Mapping Content to the Sales Funnel AND Buyer types

by Paul Dunay

You often hear about the concept of mapping content to the sales funnel (especially in B2B Marketing) but it’s not so common in practice. I will self confess that I have ignored this one for a while. The other version of this is the mapping of content to your buyer types and this too is one I have ignored for a while … until now!

Ok so I took a look at my sales funnel and started to take the content my team produces and map it against the funnel – for simplicity sake I like to use Awareness to Consideration to Purchase as my 3 major stages of the sales funnel.

For Awareness I like to use broadly appealing content that can be shareable (the new KISS as I like to call it – Keep it Shareable Stupid). This would include eBooks, Research, White papers, etc. Not all of these have hooks for gathering download information (that’s just not acceptable these days). We use 2 distinctions – Premium content and Non Premium content – the latter being free and the former being behind a registration page.

For Consideration I like to use more in depth tools like webinars and live/virtual events – derived from the lists of folks who downloaded and have been interacting with us on a particular topic. These are typically better than the broad brush webinars because we can have a real consideration discussion that includes such things as use cases, ROI modeling and even self funding ideas.

And then for Purchase I like to use case studies, customer references, press releases on new wins etc. This gets to the final decision makers desk and helps out the sales force immensely since they can never seem to have enough of these in their toolkit.

So then I flipped to another chart where we started to map the content we create to the buyer types and for simplicity sake I like to use End User, Influencer, and Buyer/Executive as my 3 major buyer types.

What we realized pretty quickly was the content we were using to attract Awareness – was the same content we would use to attract End Users (now I always hope to get an influencer or a buyer in there) but in reality when we look at the leads we are nurturing we are seeing more end users which is ok since we have a ton of end users in the 200,000 customers we have!

For the Influencers – we like to use the same content we have for the consideration stage – webinars, live events, virtual events and so on. Here is where we see more influencers show up to get the detailed info that they need to make a recommendation for a major technology purchase.

And finally for Buyers/Executives – we see we need the same type of content we need for the purchase end of the funnel – since they have the recommendation from the end user and influencer but they need evidence that this is going to work and that they are not the first person to buy which is why case studies, customer references and new win stories really help speed the sales process.

What’s been your experience with mapping content to the sales funnel or buyer types? I would love to know.

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November 2010

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