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What Content Do B2B Decision Makers Need At Each Purchase Stage?

decision maker content stages.pngAre you confident that your target decision makers are receiving the right content to help them progress through their purchase journey?

Supporting Decision Makers Throughout Their Purchase Journey

Nurturing MQLs to SQLs is a challenge for many B2B organisations. But in sales cycles with a more complex service offering or multiple decision makers, the MQL nurture process can become more complicated. In this situation; decision makers will be influenced by multiple people and departments before they can make a choice.

But, by providing the right helpful content at the right time, you can help decision makers resolve challenges throughout the funnel, secure internal buy-in and move faster through their purchase journey.


According to Customer Engagement Research undertaken by IDG Enterprise in 2016, IT Decision Makers respond best when they have access to the below content types for each purchase stage:

img-it-decision-makers-top-content-needs-chart.png

As we've mentioned and as you will see from the chart, decision makers considering a more complex service offering progress through a number of consideration stages. Because of this, successful nurture depends on having the right content, (often repurposed to address multiple angles) to help evolve the business case at each stage.


In many cases, personalising content (to deliver specific, targeted content that meets the precise needs of a specific prospect) can help a decision maker tackle their purchase obstacles more effectively (this is where you might also consider an Inbound to ABM strategy).

 

Looking at the content required to nurture through each purchase stage:

When Decision Makers Are Determining Business Need

At this stage, a decision maker will have identified a problem and be looking for solutions.

 

At this early stage, they will be researching to determine industry trends, other solutions and technologies, and will want to know how competitors and others in the industry are addressing the same challenge.


Nurture content at this stage should include:

  • Articles describing industry trends and solutions to address the challenge (that you can solve)
  • Statistics and analytics reports that demonstrate benefits
  • Case studies that outline the challenge and solution for similar businesses

When Decision Makers Are Determining Technical Requirements

At this stage (in a SaaS/Software decision process in particular) decision makers need content that helps them understand the technical requirements involved in choosing a particular solution. Remember here, your decision maker will likely need to agree on a decision with their own internal technical team - your content must be able to help both audiences.


Nurture content at this stage should include:

  • ‘How to” content that describes particular integration considerations
  • Supporting reviews and opinions, product literature with demos, case studies and technology news are all useful
  • Solution demos/webinars that outline how to address the challenge
  • Case studies and reviews that outline examples of successful integrations
  • Practical product literature and integration support (to give detailed examples of what’s required to the technical team)

When Decision Makers Are Evaluating A Product/ Service

Once your decision maker knows the type of solution they need and have established any technical requirements, they’ll need to go through an evaluation process to shortlist good-fit services and solutions.


Nurture content at this stage should include:

  • Vendor comparisons and presentations
  • Product demos
  • Research information
  • How-to content (such as ‘how to choose the right solution’)
  • Product reviews

When Decision Makers Are Selecting A Vendor

At this stage, your decision maker needs to select the supplier who can provide the best fit solution for their challenges, business requirements and budget.


Nurture content at this stage should include:

  • Product demos and trials
  • Reviews
  • Product feature news
  • Vendor comparisons

When Decision Makers Need To Sell Internally

At this stage your decision maker is likely to have settled on a solution - but may still need final sign-off from finance or senior management before a purchase can be confirmed.  Here, having the right content to build the business case is crucial. At this stage, your decision maker will likely be in conversation with your sales team, and be working with them to educate others in their team.


Nurture content at this stage should include:

  • Supporting research documents and content that solves other team member’s barriers to adoption (such as proving ROI)
  • Assessment tools that can justify cost and outline return on investment
  • Case studies that demonstrate how similar challenges were resolved, detailing results achieved

When Decision Makers Are Securing Final Approval/ Authorisation

This is the final stage where your decision maker (and their team) are filling in the final details, ready to go ahead with a solution. Your sales team will be involved at this point, ready to answer any remaining questions.


Nurture content at this stage should include:

  • Product literature
  • Supporting research documents and content that solves other team member’s barriers to purchase (such as proving ROI)
  • Assessment tools that can justify cost and estimate return on investment
  • Case studies that demonstrate how similar challenges were resolved, outlining results achieved
  • Product demos
  • Product referrals

 

With a complete hub of content, mapped to address all the challenges that occur throughout a purchase journey, you’ll be on track to better nurture decision makers; especially if they see your content exactly when they’re experiencing that business pain.