By Damien Charles, ABM Strategist at Madison Logic
Last year, I worked with a CMO at a cloud solutions company that was focused on finding ways to shorten their sales cycle from 8-10 months to roughly 6. After running some pipeline analysis, they found that most of their deals were getting stuck in either the procurement process or security review.
What they realized was they needed to do a better job of engaging and getting buy-in from people in the finance and IT departments, because they seemed to be responsible for the deals stalling or not eventually closing.
Salespeople develop relationships with end users—those who would be using the software—but other people in the company must also be persuaded, especially within B2B sales. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, nearly 7 people are involved in a B2B decision (and that can be across various departments, from finance to procurement and IT).
In other words, if your deals are stalling, going stale or never closing, you’re probably not persuading enough people—or the right people—at the company.
Content Syndication is the Answer
The CMO I was helping dealt with all three issues, but we decided to focus on stalled opportunities because the company historically had been able to close deals once they were in the pipeline.
Working together, we created a strategy that exclusively targeted procurement managers and Salesforce administrators of their prospective customers. We placed ads on websites and blogs that the finance employees frequently visited and promoted a business impact report that showed how our cloud solutions helped their bottom line. We took a similar approach with IT decision makers, but with different messaging. We showed them ads related to easy onboarding and syndicated an infographic on the benefits of cloud security measures.
By engaging with these “shadow decision makers” (people that have sway in the decision-making process but aren’t speaking with sales), the cloud solution company was proactive in educating them before and after the sales team made contact.
After 6-months of this strategy, the company reduced its average sales cycle by 14 days — well on the way to hitting its goal.
This strategy of having third-party sites promote your content is called content syndication and according to a recent survey from SalesBox, 65% of B2B marketers are using it as their core lead generation tactic. It’s one of the most effective growth tactics you can use to increase leads for your sales team and build up your database with relevant contacts.
So why aren’t you using it?
You invested in creating thought leadership materials like infographics and white papers, so why wouldn’t you promote the content on the websites, blogs and social media channels that your top prospects go to on a daily basis?
Other marketers are using content syndication to drive registrations for events and webinars, filling up databases with high-level decision maker contacts, starting conversations and creating a pipeline of warm leads to feed the sales team.
In addition, content syndication’s costs are usually fixed. Prior to the signing of an insertion order, you’ll have a breakdown of how many leads you can expect in the program and what the cost per lead is. It’s a very predictable channel which is rare nowadays.
If you aren’t using content syndication, you’re missing out on greater reach to your audience, more brand awareness and more opportunities to connect with your target accounts while being able to predict costs and the number of leads you can bring in.
Let’s not forget you can also use content syndication to prevent stalled deals and keep them flowing through the pipeline, like the CMO at the cloud computing company.
So Why Aren’t More People Using Content Syndication?
The top reasons I often hear when speaking with new clients about why they aren’t using content syndication is:
- They don’t think they have the right content
- They heard the leads take a while to convert
- They don’t have a good lead nurturing strategy in place
Those are all reasonable answers but are easily overcome.
To get started you can begin with a white paper, infographic or e-book (you can even use repurposed content if you’re strapped for creative resources and bandwidth.)
Understand that content syndication drives upper funnel inquires; meaning the people who download your content are usually in the research and fact-finding phase of their journey so it’s going to take a little longer for them to turn into a true opportunity. Be patient and continue having a conversation with them.
Having an effective lead nurture strategy is often critical to the success of a campaign. It isn’t required, but it does play a very important role in the overall success of a program, ROI and leads turning into MQL and eventually closed own opportunities. If you have don’t one in place, it’s worth developing prior to running a content syndication program — it’s that important.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get started, shoot me an email at email@example.com or visit madisonlogic.com to request a demo.
ABM Strategist, Madison Logic