July 01, 2021 in Strategy by

The purpose of B2B content is to develop brand awareness, engage and educate your audience, and ultimately generate leads that turn into customers. However, many B2B marketers are not targeting the audience they should be, instead only targeting the C-Suite.

According to a recent report from the NetLine Corporation, the problem is that 86 percent of B2B content isn’t consumed by C-Level professionals. It’s being consumed by individuals outside of the C-Suite. It’s individual contributors who lead the pack in content consumption, with 21.2 percent, followed by managers (13.8 percent) and Directors (11.2 percent).

While it may seem logical to target the highest-level employees of an organization, it turns out that they aren’t the only ones, or even the majority, making purchasing decisions (or influencing them) within the organization. As a result, it’s crucial to identify those individuals to target your marketing content within an organization.

Who Are the Players Your Content Should Target?

You may have had situations in which it was simple to determine who your content should target in an organization. Sometimes, it’s as easy as making a phone call and asking a few questions. However, that’s not always the case. As found in the report mentioned above, marketing content is aimed at the wrong audience a lot of the time.

In B2B sales, especially when you’re marketing a high-dollar product or service to larger organizations, it isn’t unusual to find that there’s a purchasing team of five or more people who make purchasing decisions. These individuals each have their own unique personalities, perspectives, levels of experience, pain points, and priorities – and they don’t always work together harmoniously.

Your goal is to identify all the key players, appeal to them with compelling content, and bring them all to a consensus about your product. While there may be others, depending on the particular organization, here are some of the important roles your content should engage:

The Gatekeeper

Executives and managers often have administrative or executive assistants that help them with their workloads, including screening incoming requests. These are the “gatekeepers” that will pass on content that they deem important to decision-makers. If you want your content to get to the higher-ups, it has to appeal to the gatekeepers. Building a relationship with these very important assistants is essential. It may mean that your emails will get through sooner rather than never.

The Influencer or Advisor

Influencers and advisors aren’t typically the roles that have the final say in whether an organization buys your product, but they do have enough weight with the decision-makers to help you close the sale. Influencers can be various individuals within a company, including department leaders, managers, and even assistants. Whoever you identify as an influencer or advisor, the person should be someone who will benefit from your product. If you get your influencer’s buy-in, you’ll have a better chance of convincing decision-makers.

The Champion or Advocate

Champions or advocates are individuals who appear to support your cause. Like the influencers, these employees aren’t typically decision-makers, but they are on your side. They can also often help you identify all the purchasing team members, which is crucial – especially with bigger clients.

The Decision-Maker

Final decision-makers may be upper-level managers, department VPs, Chief Operating Officers, or even the CEO. It can be difficult to connect with these higher-level individuals without the help of an influencer or advocate. By the time you’ve gotten to this level and you’re ready to create content that applies to the actual decision-makers, you may already have the buy-in of several key influencers and advocates. This will make closing the sale easier.

Now You’re Ready to Create Content for the Whole Team

While it’s only the decision-makers who ultimately approve a purchase, you have to build a relationship with others who will help get your product in front of them. Persuading all players on the purchasing team to buy your product can be nearly impossible without compelling content that engages each of them individually. To get all of them excited about what you’re selling, you have to be able to show them the unique value it will bring to their jobs and the potential return on the investment. The first step is learning who is in each role and creating content targeting them.

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