Creating helpful B2B tech content takes alignment
Tech buyers don’t care if content comes from your sales or marketing team as long as it’s useful - and consistent.
03 Minute Read
Although this work looked at EMEA region, these insights can be applied to any organisation across the world.
Your marketing team includes content experts who can inspire audiences about the difference your technology can make. And your sellers spend their days listening to the challenges buyers face, the needs they have – and the barriers they might face to investing in your solution. The question is: which is the best source of helpful content to support the tech buying journey?
No prizes for guessing the ideal answer here: it’s both of them. Sales and marketing both have distinct expertise to bring to the content creation process – and the perfect content calendar would be shaped by input from both. However, Forrester Consulting research commissioned by LinkedIn shows that this rarely happens. The tech content dream team would make use of all of sales and marketing’s combined powers of insight – but it can prove difficult to assemble.
Getting marketing content out of its top-of-the-funnel comfort zone
The good news is that most tech marketing content gets rave reviews for the job it sets out to do. In the Forrester survey, 86% of sales and marketing managers in B2B tech agreed that their content establishes brand awareness, product benefits and value propositions, and 80% agreed that marketing content inspires customers to engage. When it comes to the top of the funnel, most businesses give their content high marks.
However, content’s role shouldn’t end at this stage of the buyer journey. Tech audiences need more than content that inspires them. They don’t jump straight into talking to sales once their enthusiasm reaches a certain level. Most tech buyers today want to explore and experience solutions for themselves, forming their judgments about how they can fit with their business. As a result, they also need content that understands their specific needs, anticipates problems and addresses specific barriers like how to convince the CFO to sign-off on a contract.
The problem is: this type of insight isn’t typically part of the content planning process. In the Forrester survey, 95% of sales and marketing leaders admitted to challenges when it comes to aligning on content, with 63% saying that marketing creates content without input from sales and 70% saying that marketing content is product-led rather than customer-centric. Content expertise and first-hand knowledge about buyers sit in different siloes – and they don’t always come together often enough. There’s a huge opportunity to be realised through greater alignment.
Balancing sales insight and marketing expertise
How do we get more sales expertise into the content creation process? It’s tempting to ask sales to write the content plan – or even to start creating their own content to address the problems they hear about. But is that really playing to both teams’ strengths?
“It’s not about sales inputting into the content creation itself, but about enabling the process that identifies what content is needed,” says Ashraf Kamel, Director Technology Vertical for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions in EMEA and LATAM. Shifting authority or responsibility from one team to another doesn’t result in alignment – it just separates content creation from content expertise. The key to success is widening the concept of content planning so that the process includes regular communication about the problems that clients are facing.
For many tech sales and marketing teams, the moments of greatest alignment on content have traditionally come in the planning of in-person events. These are occasions when sales conversations and content presentations take place in close proximity to each other. Sales take a closer interest in the collateral being produced and the views being shared in keynotes. Marketers are more aware of the need to put together an agenda that talks to the most pressing customer issues – and can drive registrations.
The opportunity for aligned tech content
The shift to more frequent digital events that’s taken place over the last year provides an opportunity to extend these moments throughout the content calendar – and make regular discovery of clients’ needs a consistent element in content planning.
Marketing teams can build on this by broadening their own expertise as well. Focusing more roles within the marketing team on audience segmentation and understanding can help to drive more informed conversations with sales about how buyer needs are changing.
The increasing role of digital buyer journeys within B2B tech means there’s more opportunity than ever for both to play a role throughout the buyer journey. With a committed process for marrying sales teams’ insights with marketing’s content expertise, that’s an opportunity it can rise to.
Content is one of the four pillars of alignment revealed by the LinkedIn and Forrester research, alongside Strategy, Process and Culture. Explore our insights on all four pillars and put together an approach that works for your organisation.
06 minute read
04 minute read
Explore our booklet: Revealing the Future of Tech Marketing
We reveal how to take the guesswork out of modern B2B tech marketing – and adjust your approach to thrive in the era of the Anonymous Buyer.