Most marketing professionals have heard the CEB statistic that 57% of the buying process is complete before a ‘customer’ even contacts the supplier, and that marketing-sales consistency will come in handy during the last third of the journey. However, in the B2B market, this journey is notoriously longer than in B2C. Ensuring this drawn-out journey is as smooth as possible is key, but with marketing, sales, and PR teams often fragmented, the buying journey for a prospect can be one with no clear navigation support.

Modern B2B marketing doesn’t just rely on releases and articles. New mediums such as social media and blogs now have a role to play in the prospect journey, and provide busy sales teams with outside efforts towards encouraging and cultivating prospects. For an organisation as a whole to reap the benefits, content needs to be shared across the different business teams to help them in their conversations with prospects. In the early stages of lead generation, a short press release announcing a new product or key customer win helps demonstrate momentum and industry leadership. To support these third-party endorsements and make the company more visible in the media thought-leadership articles are key – they may even end up being the final influencer in a prospect decision in the last stages of reviewing a bid.

Don’t Waste Valuable Content!

If you aren’t going to get your content out there and used, is there really any point in creating it?

A single team will not be responsible for generating all of a company’s content. The marketing team could be producing various white papers and case studies while the PR team is running a long-term campaign and the digital team is spreading company messages across various online platforms. Individually these things could look to be achieving a lot, but in reality, it’s only a small part of what is possible.

Break Down Departmental Boundaries

Build your ‘asset library’. By centralising all marketing content – press releases and media alerts, customer case studies, articles, blogs, marketing flyers, white papers, even webinar recordings – it helps break down departmental boundaries and encourage a dynamic communications ecosystem.

Content can still be relevant more than a year after it was originally created. A few simple changes making examples more recent and removing aspects that are no longer applicable is all that is sometimes needed. Having a centralised, easily navigable library of content means any relevant employee can access the entire history of content and find that one piece that will help them now.

Don’t Be Selfish

Communication is key. The sales team are only going to know there is content available if you let them know about it. Setting up a weekly or monthly newsletter is an easy way to let people know about anything new that’s going on, messaging that went down particularly well and all the new content that is available for use.

B2B purchases don’t happen quickly and encouraging employees to regularly share content across social media can be used to help nurture potential customers. When contracts can take upwards of three years to be signed, it is important to maintain a voice in the media throughout this period.

A Gentle Nudge Rather Than A Huge Push

According to GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media, 80% of B2B decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of targeted, “bite-sized” articles rather than a single pushy advertisement.

A press relations strategy is a highly persuasive method of underpinning marketing and with your asset library you can easily exploit the power of cognitive resonance – using different media to communicate the same message regularly, building a consistent ‘corporate narrative’.

Get Social

These unified core messages should extend to social media – in the B2B space particularly, blogs, LinkedIn discussion posts and on Facebook/Twitter. Remember, this is often direct engagement via a tweet or LinkedIn rather than a third-party endorsement in a top-tier publication or website.

You need to ensure what you post on social media is relevant and engaging to stand out from the other 27 million pieces of content shared on social media every day. Every social update needs to be targeted, taking into account where that person might be in the decision funnel.

For example, a tweet about the announcement of a new solution would need framing differently to a short LinkedIn piece talking about integration of your company’s solution aimed at a prospect further down the funnel.

Coherency, Consistency, And Cultivation

These simple tactics are easy to put into place and bring together the often-separate marketing, sales, and PR departments. With a united front putting across a core company message and producing targeted content for the various stages of the buying cycle, blockages in the decision funnel can be removed leaving organizations free to cultivate leads as part of a collective strategy.