"I'm not generating sufficient qualified leads on my website."
"My leads aren't progressing through the pipeline quickly enough."
"I'm not closing as many deals as I'd like."
Let me guess: you've had at least one of these complaints before, right? For some content strategists, the solution to all these problems is simply "more content marketing." But here's the thing: content marketing is a pretty far-reaching term that encompasses an entire type of marketing strategy and many different content styles. From white papers to e-newsletters, deciding on the type of content to produce and market depends on your B2B sales cycle needs. White papers are great for initial lead generation, but not always great for closing the deal. The same goes for e-newsletters: they're great for keeping leads engaged and staying top of mind during the evaluation phase, but not the right content for assuaging buyer concerns and closing more deals. If you don't get your content to the right person at the right time, you could be making a major B2B lead generation mistake.
The final stage of the sales cycle often takes the longest, increasing pressure on organizations to boost brand awareness and nurture leads through the buying process. The good news: your lead has narrowed down possible service providers and you're in the final cut. The bad news: driving internal decision-making consensus can feel like a downright impossible task. Everyone has an opinion and needs to weigh in on the deal, but no one wants to be responsible for pulling the trigger and committing to a major expenditure.
At every stage of the sales cycle, content marketing can make or break your business's chances for closing the deal. Nowhere is this truer than the final decision-making phase. Your solution: case studies.
How Case Studies Can Help You Close More Deals
Interactive case studies are an opportunity to address the roadblocks to your sale - cost, experience, quality, etc. - by using your clients' words to tell the story for you. Since you've been engaging your lead throughout the sales process, you should already have a clear idea of their major concerns and how these concerns could be slowing down the selection process.
For example, maybe your lead is especially cost sensitive and your business is not the cheapest solution provider. Or perhaps your lead had a bad experience with another company in the past that failed to deliver the specified project on time and on budget. Whatever their hang up, the case study is your opportunity to conclusively demonstrate your capabilities and assuage their concerns.
A price-sensitive lead will respond favorably to a customer testimonial detailing the importance of getting the job done right the first time, even if the solution provider is not the cheapest. Reassure a lead who is worried about delivery deadlines with a client testimonial attesting to your responsive communication and ahead-of-schedule delivery.
Bring in the Experts: Don't Go it Alone
Even with glowing customer testimonials, crafting compelling case studies takes time. This is especially true for interactive features that combine short multiple video segments. If you don't have the talent in-house, consider outsourcing your case study development needs to an experienced case study writer or marketing expert with a background in your specific industry. One option is to search LinkedIn for writers with industry experience. Another option is a professional writing service like Writers Per Hour, which connects small business owners with industry-leading professionals who are also expert case study writers. Whether you choose to outsource or develop content internally, be sure the arguments are concise, compelling, and clearly aligned with your brand's overarching message.
Content is not a one-size-fits-all solution for B2B sales cycle woes. Only one-third of content marketers has a clearly documented content marketing strategy, according to CMI's 2015 B2B Content Marketing study. By understanding where each piece of your content fits in the B2B sale cycle, you can better craft content to move leads through the awareness and evaluation stages and ultimately close the deal in the decision phase.
Finally, keep in mind that the benefits of case studies are not limited to the decision phase. Seventy-one percent of B2B buyers in the awareness stage and 77 percent in the evaluation stage of the sales cycle cite testimonials and case studies as the most influential types of content, according to OMI (Online Marketing Institute). Well-crafted case studies will not only help you close more deals but also drive success at every stage of the B2B buying cycle.