Sunday, February 15, 2015

Content Marketing: Shorten the Sales Cycle

Over the past 5 years, the average sales cycle has increased by 22%; buyers are more knowledgeable, information is more readily available online, and economic growth is slow.   A recent Harvard Business Review study found that 60% of a purchasing decision occurs before even speaking with a supplier (for B2B).  To shorten the sales cycle, businesses should "meet the customers where they are" and embrace content marketing such as emails and white papers.

Some interesting stats from this article: 

  • 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information through several articles rather than through an advertisement
  • 60% of those business managers believed a company’s content helped them make better product decisions
  • 70% of consumers say that content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company
According to Business 2 Community, there's content addressing specific topics to be created for each of the 5 stages of selling:

  1. Awareness - problem identification, industry education, brand storytelling
  2. Consideration - compare and contrast, specific problem solutions
  3. Preference/Intent - detailed product/service descriptions,
  4. Purchase - discounts, coupons, specials
  5. Repurchase/Abandon - email marketing campaigns, social media retargeting
Personally, I've witnessed the increased length of the sales cycle over the past 2-3 years and my firm can definitely benefit from a shorted cycle.  We've (inconsistently) used some content marketing (weekly emails) which were well received by clients and prospects, so I know we need to seriously address all of the content marketing listed above (which is why our group project is working with my company, EnergyWatch).  

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