Content marketing is powerful, effective way of growing your business, but it can’t work as a stand-alone method for B2B lead generation.
Complex sales require more than just well-written content, they require making a quality connection with a key decision maker at a prospective business to determine what, if any, business pains they are experiencing.
An Integrated Approach
Four years ago we published a blog written by our colleague Denise Senter titled, Outbound Calling in a Content Marketing World. In it, she notes the swing towards “inbound only” marketing programs that use the power of social media to share content and generate leads.
“With that swing, many B2B marketers are launching robust content marketing programs and abandoning some of the proven, more integrated approaches to lead generation.”
While this strategy appeared to generate great interest in content, the marketing leads that came from content-only marketing often have a very low conversion-to-sales pipeline.
Ms. Senter makes the argument for an integrated approach to lead generation, one that continues to cultivate business relationships through interactions.
Four years later, this argument still holds true, and this blog is still worth the read.
Why Can’t B2B Content Marketing Stand Alone?
With the changes and improvements that have happened just in the past four years to websites, social media platforms, internet speeds, email automation, etc., why is content marketing alone still not enough for B2B lead generation?
The answer is not necessarily about the content, but who is reading it and why.
Is it the decision makers and key evaluators who are reading the content shared through inbound marketing? Many of the people who read content for businesses are simply gathering information and putting reports together.
They may have influence at the company, but at best they’re going to be making recommendations instead of decisions.
Furthermore, the fact that someone at another company is reading your content does not necessarily demonstrate a need for your products, much less give you any information on how close they are to making a decision or what their budget is.
If they’re not planning to buy, or they don’t have the budget, then it doesn’t matter how many of your whitepapers they download.
The Benefits of Using the Phone to Connect
Peer-to-peer conversations will quantify where a prospect is at and whether or not they’re worth pursuing. It is the decision makers that know the challenges that the company is facing, the timeline for which they can make a purchase, and the amount that can be spent.
Business relationships offer the chance to go from ‘an option we heard about online’ to ‘a partner who is helping us achieve our goals’. Once you start an actual relationship, your company is inherently different from the competition.
Finally, B2B cold calling helps to build trust. Business transactions often involve a considerable portion of a company’s budget. Outsourced B2B lead generation is a great option for businesses who want to invest in a team of experts to handle their cold calling.
Creating and nurturing a relationship of trust with a client provides them with the encouragement they need to commit to a significant investment of time and money.
Learn more about our proven methodologies for complex sales and B2B Lead Generation.
An integrated approach, one that includes outbound calling programs from a qualified firm with a proven track record, is still going to offer the best return on investment for B2B lead generation and complex sales.