Despite these challenges, there are ways to attribute the overall contribution of your content to your company’s revenue:
Reverse engineer your vision of success to quarterly and weekly targets.
Align sales and marketing through both content and sales enablement.
Prioritize revenue generation, not lead generation.
Create enough content for the buyer and the customer.
Measure and attribute what you reasonably can, but don’t force it.
Bridget Poetker also offers one more way: “Here’s a crazy idea. Build solid relationships with customers and then ask them.”
Yes, attribution is difficult and can be messy. But Steven Macdonald , an expert on social selling , says to not let that stop you from doubling down on what’s working for you: “If you’re doing specific activities on a consistent basis and sales are increasing, keep doing them—regardless of attribution or not.”
Your Content Marketing Engine Needs Fuel From Sales, Product, and Customer Success Teams
Before you even put pen on paper, you need to brainstorm your content ideas.
And when you brainstorm, don’t just sit in your comfortable chair bouncing a ball off the wall.
Do involve other people in your company. Not just your marketing team, but also other teams and even the customers you do already have or are trying to acquire.
Brainstorm Content Ideas With Multiple Teams With Marketing as the Lead
The Head of Content at The Predictive Index , Erin Balsa , says “you never want to create content in a silo. You want to make sure your content maps to not only your marketing department goals but also the broader company goals. You also want to create content that enables people across the company to reach their goals.”
As far as content for potential customers, Balsa poses some questions to help inform your content strategy. “What do customers need to feel comfortable renewing, taking your upsell offer, or signing a contract? How can content play a part in those? What does the product roadmap look like? How can we align the content roadmap to it?”
When asked how Balsa brainstorms ideas for her content strategy, she explains the process and structure for each brainstorm:
“I follow a structure for each brainstorm session. And that structure begins with communicating the goal. It’s different each week. In one session, we brainstorm only one type of content for only one audience persona to meet only one goal. So it’s not a free-for-all, but instead it’s a structured brainstorm that results in ideas of content that will actually move the needle.”
Get Feedback From Sales to Inform Your Content Strategy
When your goal is to drive revenue with content, your content must move the right leads to your sales teams.
While the Director of Content Marketing at StorySlab, Kate Erwin , finds the right stories to capture interest from potential customers, she “works with the sales team to discover the blockers they’re encountering when closing deals so we can refine our messaging accordingly.”
She adds: “The ultimate goal is to get the right people to sign up because once they see it, they’ll want it.”
Erwin also created a concise and actionable summary of how to get sales teams to use marketing content. On the same token, there also needs to be a strong feedback loop between sales and marketing in which marketing gets their due credit, advises Donny Dye , the VP of Sales at StorySlab.
Not only does there need to be close alignment between your marketing and sales teams, but your content also needs to enable your sales representatives to build trust with your potential customers, making it easier to bring them aboard.
Sales enablement content needs to be a major part of your overall content strategy, as it would be more likely to drive revenue with content and retain more customers, according to Meghann Misiak .
In a B2B scenario, when we create content that does the following:
Generate initial interest among potential customers
Educate them while facilitating discovery
Move pricing discussions forward
Demonstrate the value your customers are getting
You enable your sales teams to use marketing content to drive revenue growth. This process is known as sales enablement.
Customer Success Plays an Increasingly Important Role in Content Strategy
It’s not just marketing or sales that need to make up your content strategy. Particularly for B2B technology or SaaS businesses, your customer success team should play a larger and more active role in planning your content marketing strategy.
Steph Greaves , the Digital Marketing Manager at Bespoke adds: “It’s hugely important to feed from customer services, too. Depending on the size of your business, customer success teams can hold a lot of insight into topics that you can create as pillar content to help others at the MOFU stage.”
In the context of a SaaS tool like Teamup , Jenny Zhan makes a distinction between “success” in terms of business success and customer success, and recommends leaning on customer success in your strategy.
“Where is the balance between making sure our customers succeed with our tool, and the success of our business? We see that more customers and more revenue mostly as natural side benefits of our increased focus on customer success,” says Zhan.
The challenge facing SaaS businesses is to create content that truly reflects the usefulness of their products, showing how they solve problems in countless scenarios.
Zhan emphasizes the need to do more and better with customer success. “We focus on creating two types of content: one is inspirational, the customer success stories that illustrate the kind of scenarios where our product helps make life easier for the customers; the other is practical, the tips that guide the customers to make the best use of relevant product features to achieve their goals,” she explains.
Not only should content educate prospects and nurture potential buyers, but also address the needs of existing customers. The next section lists the specific types of content for each purpose.
Types of Content to Include In Your Customer’s Journey
In this section, we list some content types to fulfill your strategy towards creating a complete buyer’s journey not only from awareness to purchase, but also post-purchase customer success and advocacy.
If done right, you will not only increase revenue by retaining more customers and reducing churn, but also create more evangelists out of your customer base who will do a large portion of marketing on your behalf, adding even more trust and social proof.
Although there will be a lot of overlap, we’ll split up the content into three groups: marketing, sales enablement, and customer success.
Content used for the first part of the customer’s journey usually fall within SEO, PPC, and social strategies whereas their goals are to get more traffic, generate qualified leads, and increase click-through rates.
Such marketing content can include but is not limited to the following:
Social media posts to drive engagement
Visual content (videos, infographics)
Landing pages for PPC campaigns
Creating TOFU content can be challenging in some cases, especially if a lot of content is based on one’s own experience and is therefore heavier on the BOFU side.
Steven Macdonald, in his case, notes that “each new post is essentially a case study, which is more MOFU/ BOFU type content. TOFU is challenging, at least to me, because it can get very preachy on social media: ‘do this’, ‘don’t do that’ and so it usually goes.”
However, there are ways to demonstrate authority and educate readers while avoiding the preachy tone. In most cases, it may take a simple, yet profound adjustment in mindset towards transparency and generosity in terms of helping our potential and existing customers. Having proven results and feedback from the customers themselves almost always helps.
Sales Enablement Content
Towards the middle and later stages of the buyer’s journey, content will need to be more detailed and thoughtful while moving potential customers along their journey. They also need to enable sales teams to have productive conversations with potential customers, and thus shorten long sales cycles as is custom with B2B.
Here are some examples: