Facilitating The Buying Cycle With Content Marketing

PropelGrowth Blog - Financial Services Marketing

Reference guide for using content marketing to facilitate the technology buying process.
click to download


As a B2B marketer, a key aspect of your integrated marketing strategy is aligning your marketing programs and campaigns with the specific stages of your customer’s buying cycle. Failing to do this can make your content marketing efforts less effective, especially if your goal is increasing your lead conversion rates and generating revenue.

Research consistently shows that upwards of 75% of the buying cycle being completed before buyers even engage with sales. So it’s never been more important to ensure that your content is useful to buyers and answers their questions. Below we’ll discuss how you can align your content marketing with the four major stages of the buying cycle to achieve more wins. In addition, check out Content and Thought Leadership to Support the Buying Cycle for more insight on how to provide helpful content.

Stage 1: Awareness

In this initial stage, your prospects are just getting their arms around the fact that they have a business problem. Use this opportunity to educate them about the industry issues they face, and help them realize that there are ways to solve these problems. Keep in mind that 65% of the time, the vendors who created vision in the early stage of the buying process ultimately gets the deal. So this is a crucial stage to get your messaging right.

Refrain from making your marketing content “sales-y” or promotional. Instead, offer them thought leadership assets such as articles or white papers that clearly address their challenges, and offer insight on how they can effectively overcome these issues. Leverage public relations and media outreach to share your message. In the financial services industry, there are a number of publications that accept third party content. Publish thoughtful, customer-centric editorial to help build awareness. Video is a powerful tool for building awareness of customer issues, helping you display a true understanding of your prospects’ pain points.

Click here to download a useful 2-page reference guide that will help you align your content marketing efforts to the buying cycle (great for hanging on the wall for easy reference).

Stage 2: Research

In this phase, the customer is researching potential solutions and defining their requirements. 92% of buyers do not consider themselves experts in how to solve the problem at hand. So it’s your job to educate the buying committee, helping them learn how to address their challenges. Frame their business problems in alignment with your company’s solution capabilities; but be careful! Don’t give them a list of benefits without evidence of how those benefits are obtained. Your product is no panacea, and pretending it is will cost you crediblity.

A good way to approach content at this point is to direct prospects to editorials and blogs that explore the business problem and solution approaches in some depth. You can also provide research studies or Stage 3: Evaluation

At this stage of the purchasing game, your buyer is sitting down to evaluate potential vendors. Your mission, therefore, is to build confidence in your company and products. A lot of vendors fall down at this stage. Here are some reasons IT buyers don’t trust technology vendors. In a recent survey, 42% of IT heads reported finding it very challenging to find information they could trust during a recent technology buying process. Therefore, you’ll need to be honestly empathetic in helping your buyer understand all the requirements and/or resources that will go into implementing a new technology solution, so that they can write realistic business cases and RFPs. This is also a good time for your company’s thought leaders to explain why they came up with the key functionality your company offers.

Your content should be focused on answering customer questions and lending credibility to your brand. Assets such as white papers, implementation guides, technical blogs and case studies are useful for driving your message home. Another great way to demonstrate the value of your offering is by providing them with product comparison guides and sample RFPs.

Stage 4: Commitment

In this last stage of the buying cycle, the customer arrives at their final decision. As a vendor, you should be focused on helping them overcome any and all purchasing fears and objections. Here you might educate the prospect on implementation strategies, what preparation steps they need to take, problems other clients have encountered and how they overcame the issues. You might use content to address common objections. Be sure to tackle objections from IT, risk management, compliance and finance— and remember transparency is key. Also, keep in mind that 81% of buyers value interaction with technical staff at this late stage of the buying process.

Be up front about both the good and perhaps not so good aspects of introducing new technology by providing prospects with relevant technical documents and how-to-guides. Case studies and articles about implementation will give them a good idea of how they can best prepare for the transition. These assets should be protected from the eyes of your competitors. Consider distributing only via the Sales channel, or put them in a location that can only be accessed by logging in.

Setting Yourself Apart with Content Marketing

In this day and age, vendor competition is fierce. But you can make your company more attractive to prospective customers by adjusting your content activities to fit the various stages of their buying cycle. Doing this will help you establish trust and show buyers that you can offer the right expertise, helping render their decision-making process a little less painful.

For more tips on aligning your content marketing program with the financial technology buying process, download our free reference guide, “The 4 Stages of the Financial Technology Buying Process.”

7 responses to “Facilitating The Buying Cycle With Content Marketing”

  1. […] The evaluation stage is where buyers assess the technical, business and financial feasibility of shortlisted options. Competing interests and fear increase as decisions loom. Internal advocates need help finding common ground and building consensus. Content that educates advocates and arms them with persuasive tools to help convince other stakeholders is essential. Now your content needs to help them really understand how they’re going to use your product internally, how each group will interact with it, what the results will be, and how it will impact their workflow. I’ve seen teams do a great job demonstrating at this level. Consider capturing the demonstrations and finding a way to condense them into brief videos and self-directed slide presentations to support the sales process. You’re not replacing those live demos, you’re preparing constituents to see the demo and helping them remember what they saw. In essence, you’re facilitating the buying process. […]

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