Business-to-business (B2B) marketers believe their most important job is to lure sales leads and that content makes the best kind of bait, a new survey shows.
Filling the sales pipeline with leads is the top priority for 55 percent of B2B marketers, according to new findings from Focus Research. Lead conversion was second, at 45 percent.
Savvy B2B marketers have discovered that educational and informational content are effective tools for generating sales leads. Consultants MarketingProfs and Junta42 found that 63 percent of B2B marketers in North American turn to content marketing as their key lead-generation source.
Articles and e-newsletters were the top choices for content-marketing efforts (cited by 78 percent and 61 percent of the marketers who were surveyed, respectively) , followed by forms of content that are more educational and instructional: case studies (55 percent), white papers (43 percent) and webinars (42 percent).
The B2B sales cycle is longer that the consumer sales cycle and often places greater demands on marketers to keep sales prospects engaged throughout the entire cycle. Industry-specific content that provides sound business knowledge and insight that can be acted upon is ideally suited for this kind of long-term engagement, but it often requires greater production time and resources from marketers, eMarketer reported.
The trade-off is worth it, though, because this kind of material can yield valuable contact information.
Longevity of content interest is another key consideration for marketers, because of the long B2B sales cycle. Webinars and white papers tend to have a longer shelf life than articles and blog posts and, because of their ability to dive deeper into business issues, are often more effective in generating leads during the early, research-heavy stages of the buying process.
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