Congratulations, you created a great white paper or some other type of content that has generated leads! Now what? Collecting the leads is just the first step. What happens once that name and associated information has been acquired is just the beginning of the customer experience.
One Download Does Not Make an SQL
After your potential customer registers for a piece of content, what does the optimal sales follow-up or company communication look like? And what about timing? We dug into this in our most recent Customer Engagement research to better understand what resonates with tech decision-makers (ITDMs).
In their quest for self-education, ITDMs download an average of seven informational assets related to the solution they are researching, which is up from six last year. However, an overwhelming majority of ITDMs (79%) say they find it challenging to locate the information they need to make informed purchase decisions. This really hones in on the fact that creating the right content is an essential element of your marketing and sales enablement strategy.
However, if you feel that your content marketing strategy and results are not what they should be, other tech marketers are in the same boat. According to recent research from the Content Marketing Institute, only 24% of tech marketers feel that their content marketing approach is very or extremely successful. The top challenges revolve around the ability to create the right content: lack of time or bandwidth, the need for more variety and volume, and producing content that will engage the target audience. But looking at the results of this research will reinforce the value of your content marketing efforts.
After they have consumed the right amount of content related to a specific enterprise IT/security solution, there is a gap in time before they want to be contacted by a sales representative. On average, the vendor sales representative should reach out after six days which speaks to the need to digest the information–but this differs by title, region, and even age with Baby Boomers wanting a longer amount of time to digest content–eight days–compared to Gen-Xers at six days and Millennials who only need four days.
That follow up should be tailored to your specific customer – and it is surprising the differences among ITDMs in what will prompt them to respond to outreach from a potential vendor (e.g., asked a question, requested more information, agreed to a meeting, etc.). The good news, although it may not feel this way to tech sales people, is that 98% of ITDMs say they have responded to outreach from a potential vendor. The number one factor prompting that response is when the representative shared valuable content or information in that outreach (56%); followed closely by showing that they were knowledgeable about their business/specific challenges (53%); showing respect for their time (51%); demonstrating honesty and transparency (51%); and reaching out at the right time (50%). While all these factors are similar in percentages within the overall results, we see wide gaps between these factors by title (see below).
The method and timing for follow-up is also extremely important. The research shows, and we hear anecdotally all the time, that ITDMs do not want to be inundated by phone calls – in fact 49% say it is never acceptable to call them after they have registered for a piece of content. And of those who will accept the phone calls, the frequency should be limited to once per month or less often (39%). Although texting as become common place among friends and colleagues, this is an “earned” right, with 74% saying it is never OK to text them as follow up. Email is a much more acceptable method of follow-up, but even via email, the frequency should be limited to once per month or less often (51%), or once every two weeks (24%). Arming your sales team with the resources they need–educational assets in sharable formats–will go far in helping them to garner response to their outreach.
Now in its fifth year, the IDG Enterprise Customer Engagement research is conducted to help tech marketers understand what content works best, when, and with whom. To help you define your content marketing strategy by title, region, age or industry, contact your IDG Enterprise sales representative to dig into the results in a presentation tailored to your goals.