In order to engage B2B buyers in a way that overcomes information overload and drives progress to a successful purchase, marketing leaders need to shift their content marketing strategy, according to Gartner, Inc.
B2B marketers must move away from a model built on “more” (more content = more engagement = more progress). In a world where customers are struggling with too much information rather than not enough, the most successful marketers are focused on providing less information, specifically designed to make buying easier.
During today’s keynote presentation here at the Gartner Sales & Marketing Conference, Brent Adamson, distinguished vice president at Gartner, explained how organizations need to focus on “buyer enablement” and developing content that guides customers through critical buying tasks and helps them overcome challenges they encounter throughout the buying process.
“Buyer enablement” is defined as the provision of information and/or tools to customers that support the completion of specific buying jobs throughout the purchase process.
“B2B buyers today will reward suppliers who make the purchase process easier,” said Mr. Adamson. “Our research shows that customers who receive helpful information that eases the purchase process are three times as likely to buy the bigger, more expensive option, with less regret.”
According to Gartner research, there are two types of buyer enablement:
Prescriptive Advice — Help customers understand what steps to take and how to take them. This information should be clear and credible with actionable recommendations specifically designed to help customers overcome buying challenges and complete each specific step along the buying journey.
Practical Support — Help customers complete discrete, job-related activities through the purchase process. This information represents the tools customers might use to follow through on the prescriptive advice.
“By focusing on these two types of buyer enablement, marketing can engineer a complete content ecosystem designed to help drive high-value, low-regret deals — and, ultimately, better support sales,” added Mr. Adamson.
Shifting the commercial strategy to buyer enablement requires reallocating resources to producing a different kind of content altogether. There is an urgent need for marketers to move their content marketing portfolio away from thought leadership, industry trends and infotainment, which comprise the bulk of today’s content marketing fare, and toward buyer enablement.
To do this, marketing leaders should consider the following to ensure their buyer enablement content meets customers’ needs:
- Focus on Buying Jobs: Ease the buyer purchase process by building buyer enablement content aligned with critical buying jobs and providing either prescriptive advice or practical support.
- Enable Self-Service: Repurpose successful content by identifying pre-existing sources of buyer enablement from functions such as sales or customer service and modifying them for customer self-service.
- Constantly Update: Build and deepen ongoing understanding of buying needs as they arise by implementing a buyer enablement system and strategy.
- Ensure Cross-Channel Consistency: Allow customers to self-serve by providing a consistent set of enablement resources across in-person and digital information channels.
Additional details on developing buyer enablement content are available to Gartner for Marketers clients in the report “Rethinking Digital Customer Engagement.”
About the Gartner Sales & Marketing Conference
Sales and marketing leaders face unprecedented changes in customer expectations, technology and the talent needed to drive results. At the Gartner Sales & Marketing Conference 2018, taking place October 9-11 in Las Vegas, sales and marketing leaders will learn from the latest research, Gartner experts and esteemed peers, to guide them through this time of change. Follow news and updates from the event on Twitter at #GartnerSMC.