In 1996, Bill Gates penned a famous essay Content is King explaining how the Internet would let content creators compete successfully against established media giants. Gates described a future where content would be the primary means of value creation on the Internet.
More than 25 years later, content helps websites, messaging services, social media platforms, and eCommerce brands attract, retain, and grow their customer base.
Content is equally critical when it comes to high-purchase considerations. Demand Gen’s 2019 B2B Buyers Survey report found that 79% of respondents believed a winning vendor’s content had a huge impact on their buying decision.
But Content Alone is not Enough
The 2021 B2B Buyers Survey Report finds finding and sharing content relevant to the prospect’s business problem is crucial for winning deals.
—Source: Demand Gen, The 2021 B2B Buyers Survey Report
While great content does matter, seller preparedness is critical to gaining buyer trust and confidence. Research from Forrester shows that 70% of reps cannot answer their buyer’s questions during a sales meeting.
Source: Forrester Research, Why Don’t Buyers Want To Meet With Your Salespeople?
Enter Context, the Queen
High-performing reps can anticipate, understand, and address their buyers’ needs across the sales cycle. When reps share buyer-centric content, they can help address customer concerns during a complex purchasing decision.
Context helps tailor sales conversations to your buyers’ needs. Sellers need the right context to better prepare for buyer interactions. They also need relevant context for finding and sharing case studies and responding effectively to customer objections.
In chess, while the king (content) is the most important piece, the queen (context) is more powerful. Buyers will trust reps that share the most relevant information at every stage of the sales cycle.
Contextual Relevance is the Key
Have you seen this happen before?
In an opportunity, you’ve shared a lot of content with your buyer(s). However, your prospects still keep pinging you for more information. Your buyers want you to share more product collaterals, competitive differentiators, and pricing details.
Why does this happen? Sellers often share marketing collaterals that don’t address buyer priorities and pain points.
Let’s assume you are selling to an enterprise customer. You include a case study of an SMB customer in your information packet. Will this content connect the dots with your buyer? Or will they draw inaccurate conclusions about your solutions based on the information sent?
Similarly, you are dealing with technical practitioners in your buying team. You share thought leadership content with them. Will this content help move the needle with practitioners?
When you don’t provide contextually relevant information, a buyer might conclude that you don’t understand their problems. Or worse, they might believe you don’t care enough about them to put in the necessary research.
Context can build credibility with your buyers and help you close deals faster in a competitive environment.
Context is Multidimensional
In B2B selling, sellers need to tread carefully with context.
Each opportunity brings different buyer(s) requirements, product use cases, competitive scenarios, and customer objections. Sellers need to consider the multiple dimensions of an opportunity before deciding on the type of content to share with a buyer:
Before sharing content, sellers should ask ‘How does this matter to my buyer?’
The effectiveness of a sales conversation is dependent on understanding:
Business Context is table stakes for sellers. Learning business context requires answers to:
- What products do we sell? What problems do they solve for buyers?
- Which industries and regions bring in most of our revenues?
- Which buyer persona(s) find our solutions useful?
- Who are our competitors? How do we differentiate against them?
Opportunity Context is tracked in the CRM. Sales success depends on understanding:
- What are the relevant use cases for this prospect?
- Which objections are front and center for our buyers?
- Who are we competing against on this specific opportunity?
- What will be the size of the opportunity?
- When is the deal expected to close?
Persona Context is foundational to sales success. Each buyer has specific pain points and requirements that impact their evaluation criteria.
- Which buyer persona(s) are influential in our opportunities?
- What information is most relevant for this persona?
- What are the most common objections raised by this buyer?
Engagement Context is about identifying relevant content that can increase buyer engagement in a specific opportunity.
- Which buyers are most engaged during the sales cycle?
- What is the current level of engagement in this opportunity?
- What objections have buyers raised? How have we addressed them?
- Which competitor(s) is the buyer currently evaluating?
These four types of context will help sellers identify the most relevant content to share with buyers in an opportunity.
Content Context is critical for identifying relevant content. Buyer engagement is a function of how well your content maps to the business, opportunity, persona, and engagement context:
- What is this content about? Is it relevant to the ROI concerns expressed by the prospect?
- Who will consume this content? Will it resonate with them?
- When is this content most relevant?
Context Is a Competitive Edge
Sellers armed with contextually relevant information can gain a huge competitive advantage. Context can help sellers win buyer trust and confidence with:
- Customer evidence. Buyers are more confident working with reps that can share the most useful proof points with them. Sharing irrelevant success stories can bring into question a seller’s credibility and derail the sales process.
- Competitive insights. Buyers will want to work with sellers that can clearly articulate their company’s value proposition with product differentiators, pricing knowledge, and customer references.
- Objection handling. A buyer can raise pricing objections, question the ROI of a product/service, or highlight a competitor’s feature(s) during an interaction. Reps that can share information that addresses a customer’s objection will close deals faster.
- Personalized engagement. In B2B sales, buying committees are responsible for a purchase decision. These committees have individual buyers with a list of requirements that drives their selection criteria. Prior engagement context will help your sellers deliver the information that each specific buyer needs.
B2B sales is a complex and knowledge-driven profession. Decision-makers are often overwhelmed with the number of buying options they have.
If sellers share irrelevant information during the sales cycle, they can create skepticism and disillusionment about a company’s products and services.
With the shift to digital selling, sales leaders should consider investing in tools that can truly enable sellers to have effective conversations with their buyers.
Modern sales enablement platforms like GTM Buddy can help reps share the most relevant content with their buyers taking into consideration the overall industry, opportunity, persona, and engagement context.