Technology buyers are struggling through the crisis to make necessary purchase decisions, having to gain consensus from a larger group of stakeholders, executives who are now more directly involved in decisions, and a cross-functional COVID committee now scrutinizing all significant decisions.

According to Gartner, “Due to the complexities of the buying cycle, ensuring that buyers have access to compelling content throughout the buying journey is critical. A lack of relevant content simply elongates an already complex and lengthy buying cycle and may eliminate your organization from consideration altogether.”

Technology solution providers need to get content right, but that is not always the case.

Gartner: The Content Gap

Gartner found that technology solution provider content is important to the buying decision making process, but that there is a disconnect between the types of content buyers seek and the types of content vendors are leveraging for marketing programs and sales engagements.

For example, blogs and videos are two of the top content types that solution providers invest the most in, yet when buyers are actively in a buying cycle, they rely less on these content types. There is a clear disconnect between what solution providers invest in and what a buyer wants and needs.

Buyer preferences don’t align with what technology solution providers are delivering, with buyers preferring the following content types to inspire and make purchase decisions:

  • #1 – Independent 3rd Party Created Thought Leadership Content – 43%
  • #2 – Value Assessment Tools (ROI / TCO Calculators) – 42%
  • #3 – Case Studies / Success Stories – 40%

The Importance of Value Assessment Tools

Of all the content, the number 1 content type that improved the likelihood of the solution provider being a top performer was Value Assessment Tools.

In fact, having Value Assessment Tools improved the likelihood of being a top performer by nearly 3.3x.

Learn more about Value Assessment Tools – https://www.mediafly.com/valuestory-value-selling-roi-tco-calculators/

The Right Content at the Right Time

Not only is it important to make sure that the right content is delivered, but that it is promoted, proactively provided by nurturing campaigns or delivered by sellers, at the right stage in the decision-making process.

Early in the decision, during the exploration phase, in order to investigate challenges and a potential solution vision, the preferred content includes: thought leadership content, webinars, e-books and case studies.

In the middle of the decision, during the evaluation phase, value assessment tools and product information are preferred, as buyers seek out content to help understand the potential business value outcomes and narrow solution choices.

In the later stages, buyers prefer and leverage value assessment tools to create a CFO ready business case, technical documentation, product guides, and implementation guides.

Learn more about assuring the right content at the right time – https://www.mediafly.com/enterprise-content-management-digital-asset-management-brand-management-software-solutions/

Personalized Content

As buying becomes more digital, not only are content type preferences changing, but delivery is advancing as well. Buyers want more personalized content. In fact, a Gartner B2B buyer survey indicates that 96% of respondents were more likely to agree with the statement “I frequently engage with supplier content” when they perceived the content to be personally relevant to them.”

Personal relevance of communications includes information that:

  • looks different for me
  • contains references to me
  • explains how the info relates to my priorities
  • provides information when needed
  • explains how the purchase benefits me, and
  • contextualizes information for my business concerns.

One way to personalize content is to make it interactive. This means providing content that tunes the content based on a little discovery as to the buyer persona, their industry and the challenges they want to learn more about. Tuning the insights, challenges, use cases, recommendations and success stories to match.

Presentations and content where the buyer and seller can “choose their own adventure”, exploring vignettes about their challenges and use cases, are popular, engaging and effective.

Checkout a great example of personalized content with interactive presentations:
https://www.mediafly.com/interactive-presentation-software/

The Bottom Line

Gartner research clearly indicates that a content gap exists, between what buyers need to help facilitate their decision making, and what technology solution providers are investing in and delivering.

Buyers are demanding more consultative and advisory content, especially value assessment tools, that the right content be provided at the right time to help guide an ever more complex process, and content that is more personalized and interactive.

Those technology solution providers that meet buyer needs and differentiate with this content are seeing a dramatic increase in the odds of being a top performer, compared to those who are business as usual with their content.

Sources:

  • Gartner – Developing Content That Drives Conversion Throughout the Buying Journey
  • Gartner 2019 B2B Buyer Survey

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