A content map for B2B Marketing

Building an effective B2B Marketing machine starts with two simple questions. This first refers to the personas you are selling to and the value that your solution provides. The second is related to identifying the stages of the buyer journey that each such persona passes through.

These two basic questions provide the building blocks for a content map on which your B2B lead-to-revenue strategy is built.

When defining the personas to target, I prefer to define these using LinkedIn targeting criteria. Define the industry and company size of each persona. Then focus on the Job Title, Skills required for the role and the Groups such a persona is likely to follow. You would need to identify all the people involved in the various stages of the buyer journey, whether they are users, influencers or decision makers. At this stage it is fine to have a long list of different personas, so don’t worry if you think you overdid it. If you are a company already in operation, have a look at the personas you have been successful in attracting as a start and, again, define them according to LinkedIn targeting criteria. 

Understanding the Buyer Journey

Map all the stages from the point that each Persona identifies a problem, a need or pain point that needs your solution, up to the selection of a solution. It is best to start off with a buyer journey for each persona based on past experience, but then refine these stages to be able to come up with broad stages most personas would pass through. Different frameworks exist which roughly talk about five main stages: Awareness, Research, Engagement, Assessment, Negotiation & Decision.

If you are a company already in operation, ask 5 to 10 of your current customers as well as prospects questions such as:

  • Awareness Stage: What made you realise you had a challenge or opportunity which could be addressed using our solution? What type and source of content helped here? Thought leaders? Groups on LinkedIn you followed?
  • Early Research Stage: What keywords were used to research the problem or the solution? What sources of information did you use? What type and source of content helped here?
  • Advanced Research Stage: Additional keywords, type and source of content.
  • Engagement Stage: What made you seek to engage with a supplier? Did you reach out first?
  • Assessment Stage: What criteria did you base your decision on? Who else was involved in this decision? What type and sources of content for the various players helped here?
  • Negotiation & Decision Stage: What were the most important factors that made you decide to choose a solution? What could have made the process faster?

 

Plotting the Content Map

The Lead-to-Revenue process needs a lot of content to be placed in front of prospects in different formats at different stages of the buyer journey. This would involve setting up a grid with Personas on one axis, and buying stage on the other. At this point you should reduce the number of personas to a more manageable number, between 6 to 10. Try to find the common elements which would allow you to do this. For example, is the type of industry relevant in the case of some of the personas? Can you group some personas according to the role they play in the buyer journey (influencers)?

While reducing the number of Personas also reduces the amount of content you would need to generate, keep in mind that sometimes you would only need to tweak some content to make it relevant across a number of personas and industries.

The final stage would be to repurpose the content in each grid point in various formats – long form for white papers and case studies, and shorter formats for blogs, emails and similar.

Taking this further

The approach to building your B2B Lead-to-Revenue process on a content map can be extended to using it to structure your website and social media presence.

Your website is your most important asset in the B2B Lead-to-Revenue process and should be viewed as the main source of resources which are required at different stages of the buyer journey. Using this approach the website becomes a collection of landing pages which are optimised for important keywords and a repository of resources some gated, some not. The user experience on your website should make it easy for prospects to find the information for every stage of the journey, and help them transition from one stage of the journey to the next.