Throughout my career, I have worked with many marketing and sales teams to develop and implement an always-on, customer-centric demand-generation program. With each program I have developed, there is one thing I will not budge on – it all starts with the customer. Generating insights on your prospective customers is essential for creating a program that attracts, nurtures, and ultimately converts buyers into customers.
However, more often than not, when working with a customer, there is a flaw in their initial thinking about the customer. In almost every circumstance, when I ask marketing or sales who their ideal customers are, the answer I get back is, “We target the C-Suite.” In many of these instances, it is followed by a request for content that can engage them effectively.
While it is true in B2B that the C-suite will ultimately approve a certain purchase, the reality is that it is rarely involved in every stage of the purchase process. Who is most involved in the various stages? Those who work for the C-Suite . .. VPs, Directors, Sr. Directors, and even they may not be involved in every stage of the process.
Knowing this, it makes sense that you need to understand the buyer’s journey and the involvement of the key stakeholders to determine how much content you need.
Take a look at the illustration below, which represents the hypothetical path to purchase and includes only two stakeholders (typically, there are far more): a CFO and a Director of Finance. As you can see, the CFO is involved in the beginning and immediate end of the purchase process. The Director of Finance, on the other hand is involved across all of the various stages.
Having this level of insight will guide you on how much content you need to engage the Director of Finance at every stage of the process. The same goes for the CFO persona and so on.
So where does this leave marketing and sales teams who are in the process of developing their demand generation programs? Here are a few takeaways.
- Beyond creating a persona, part of understanding your ideal customer is understanding their involvement at every stage of the customer journey (the buying process is simply one stage of the customer journey). Your way to the C-Suite will often be through those who are reporting to them.
- The only way to know the most effective content is to understand the behavior and what matters to your customers at each stage of their journey.
- Before just creating more content, do the necessary work of generating customer insights to ensure your content has relevance and context.
Let me know what you think and where you are in this process. If you want to chat more about it, feel free to put some time on my calendar.