The sales process, good content, and brand
With so much access to information in today’s world, the B2B buyer typically engages with the salesperson later in the process than in the pre-ABM era. That’s not to say that the salesperson’s work has decreased over the years, but it does mean that the salesperson’s role becomes one of an “information sorter” to help the buyer make sense of everything. In other words, the salesperson is not necessarily a primary source for buyer information, but certainly works with customers to formulate the proper solution. The proof is in the pudding. According to Forrester, 82% of buyers viewed at least 5 pieces of content from the winning vendor.
Another way to look at shifting roles is that ABM is as much of a sales process as it is a marketing process. That’s because sales is involved from the very beginning. Marketing and sales are working together to drive account-specific outcomes, from creating the account target list to executing on the playbooks. Prior to the adoption of ABM, sales and marketing teams had a lot of friction and didn’t collaborate in executing the playbooks. (see Sales and marketing transformation for B2B companies: The new organizational alignment)
How does content play a part in ABM?
Content plays a big role. What buyers search, what they see, what they hear on social media, the information they download, people they talk to, all of this takes place before talking with a salesperson.
Good content influences more of the top-of-funnel activity than has traditionally been done by the salesperson.
Specifically, content is needed in each outreach effort or tactical execution that makes up the integrated ABM playbook. Without account-specific content, you have a playbook with blank pages. Content is more than just filling up your blog or improving your SEO. Content for the purposes of ABM is more about creating value, storytelling the benefits of your goods/services, and driving authority in your sector.
We have a great primer on how B2B companies can create authority and build brand through a well thought out content strategy. Check it out here.