The content we use to engage B2B buyers must resonate and be relevant. Unfortunately, this is a challenge that marketers continue to struggle with. And that’s not surprising given the rate things change in today’s market landscape.
However, sometimes we’re our own enemy in the engagement and relevance department.
We’ve all done it. Come across a brilliant idea for content that we can’t say no to, created it and launched it to an unsuspecting audience thinking they’ll be thrilled. But…crickets.
Sometimes—more often than you’d think—it’s because we’re asking buyers to take a leap of faith they aren’t prepared for. Attention is fleeting if information isn’t relevant. B2B buyers want the information they seek with a minimal expenditure of effort. They want the easy button. But we often don’t give it to them.
We set expectations with one piece of content and then fail to deliver the full story to help them advance their thinking. Context is a critical weapon to use against leaps of faith.
According to Wikipedia, “A leap of faith, in its most commonly used meaning, is the act of believing in or accepting something outside the boundaries of reason.” And buyers will be the first to tell you it’s unreasonable to deliver random acts of content that aren’t meaningful to them.
Leaps of faith can happen in all kinds of places in our marketing. If you see a trend of B2B buyers looking interested one moment and ghosting you the next, it’s likely due to asking them to take the leap.
7 Places Where Leaps of Faith Happen
Let’s look at some of the places and circumstances where leaps of faith can occur:
From one revenue team to another. Sales says one thing, marketing messaging says another, and product marketing says something else. Silos are the fuel for leaps of faith because our customer-facing teams aren’t all on the same page so messaging becomes confusing for buyers.
One persona is visiting your website, but your content is written to engage another. They just can’t make the leap as the context doesn’t apply to them. Or the persona is reading content designed for them but the “see also” content is not.
An early-stage lead downloads a paper that expands on the nature of the problem they’re looking to solve but then sales reaches out with a demo or meeting request – that’s the ultimate leap.
A B2B buyer attends a webinar on a topic of interest and is then routed to a follow-up or nurture program on some other topic without any kind of transition or tie between the two to establish relevance.
Marketing sends an MQL to sales and the rep starts over as if there’s no relationship established with the company. With all the data we have, this is kind of criminal. If not that it’s irritating and asking your buyer for a leap of faith that their experience as a customer won’t be as disjointed.
Grouping random content by stage. The purpose of content is to connect the dots and thinking for your B2B buyers. If the grouping of content for a stage has no interrelatedness, then it’s just random acts of content and there’s a lot of leaping to try and figure out why it matters for your buyer.
Campaigns may be the worst offender of leaps of faith. If your sales cycle runs 6 months but your campaign runs 6 weeks, in what realm of the universe is providing three content assets and then a request for a sales meeting not asking for a giant leap of faith?
Minimize Leaps of Faith Based on Content Relatedness
Think of it like a mini content audit. The important thing is to figure out what content relates to what other content. Or to find the gaps to minimize the leaps you’re asking buyers to make.
Assess a content asset to answer:
- Who does the content speak to? (persona)
- What question does it answer? (premise)
- What’s the takeaway? (learning)
Given the who and the learning, what other content do you have that either builds on that or leads your buyers to ask the question it answers?
If you can do this for all the content you have on a topic or problem-to-solution storyline, you’ll identify how to create content experiences that flow. No more leaps. This reduces the effort for your buyers and helps guide their thinking to help them make advances in their buying journey.
Once you’ve laid this all out, you’ll quickly see what works together and what doesn’t. You’ll likely find gaps you need to close to reduce the leaps and allow buyers to make steady progress.
Go check all the “see also” links on your website and make sure they match up in context to eliminate any existing leaps of faith currently on your website. Do the same for your campaigns and nurture programs.
And, for heaven’s sake, when you ask sales to follow-up with a buyer, give them a clue about what content is appropriate for next steps in their progress.
Producing a matrix based on the above can also serve as a helpful resource for your customer-facing teams that need to figure out what the next best content is for a buyer they’re engaging with.
Eliminating leaps of faith will result in your content producing a flow that compels engagement instead of the confusion that sends B2B buyers back to Google to search for a better answer.