Using Content Analytics to Shorten the Sales Cycle

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If you are launching and promoting and product or service with a business-to-business (B2B) focus, today’s competitive sales environment requires the conversion of prospects into sales at a faster rate than ever before. Today’s decision makers in B2B and business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions are taking more time before making buying decisions, and according to recent studies, the average sales cycle takes nearly 20% longer than 5 years ago.

A longer sales cycle means higher costs to a fledging business, with the increased volume of resources needed to complete the sale. For most start-up organizations, cash-flow and sales resources are of a limited quantity, and must be deployed as efficiently as possible. One technique used by many forward-thinking businesses to combat the longer sales cycle is the use of content marketing. The use of content marketing to promote products and services, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), allows business owners to harness the power of social media and reach their target audience with relevant information necessary to establish credibility and connect with customers.

How Content Marketing Helps the Buyer Conduct Better Mapping in the Exploration Stage

Sixty percent of those decision makers in the sales cycle make a decision to buy through the use of content marketing and inline resources according to HBR. This means that three-fifths of potential customers rely on information provide online, via a website, social media, blogs and email blasts to shape their purchasing decision before speaking with a sales rep.

This trend has underlined the importance of using content marketing as a way to provide specific information that answers a query made by a customer. Through this process of self-discovery and mapping during the exploration stage a prospect begins to decide whether to do business or not, based on the strength of the information presented online.

Finding Relevant Content for Prospects

One of the challenges with content marketing is finding relevant content that meets the needs of B2B prospects. This is where having the tools to develop relevant content, but also learn the online research behavior of prospective customers offers invaluable insights. The use of predictive analytics, the process of mining data in order to predict future behavior, through content analytics tools enhances existing content by bringing the most relevant material to the forefront. This process empowers online to content educate a prospective customer by suggesting additional content that is likely to be related to their need or recent query.

Using Analytics with Sales Reps to Pinpoint How Prospects Interact with Content

Beyond the tools available to improve B2B and B2C prospective client interactions, business owners need a way to not only analyze data relevant to their online behavior but to also provide actionable data to sales reps to expedite the close of sales, the conversion of prospects into clients, and to maintain customer interest for future sales. The more a sales team understands the return on investment associated with content marketing efforts, and that content developers understand the effectiveness and performance of their different segments of content, the more customer buy-in a business will receive.

As a B2B-focused business owner, one should explore tools that will reduce the length sales cycle. By using content analytics tools to extract valuable insights from existing data, businesses can reach more customers at a higher ROI than through traditional sales efforts.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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