Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? When it comes to sales content, maybe so. According to Gartner, “customers have access to reliable, high-quality and trustworthy, but often conflicting, information. As a result, the average buying group spends 15% of the buying cycle time reconciling and prioritizing that conflicting information. When buyers feel overwhelmed, they are more likely to regret their purchase or fail to reach a decision. Both negatively affect their relationship with the supplier.” In a survey of more than 250 B2B customers, Gartner found that 77% of them rated their purchase experience as extremely complex or difficult.
The best way for sales to clear the buyer’s path to a high-quality purchase is to make sense of — and validate — all that information. Yes, that means more content, but the right kind. This approach is called Sense Making Selling. Gartner research identified Sense Making as the top B2B selling technique to help today’s overwhelmed buyers process the surge of information and make confident buying decisions. In the company’s excellent (and free!) e-book, a Sense Making approach is described as “more effective because sellers acknowledge the difficulty customers experience in making a purchase and provide a way forward. They help customers prioritize perspectives, qualify trade-offs and contextualize — often reconcile — competing perspectives. In this role, they become a much-needed guide. Sellers who practice Sense Making don’t tell customers what to believe, but rather help them to develop a mental framework to make their own decisions.”
Here are some of content ideas that tie into helping customers work through their decision-making:
Prevent numbers fatigue! Rather than get bogged down in piles of detached statistics, give the customer a chance to see examples of the product or service in action, start to finish. Case studies bring all the details together into a story the customer can relate to.
You can quantify your value proposition with calculators that help customers understand hard cost savings productivity gains, revenue acceleration, and risk mitigation. In other words: make those numbers personal.
Customers are often navigating a complex field of options. They’re looking for not only the best product, but the one that meets their specific needs. Comparison guides can help customers identify their options and assess different products’ features and performance.
Independent research is a reliable and clarifying source of information, but entire papers can be challenging to access and process. Summarizing and aggregating this information for the customer can help make this easier.
Help customers evaluate their own standing by presenting performance benchmarks– and how your offering can help them meet or exceed these best practices.
You’ve shown how your offering works in the real world with case studies. But how do you ensure the potential customer that the way it works is reliable and impactful? Testimonials from real customers can connect big promises to real results.
Like abstracts, experts can back up your pitch with credibility and clarity. When customers’ questions are answered, they can move forward with their purchase with confidence.
The format all this content takes can include video, animation, graphics, ebooks, podcast, even simple emails. The bottom line is presenting information that helps customers understand their challenges, opportunities, and choices.
According to Gartner, “Based on a survey of more than 1,000 B2B customers, a clear lesson emerges: When customers overcome their inherent skepticism of sellers and feel more confident in the information they encounter, they are more likely to make the deal all sellers aspire toward — a high-quality, low-regret deal.”
With the right content strategy, you can make an abundance of information work for you.