Creating Content for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

by | B2B Sales, Sales Cycles

When selling to technology buyers, content is key. Contacting the buyers directly and pitching a sale isn’t going to win them over. Instead, effective content marketing will guide them through the buying cycle to arrive at your solution.

Why It’s Tough to Sell to Technology Buyers

Technology buyers are a skeptical bunch. They want to seek out information on their own before making a decision and talking to your sales team.

And it’s a complex cycle to wade through. According to Gartner, 74% of B2B tech buyers find the business process complex.They have a lot of options to compare and need to be confident that they’re making the best decision. They’ll take their time weighing each solution against other options.

It’s also important to keep in mind that selling to technology buyers is not selling to one person: according to CustomerThink, 67% of buying decisions are made by buying groups of 2-5 individuals.

So content plays an important role in educating buyers and helping them research solutions. Since technology buyers are already searching for the information, quality content shows them you know what you’re talking about and helps them make informed decisions.

What Do B2B Buyers Want?

B2B buyers don’t want your sales team to contact them until they’re ready to evaluate products or buy. In fact,  a Gartner study found that only 17% of the cumulative time a buyer puts into making a purchase will be spent meeting with a potential supplier.

This means that content marketing needs to take on the traditional role of the salesperson to guide the buyer through the buying cycle stages. To do this, your content must answer the specific questions they are asking at each stage.

Gartner research also shows that 93% of B2B buyers require a business case for all technology solutions. They need to be convinced that the solution will work for them and that they will have the capacity to implement it.

[Downloadable Chart] Content Marketing for Each Stage of the Buying Cycle

If you know what questions the buyer is asking at each stage, you can create content that answers them and shows you have the solution they’re already looking for.

The chart below is designed to provide you with exactly that knowledge. It’s a simplified but detailed overview of each stage in the buyer’s journey, along with the questions economic and technical buyers are asking at those stages, and suggested content goals and ideas that will help you answer those questions.

This is a great resource to share with your teams, because it’s all in one place, making it easy to reference and share. It breaks this complex process down into digestible segments and will help you identify the gaps in your content for each buying cycle stage.

Content Journey grid

Download a PDF of this chart to use in your next team meeting.

As you can see, there are two main types of buyers: economic buyers and technical buyers. These buyers cycle through four main stages in their journey: awareness, consideration, evaluate, and select. And at each stage of the cycle, they’re asking unique questions.

Stage 1: Awareness

Buyer questions: Buyers are only just starting to understand their problem may require an outside solution. They will look around to see how others are responding to the problem and whether It’s worth changing from the status quo.

Content goals and ideas: Content for this stage needs to help build awareness of ways to solve the issue. Original research, analyst articles, and industry articles offer a starting point to help the buyer identify what kind of action they may need to take.

Stage 2: Consideration

Buyer questions: Buyers are investigating all possible solutions more in-depth. They’re considering the pros and cons of each solution, so they can begin to compare options.

Content goals and ideas: Your content for this stage needs to educate buyers on the benefits of your solution. FAQs, best practices or use case guides, and webinars can help provide them with the information they need to start narrowing down options.

Stage 3: Evaluate

Buyer questions: It’s at this point that technical buyers usually enter the cycle, so now you’re dealing with two sets of questions. While the economic buyer is comparing the choices on their shortlist, the technical buyer is considering which choices will be most compatible with their current environment.

Content goals and ideas: Content at this stage needs to differentiate your solution from your competitors’. Show them your solution in action with case studies, ROI white papers, technical briefs, or evaluator’s guides.

Stage 4: Select

Buyer questions: At this point, buyers areready to make their decision. Economic buyers are curious about your company’s customer satisfaction record. Meanwhile, technical buyers want to know how easy the solution will be to implement and what kind of customer support is available.

Content goals and ideas: This content needs to demonstrate that you have satisfied customers and offer outstanding support. Put buyers’ minds at ease and show them your solution’s effectiveness with customer testimonials, a formal proposal, and technical documentation.

Learn More

By the way…whenever you’re ready, here are some ways I can help you stand out in the noisy tech market: 

1. Grab a copy of my report on original research, which includes all the details on how to use original research to capture prospects’ mindshare. 

You’ll learn why marketers are getting so much value out of their original research, the steps in conducting an original research study, and the 9×14 content grid that gives you 14 content ideas to fulfill nine different marketing strategies. Get it here. 

2. Work directly with me to create a 120-day content strategy roadmap.
If you’re looking for more high-quality content to fill your pipeline, work with me to create a 120-day content strategy. We’ll brainstorm ideas, and I’ll capture them in a custom roadmap plan that outlines your content goals, strategies, and tactics. Contact me and I’ll get back to you with more details.