A whopping 208 percent more revenue is generated by B2B companies with “good” or better alignment of storytelling across marketing and sales,1 and making a few key adjustments in your marketing organization could deliver this type of ROI.

The key is understanding that content marketing is not a tactic all its own, nor is it meant to be a separate activity for your team to execute — it’s a truly integral part of a larger organizational and marketing strategy that can reap extraordinary benefits and incredible revenue gains.

Here’s the truth:

1. Most B2B content marketing strategies don’t work.

B2B content marketing is complex. The buyer ecosystem has changed, and most organizations haven’t refined their strategies to adjust.

  • 85 percent of B2B buying “conversations” are managed without talking to a sales rep.2
  • When they do talk to a live rep, 82 percent of B2B buyers think sales reps aren’t prepared.3
  • 70 percent of B2B content created by marketing is never used.4

All this data points to misalignment between sales and marketing, which is a systemic communication issue across the organization. Most of the buyer’s “conversations” happen without ever speaking to a sales rep, while the buyer is conducting research on your website, on your social pages, with your downloaded content, etc. Therefore, B2B marketing campaigns need to be consistently executed end-to-end. In other words, the content and communications the buyer sees in the marketplace need to align exactly with what the buyer will hear during a live conversation with a sales representative. Every piece of content you create and every sales call is a conversation with the buyer, and you have to control those conversations in a very specific way to get the ROI you’re hoping for.

2. Most B2B content strategies aren’t integrated with corporate marketing plans.

This is also due to a misalignment between sales and marketing. Most B2B content marketing doesn’t integrate with other marketing tactics and campaigns and is often deployed as a stand-alone tactic. That’s because the majority of B2B organizations define content marketing as the copy that goes on social posts, brochures and emails instead of as an integrated communication strategy every team member in the organization is responsible for understanding and speaking to. Content marketing is critical to engage prospective buyers with your products, services and brand — and everyone creates it. A product sell sheet is content. An email is content. A sales call is content. The content can’t stand alone. Without an integrated strategy, the content will fail to bring in buyers.

3. The B2B buying ecosystem is far more complex than a consumer sale.

B2B sales include more decision makers, more influencers and longer sales cycles. Because so many people need to be involved in a single decision, the B2B buying cloud is extremely complex. More people will consume your content and be influenced by it, which means your content strategy needs to be equally complex and thoughtful as it speaks to different audiences. And, even though the reason for buying is completely different, B2B content must leverage the same kind of emotional triggers found in consumer channels. You need to unpack the specific needs and wants of the individuals in your target audience and speak to them in a direct, targeted and emotive way.

4. 81 percent of B2B buyers expect the same multi-channel communications options available to consumers.5

More and more B2B buyers are sophisticated users of digital channels. And these buyers expect to have the consumer buying experiences they’re used to when shopping in their personal lives. Incorporating more channels and more content into your content marketing efforts requires a much more thoughtful and targeted content strategy. This type of targeting can’t happen with just one piece of content, you need to provide B2B buyers multiple opportunities to engage with your content using the channels they expect to use.

The big takeaway:

Integrating your marketing team with the rest of your organization will require a different approach, and this kind of process change happens at the most senior level of the marketing team. Therefore, CMOs are ideally positioned to direct this integration. Companies that have focused on sales and marketing alignment have seen extraordinary results:

  • 126 percent increase in marketing’s contribution to total revenue6
    • 67 percent higher probability marketing leads will close7
    • 27 percent faster three-year profit growth8

These returns are too important to ignore. Deliver real returns by refocusing and retuning to develop fully integrated content strategies. It’s a new way of thinking, but it’s working.

References:

  1. HubSpot
  2. Gartner
  3. SiriusDecisions
  4. Content Marketing Institute
  5. SilverPop
  6. Marketo
  7. Marketo
  8. MarketingProfs
Related blogs:

Four Steps to Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing


About the Author

Rae Palmer – Content Editor

As a content editor at Elevation Marketing, Rae proofreads all content before it gets handed off to the client, helps create content plans and strategies, and manage processes and workloads for our team of writers.