Why Providing Ungated Content is Critical for B2B Enterprises
If you’re working in B2B marketing, you will have heard statements like “the standard marketing funnel is dead.” The marketing process can no longer be represented in a simplified form where there is a large mass of interest at the top which gets more or less proportionally narrowed down through several qualification steps to eventually make up a small number of won deals. The main reason for this change lies in the ever-growing complexity of the B2B buying process and an increasing role of personalization in buyer experiences.
B2B buyers need content engagement for the entire journey
One of the drawbacks of lead-based marketing process is that it doesn’t motivate marketing managers to create ungated content. By putting all content behind the registration wall, marketers think they can maximize number leads but in reality, it means that they are not providing access to content for people who are not ready to sign up and, as a result, are losing significant numbers of potential opportunities. People will not revisit your website if they don’t find what they are looking for.
In B2B marketing, and especially on the enterprise level, it’s critical to provide content to your prospects. If you think about a typical buying process in B2B, you see that there is a need for high-quality content on every stage of a customer journey. Contrary to common perception, a modern B2B buying process is not straightforward but rather labyrinth-like with many people involved who pursue different goals, are interested in different things and rarely appear on the same stage at any given moment. Even if a company is in the final stages of the buying process, there will be people in the organization who need top-of-the-funnel content. Internal champions are one perfect example. They are not actively involved in the buying process, and it’s very unlikely that they would appear in your marketing automation system, but they are still interested in specific content.
For example, you are selling industrial equipment, and one of the product features is its environmental impact. It will hardly be the main buying criterion, but yet there will be a person in a company responsible for environmental protection and sustainability. Providing high-quality content on such seemingly unimportant topic might become the decisive factor in closing the deal.
By making their content available and easily navigable to all website audiences, marketing increases the chances of landing new deals and shortens the overall sales cycle. But still, simply providing content is not enough – companies need to introduce an effective system of measuring the performance of content they create.
Importance of using the right KPIs for content
A typical marketing process that is focused on leads volume has one serious flaw – it is not designed to use insights from sales for revenue-maximization. In fact, general volume numbers mean nothing for business outcomes since they don’t reveal specific accounts and the expected value of sales. How many daily content readers do you have? And how many of them can become your customers? Account-Based Marketing (ABM) enables managers to focus on those part of their digital audience which has the biggest value for sales, by connecting your digital analytics with CRM opportunities. Revenue-driven organizations already know who they want to sell to, so the primary goal of the marketing is to provide enough information to the target audience and to maximize their engagement with your brand. By getting access to account-based analytics, they unlock invaluable insights which can be used to optimize engagement and, as a result, increase the impact on sales results. Thus, successful marketing teams are measuring content performance against its direct influence on sales instead of the general number of leads, clicks or readers. In a modern world, where marketing must engage with customers on pre-funnel, funnel, and post-funnel stages, this is the only viable method.