many businesses will instead opt for a strategic approach to repurposing. Content designed for one niche target group may only need to be altered 10% to gear it towards another group. And by focusing efforts this way, marketers will be able to produce an extremely high volume of hyper-personalised content.

3. Total alignment between marketing and sales

Sales and marketing alignment can lead to 38% higher sales win rates, and poor alignment can cost organisations 10% or more of annual revenue

This explains why so many organisations have made efforts to align their teams in recent years. But in the era of sales 4.0, this is no longer an optional extra – it’s an essential factor that will enable each to do their jobs properly.

Information should be fed between the two departments seamlessly; metrics and goals should be properly aligned to ensure every individual works in harmony; and content should be developed directly in response to the experience salespeople have in the field. 

4. Embrace the full spectrum of formats

As organisations continue to embrace remote sales and an ‘omnichannel’ approach, the number of content formats available to buyers has increased. 

In a recent survey, B2B marketers were asked which content formats produced the best results. Answers varied wildly, from online events (58%) and whitepapers (47%) to infographics (27%), podcasts (23%) and print books (22%). This demonstrates the range of formats buyers are willing to engage with

In sales 4.0, businesses should look to expand the formats and avenues through which they engage leads. Not only will this paper over gaps left by the shift to remote-first selling, it will allow buyers control over how they interact with your brand. 

5. All messaging must align

It is obvious that marketing messages should be consistent. But many businesses still struggle to maintain that consistency across every channel they use. 

As the sales process increasingly relies on AI and remote sales, errors in consistency can easily be magnified. B2B buyer journeys today are also non-linear; buyers move between different channels with far less predictability, and that means they may encounter content in an unusual order, creating friction if the messaging does not cohere. 

Clearly, marketing teams must start prioritising message alignment in ways they may not previously have done. And this alignment should be focused on your central selling story.

Ampli are supporting some of the UK’s most respected b2b brands in their transition to Sales 4.0.  To understand how we can support you, please visit our website