B2B marketers are increasing their spending on content this year, and that move appears to be made with good reason: a recently-released study [download page] from Demand Gen Report in partnership with Demandbase finds 84% of buyers surveyed agreeing that a winning vendor’s content has had a significant impact on their buying decision.
When buyers were asked to select their top 5 reasons for choosing the winning vendor over other vendors they considered, the top response was that the winner demonstrated a stronger knowledge of the buyer’s company and its needs (68%). (In fact, lack of knowledge of a company and its needs has separately been cited by buyers as their top deal-killer.)
While it’s logical that vendors should understand their prospects’ businesses, the role of content is also evidenced in this research, with content quality emerging as a key differentiator for winning vendors. Some 62% pointed to the provision of higher-quality content as one of their top 5 reasons for choosing the winning vendor.
Other top reasons that trailed those above by a slim margin were the winning vendor demonstrating a stronger knowledge of the solution area and business landscape (59%) and the vendor providing a better mix of content to help the buyer through each stage of their research and decision-making process (also 59%).
Getting Site Content Right
The top resource that informs buyers about a solution is web search, per the report, suggesting that SEO should be a priority for B2B marketers. But beyond search, vendor websites are the next-most cited resource. When visiting the website of a potential solution provider when making a purchase decision, the three criteria that buyers look for the most are:
- Easy access to content that speaks directly to their company;
- Easy access to pricing and competitive information; and
- Content that speaks directly to and demonstrates expertise around the needs of the industry.
With respect to pricing information, this is a critical piece of the buyer’s consideration, easily topping all other variables when evaluating providers. Trailing distantly, and in quick succession, are reviews, features/functionality, the vendor demonstrating experience with/knowledge of the industry, and deployment time/ease of use. One would expect that the weight given to these various factors differs according to the purchase in question: certainly with marketing technology, ease of use has been found to be a crucial element.
Nonetheless, vendors would do well to keep these preferences in mind amid a changing landscape: the current environment has made buyers almost twice as likely to escalate some purchases due to changing business needs (38% share) as to delay potential purchases due to budget freezes (20% share).
For more, download the study here.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 340 B2B executives, 43% at companies with at least $50 million in annual revenues.