Shorten the B2B sales cycle by leveraging your content

If there is one thing that aggravates the modern B2B organisation, it’s the ever-lengthening sales cycle. As the future of your company may very well depend on getting revenue through the door, a sluggish sales course is a growing concern for everyone from CEOs to sales reps.

So first, let’s look at the factors contributing to longer sales cycles:

– Tighter budgets: Overtime, we’ve seen more prudence when buying with inceased emphasis on ROI

– Decision apprehension:Corporate expenses are being analysed more closely, making buyers leery of making a hasty decision

– Increased options: Buyers have almost unlimited opportunity for options, and too much choice can confuse buyers, leading to procrastination

– Poor marketing and selling: If the message isn’t crystal clear and/or the selling process alignment is off, the sale will take longer, if it happens at all

These days, content marketing is the trending topic on every marketer, sales rep and business owner’s mind. We know that propagating fresh, relevant content is essential to a successful digital strategy, but perhaps the most important content marketing benefit is the impact on the sales cycle. A relevant piece of content available to the prospect at the right time in the sales cycle can help accelerate the purchase decision.

Now let’s explore what types of digital content can shorten the B2B sales cycle?

Product brochures and data sheets: Prospects will want to review your product or service literature before making a purchasing decision. It’s possible they’ve already made the emotional decision to buy and are now looking for some confirmation by matching features and functions against their needs. Prospects can also use brochures and data sheets to compare your benefits and features against competitor’s offerings. Whatever the reason, well-organised and complete product and services information can only benefit you.

Company and product reviews: Testimonials and independent reviews will only magnify the impact of your self-written information. These independent commentators provide credibility to your product and brand while alleviating the buyer’s fear of making a bad decision.

Case studies: Case studies are an excellent way to validate your offering and are a great tool to show how a product or service works. This specialised content can have a much greater impact on prospects than a generic product pitch.

“How to” guides: Potential buyers are interested in how they will install your product and use it on an ongoing basis. Assuming your product is not over complicated, providing this information will ease buyer reservation and motivate them to act quickly.

Order forms: The ultimate way to shorten the sales cycle, order forms compel the prospect to take action now. Even if you offer an expensive or complex product, order forms can be used to generate a minor close — perhaps a free trial offer, where you ask for a small commitment upfront, followed by a larger commitment later.

Website information: Think of your website as the Nerve Centre. All of the categories mentioned above should be accessible via your website. Your website is where you are going to be able to educate, motivate and convert prospects into customers.

Price List: B2B companies commonly make the mistake of not listing their prices online. They hesitate, thinking their prices will drive away prospects and give competitors access to their offers. But if you apply all of the above, the price will be weighed against all of the other benefits of the product or service. Don’t lose out on sales because a prospect doesn’t feel you are being upfront.


When it comes to shortening the B2B sales cycle, there is no right or wrong formula when it comes to content length. Different products, services and brands may need more explanation and information than others. But if you feel that your website is getting a little text-heavy, try presenting some of the aforementioned digital content in non-text formats, such as infographics, audio and/or video. Get the information to your reader in a quick, easily digestible manner with clear links and CTAs.

If you’re not sure you’re worried you’re not quite hitting the proverbial nail on the head when it comes to your content, let us take a look. We can help get your on the right path to more money in your pocket! Email

SEO best practices for the C-suite

In the past 12 months, the SEO industry has undergone some very significant changes. And while some aspects of search engine optimisation haven’t changed (relevant and engaging content, keyword research, page titles and descriptions are all still invaluable), the presence of social media and inbound marketing are making considerable transformations in search optimisation, specifically at the enterprise level.

Organic search is the indisputable leader in driving traffic that will convert to a website. Yet, it remains among of the lowest funding priorities when it comes to the website or marketing budget. With organic search results garnering over 75 percent of clicks, it’s a wonder why so many businesses continue to invest such a large portion of their marketing budget into paid media. Yes, paid searches offer a quick fix solution, but it’s a short-term outcome with very few lingering benefits. Think of it this way: paying for search results is a lot like renting space in shopping centre–as long as you pay, you stay but as soon as you stop it’s like you never even existed.

So what do C-suite executives need to know? You’ll be surprised that these tips actually have more to do with company-wide collaboration than actual SEO programming.

1. Forget What You Know

Nearly every CEO, CMO and CIO understands the value of SEO and the crucial role it plays in generating leads and traffic. But with the constant metamorphosis of SEO, few executives realise just how challenging it is to not only gain, but sustain visibility in today’s digital environment.

Many in the C-suite will believe that bringing in a search agency or hiring more developers will be the golden ticket out of an underperforming SEO slump. Unfortunately, it’s going to require a little more blood, sweat and tears than that, and more importantly, teams across the entire company have to get involved. All departments must understand what it takes to earns organic search visibility and work together to complete the SEO objectives.

2. You’re In For the Long Haul

Good SEO isn’t simply a project; it’s a long-term investment strategy. Ensure that your SEO consultancy or agency will offer education across all internal divisions in your company. If a comprehensive understanding is not reached throughout all departments, there will be weak links, disconnects and obstacles from several directions, including management.

While the first step to better SEO practices is an enterprise-wide shift in processes and thinking, leadership must also be prepared to commit resources. Improving organic SEO practices is notoriously underfunded — when a strategy doesn’t meet immediate sale and bonus goals (campaigns can take up to 12-18 months before palpable results are felt), marketing managers and executives are hesitant to invest. The reality is, while pay-per-click offers a quick fix solution, SEO’s return on investment will continue to rise long after PPC has peaked. It may take a bit more company elbow grease, but your ROI will thank you for it.

3. Bring the Focus Back People

When putting together an SEO campaign, it’s easy to focus our attention on giving search engines what they want. It’s true that there is great value in ensuring your site conforms to technical SEO best-practices, but visibility isn’t accomplished simply by changing some keywords and titles. Social influence, social shares and content all have a hand in SEO success. And with the ever- increasing impact social media is having on digital media, people matter more than ever. Great content will resonate with your target audience and allow them to see you as an online authority. If you site is trusted, what you have to say will be shared, liked, tweeted, etc which will naturally boost your ranking.

So there you have it, the top three SEO best-practices for C-suite executives. As a leader of your business, you have considerable say in how far you can take your brand SEO. If you take anything away from this article, understand that good SEO requires development from all facets of a company, discipline, nurturing and patience. As the age-old adage goes, “good things take time”; garnering and sustaining organic search visibility is no easy feat but the success and exposure is well worth the struggle.

If you are looking increase the ROI on your SEO campaign and want some expert advice alongside a wealth of tools to cultivate your brand, give us a call! p: 09 950 2140

The sales process has been hacked by the internet

Sales effectiveness and productivity are critical in today’s business world, but there’s not a competitive business today that isn’t trying to grapple with the way the internet has redefined the classic 5-step sales process — engage a customer, qualify the customer, make a proposal, close the sale and follow up.

In the past, customers who needed a product would call in directly, or via an agent or broker. That call then set the sales process in motion. Or, a sales person would pick up on a lead and make a cold call to activate the first step. However, the harsh reality is that the internet has all but gutted that process.

Definitive evidence comes from new research from CEB and Google that shows that customers are 57% of the way through the sales process before they ever contact a sales rep. That’s because they are looking at your business information online, sifting through a smorgasbord of information and are veritable experts before they even call in.

Customersresearch your company, your products, and pricing. They look at your competitors, and analyse your perceived strengths and weaknesses. They check online testimonials and reviews (good and bad), post questions on forums and ask their friend’s friends about you. They may even go to your social media pages and finally make a decision based on what their ‘gut’ tells them about the way you ‘feel’ on Facebook and Twitter.

This is the reality that businesses face today. With this change in sales process, a company has to adjust its marketing and sales strategy. You have to be available and accessible to customers where they are online. Your online presence must engage with customers and communicate the value you can add to their businesses. As a result, relevant content will continue to rule and escalate in value, especially content related to consideration and purchase drivers.

You need a strong, and ideally, all pervasive digital and internet presence to make it easy for customers to get information on your product or service. You have to consider and examine the full range of content that your organization is producing. Weigh up video, testimonials, blog posts, articles and white papers against their relevance, newsworthiness, insightfulness, clarity, and professionalism. This is a continuous process, and your businesses must analyse and improve online communications, content and accessibility with fastidious regularity.

And if that sounds complicated, that’s only one side of the equation. Increasingly, there is an equally important online aspect that goes hand-in-hand with everything else — online monitoring. Companies today must employ effective tracking and analytics to keep abreast of their Internet ‘buzz’ and avoid potential disasters. A single negative post on Facebook, Twitter or a blog can reach millions of potential customers in an instant.

In fact, some organisations consider this critically important to the way they manage their business. It’s a small wonder that a multinational like Nestlé now has a dedicated Digital Acceleration Team , continually monitoring conversations about its products on social media.

Ultimately it may seem like confusing rocket science, but it’s really simple. Your website content should be well written, insightful, informative and up to date. Your blog should have regular updates, as should Facebook and Twitter. But perhaps most important of all, you have to ensure that your online reputation is what it should be. If someone did nothing but check you out online, would they decide to choose your business?