Over the last 5 to 10 years there has been a change in the role of the buyer in business to business orB2B if you like. Many companies have failed to adapt to this changing role and are paying the price for it now. Richard Evans Director of Marketing for EMEA at Silverpop explains in an interview how this role has changed and how companies can adapt and gain ground with their B2B customers.

Companies are always focussed on generating leads. Looking at the sales funnel only 2 to 5% of these leads are at the stage of actually wanting to buy something. The majority of marketing material, say 95%, is developed to connect with this 5 percent of leads. A total waste when you think of the 95% percent of leads that you are not connecting with due to bad marketing material.

As the role of buyers is changing the role of content is also changing. Companies need to decide now which content to use when, since it is critically important in sales success. For companies it is becoming more and more important to be informative and educational. Customers want to learn more about the product, or service want to be helped with their problems. Only later on in the cycle of orientation is it critical to address specific needs of each individual customer.

“To be able to know what content to provide your potential customers with, you need to have a good data strategy in place. At the core of this strategy should be what data we already gather from our customers. We need to ask them what they want from us. Then we need to look at their actions and their behaviour; how do they interact with us, what ways of contacting do they use, what kind of information are they seeking. Furthermore, the hardest but one of the most essential tell tales in what data to use is inferred data. By that I mean what people are saying about you, your product and your competitors. This, however, is often not so easily found”, said Evans in an interview with spotONvision.

Silverpop encourages companies to start with marketing automation to help them deal with this data challenge. By automating all marketing data and actions a company will be able to see more clearly which inbound leads are viable and which content is working and what is not working.