Content Marketing’s Role in the Changing Sales Cycle

The Sales Cycle is Changing! Hark!

We have been preaching it for a while. The sales cycle is changing. And, content marketing must get involved quickly to help. We recently talked about how much later people are entering the B2B sales process. It’s 57% later, according to CEB’s “The End of Solution Sales.

That means that you have to be visible online when folks are in the “education” phase of the buying process. Get the right message to the right people at the right time, as we like to say.

But, there is more.

Harvard Business Review has been talking about how the Consensus Sale is evolving. They are finding an average of 5.4 folks needing to sign off on purchases now, inside the enterprise. What? Oooofff! That slows us down big time.

They quote:

[quote author=”Harvard Business Review”]The implication for suppliers is clear: The best way to build customer consensus isn’t to do a better job of connecting individual customer stakeholders to the supplier but to more effectively connect customer stakeholders to one another.[/quote]

What does this mean? We call it building community.

When you know who is in your tribe and what your village looks like, you can author stuff that connects and builds community. This is precisely what HBR is talking about. We agree completely and have been promoting this concept for a while. It is time to get on board.

The take away?

  1. Map out the players in your sales cycle.
  2. Look inside and outside the corporate walls.
  3. Define what is in it for them, and then work to build content that actually brings them together rather than creating lines of separation.
  4. Track, measure and adjust constantly as the village grows and shrinks.

This will shorten your sales cycle and increase your close rates.

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