I am an excellent Googler. I would say Googling is up there in my top 3 talents, just above catching things like a secret service agent when they fall off the kitchen bench. My confidence in finding relevant 'on topic' material is high. I go by gut feel. With a quick turn of a phrase or change of a word I find excellent content in a matter of seconds. If you are enviously thinking - how does she do that? I have to say its not something I've tried to be good at, more something that has been evolved and crafted through the endless desire to research. I can literally bore people into an early grave with my knowledge on many a topic that has been researched to within an inch of its life. I dare you to ask me about turmeric, curcumin and the blood brain barrier. Nope, didn't think so.
So when problems with a growing Digital Marketing Agency arose I pulled out my Super Hero suit with a big G emblazoned on the front and prepared myself to meet the mighty Google for some solid advise. I was about to commence what they call in the trade a 'buyers journey'. A journey that led to the significant purchase of a B2B SaaS product - Agency Productivity Software - FunctionPoint.
The 'buyers journey' has 3 stages - Awareness Stage, Consideration Stage and Decision Stage. The type of content I needed to consume along the journey to sale was quite different depending on what stage of the buying cycle I was at. What type of content did I need at the various stages? Enter 'customer journey mapping'. Customer Journey Mapping is creating a map of questions customers are asking from the beginning of their research to the sale and answering those questions with the right content.
Here's all the stages and the type of content required for B2B SaaS.
This is the part where your customers are aware they have a problem.
My problem was that The Revery had gone from a small agency where it was easy to know the ins and outs of every job to having 25 jobs or more on a month. It was getting harder to track where jobs were getting held up, profitability and big picture overview of the business without creating time consuming spread sheets that added to staff work loads.
The awareness stage is heavy on the research. This is when people are looking for education. The most useful parts of content in this phase are resources, research data, opinions, and insights.
A big portion of web traffic in B2B tech sit in this bucket - they are reading blogs, downloading eBooks and interacting with social.
If you do a good job here, buyers will move through to the consideration stage wanting to hold hands.
This is the part where your customers know what the problem is and what is causing it.
At this stage my feeling was 'Sweet relief!!' My research had told me that this was normal for a growing agency and what I needed was productivity software with systems and process around it for staff to follow.
Content here becomes about proof. Case studies and testimonials are gold in this phase and parts of your website become super important. Engaged potential customers will be looking at your - about, contact us, product and pricing pages.
In consideration stage you are looking to be put on a short list.
The teensy tiny end of the funnel where you have the chance to make a sale.
This is the 'ok looks like this SaaS can help me but which is the right one to choose'. Potential customers are asking themselves questions like - Will this be easy to use? Can I afford it? What support will they offer? Will I be locked in for a long time? What is my get out clause if I hate it?
People are looking for certainty. Independent and customer reviews both work well here, as does a well placed phone call with a sales person. In fact sales people can make the real difference here. You can create all the greatest content in the world but your sales people must be prompt (research says often the quickest to react gets the deal), must know their stuff and must be open to seal the deal (and yes, yes I realise sales people aren't content)
After all of my research I narrowed the competition down to FunctionPoint and Workamajig who both did a good job of 'through the funnel' content. We are still in installation mode so I can't tell you if its the right decision yet but the tipping point for me was Broc. Broc the sales guy. Open, honest, friendly, keen to help and a really cool name, unless it was short for Broccoli, although there is Apple.