Change is the only constant. The B2B SaaS product marketing domain has also seen a massive transformation over the last decade. Naturally, it becomes hard for marketers to track how even the B2B buyers’ journey is also changing simultaneously. Although digital technologies and associated strategies help marketers gauge the buyers’ interest, behavior, and sometimes even intent, adapting to the changing motivation factor remains a hindrance while converting them.
Successful conversion in the B2B space depends a lot on the product capabilities and how it fits into users’ requirements. Subsequently, understanding how the buyers are motivated and change in their purchase journey plays a vital role in conversion or product adoption. Yet, most marketers still use outmoded principles to understand the customer journey and try to drive results.
Among all the indicators in the B2B marketplace, content engagement help define the customer journey better. This is irrespective of the type of conversion models marketers choose. Therefore, it is crucial to analyze the type of content and its engagement rate at various journey stages.
But how much role does content versatility play here? Let’s find out.
The old model of B2B conversion
Before the rise of SaaS-based platforms, B2B products had a different buying cycle. The early computer and web era had more physical products, and product discovery was the driver for conversions. Product updates required buying a completely new bundle based on its usefulness and requirements. And it was the sales department that helped drive most of the conversions using various outreach programs.
During this phase, the prime motivator for buyers was the existing relationship with already trusted vendors and product advertisements. Buyers needed product information even then, but the content delivery was more direct in this aspect. It had only one objective – to inform that a product exists. Once the buyers discovered it, they inadvertently turned to the trusted vendors for more information.
Understandably, the prime motivator for conversion was the “newness” of the product, which made the buyers trendy and updated more than anything else.
But today, the path has taken a new turn. Users no longer buy B2B products because they are trendy or latest. They do it because it improves their operational efficiency. So marketers’ role and content use need to change too. Now the content needs to take the users on a path of product awareness to conversions by understanding their motivations, fears, apprehensions, and other emotional factors at every stage of the journey.
Understanding the new change-driven purchase journey with product led content
Users now purchase B2B products based on context and relevance to their requirements. The purchase journey revolves more around change-driven processes. Consequently, the type of content and its uses needs to change too.
Analyzing carefully, today’s product adoption journey is found to be more “human-driven” than ever. Users now make purchase decisions depending on a theory called intentional change process, or a five-step mechanism that would provide them a lasting impact with the purchase. The five steps identified by the process include:
- Visualizing an ideal destination by detailing a desired future outcome
- Exploring the gaps to reach there by understanding shortcomings
- Developing expertise to build a journey roadmap to the perfect destination
- Practicing the new habits inculcated in the process
- Sustain the habits
Putting it to the perspective of B2B content, the five steps matches almost perfectly with the users’ decision-making process while converting. The five steps here are awareness, discovery, checking the demo version, understanding its full potential, and sustaining efficiency through product adoption.
Considering this,product-led content finds several new agendas to fulfill at different journey stages. It must portray the potential for change of the existing capabilities, find out current bottlenecks in the users’ operations, and fill the gaps through sustained support. Unfortunately, marketers spend a considerable amount of time driving awareness and discovery while the users have moved on to the intent and adoption phase. Most of the time here, marketers overlook the importance of using content marketing according to the changes in the buyers’ path while convincing them to convert.
What can marketers change?
According to the intentional change-driven concept, the preliminary steps focus more on content consumption related to the product. Therefore, marketers need to create digital assets that support the distribution of product information. However, they also must optimize other content formats that will aid them in educating the users about product capabilities according to their context and relevance.
Therefore, rethinking the content strategy takes center stage. Sending too much early-stage informational product-led content to the already information-oversaturated users could actually lead to fatigue and make the process cumbersome. Instead, marketers should identify the various intent markers and motivational cues to deliver different kinds of content at different stages of the journey.
For example, a brochure or an infographic/product article can tell the users about the product specifications. It can be bolstered using comparative content about differentiating features from existing platforms. Further, delivering a whitepaper or case study can help the users understand the real-life implication of the product. Identifying the customers’ context and different journey stages can help marketers deliver the content accordingly. Providing the right content to the right set of users at the right time can make all the difference in converting them efficiently here.
B2B buyers seek transformational capabilities while purchasing a product in today’s world. They want solutions to their operational bottlenecks now rather than finding a replacement for their current setups. Creating product-led content that supports that vision is the only way to increase conversions for brands trying to sell a B2B product. In the end, change requires time and energy. So, efforts should be made to sustain it for as long as possible.