Situation: Your sales team is struggling because they can’t get in front of as many prospects as they used to. As a marketer, you’ve built a great website and figured out your branding and positioning. You’ve been writing some blogs and white papers, using marketing automation to assist in your distribution, and you’re getting some traction—but it’s not enough.
Management has decided to that they want more content marketing, but they haven’t seen enough results to justify a large expenditure. But that hasn’t stopped them from tasking you to create a demand generation engine—and on a limited budget, of course.
This is the demand generation dilemma, and it’s far too common in today’s B2B company. The problem is that management sees only the end results of other companies’ efforts and grossly underestimates the work involved in the strategy, development, and acquisition of skills to pull it off effectively. (Effectively is defined as over 50 percent of your total sales pipeline coming from this process.)
Many companies start by purchasing expensive marketing automation tools, and then see what marketing skills they have in-house that they can now task with demand generation. Marketing automation can do a lot of things—it can automate great processes, and it can also speed up and automate bad ones.
So what are your options?
Fortunately, content marketing as a demand generation engine for sales is starting to reach some maturity, and there are many fractional resources and tools available to help you—but that has it’s challenges as well.
First and foremost, you need to understand all of the moving pieces. (The infographic below is a good start).
You’ll also need to be good at strategy development and communication, because it’s not as simple as hiring some writers and videographers to develop some white papers and blogs. All of those content assets need to be communicated through one voice and speak to the same high-probability pain points to look like one single brand that is telling the story.
So how do you pull that off?
First of all, back up just a bit. It’s time to formulate a content strategy and framework where all of the content specialists understand their roles and how it fits into your overall content architecture. Your planning starts by evaluating all of your unique buying personas and understanding what problems they are trying to solve during every stage in their buying process.
Next, you need to determine what mediums and skill sets will be required (and how best to acquire them).
For example, will you need:
- Writers? (content strategists, managing editors, blog writers, white paper writers, copy editors)
- Designers? (landing pages, infographics, email templates, page layouts)
- Videographers? (technicians, directors, editors)
- Web developers? (CRM integration, database management and segmentation, marketing automation)
And last, but not least, you have to manage them. Everyone needs to understand and get behind the strategy. Because, in reality, it’s always a huge challenge to manage people, regardless of whether they’re in-house or fractional (some agency, some freelance, some employees).
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