B2B marketers often believe this statement: content marketing offers are leads.
However, the issue they run into is that the sales team doesn’t believe content offer downloads are real leads. As such, the sales team doesn’t give the leads the time or attention they deserve.
It’s important to remember that a potential prospect who completes a form and trades their contact information for a guide, whitepaper, case study or ebook is indeed a lead.
Let’s take a closer look at why content offer downloads are devalued and how you can change that to increase your firm’s revenue with B2B content marketing.
Content Offer Downloads Aren’t Leads
As a member of the marketing team, you may discover the following when you ask the sales team about the content form submissions that have come in:
A sales representative made one half-hearted attempt at contacting the lead, maybe after several days passed, and then filed it under “non-responsive.”
This is one of the more frustrating things that B2B marketers hear from their internal sales department. On occasion, when they dig deeper with sales, they find out that the leads aren’t a priority since they aren’t “real” leads.
Keep in mind that most folks today carefully guard their email addresses and are reluctant to give them out unless totally necessary. If a website visitor provides you with a valid email address – they should be treated as a valuable “real” lead. If they trust you with their contact information, you should take that lead seriously.
They Aren’t Sales-Ready Leads
A prospect completes a website form. A salesperson talks to the lead. The lead signs a contract.
Is every lead this simple? For B2B companies, it’s unlikely that the above describes a typical journey for a prospect from start to finish. It’s often a much more in-depth process that can take days, weeks, months, or years and often involves continual communication and nurturing.
So, when a sales team member says that a lead isn’t a “real” lead because the lead isn’t “sales-ready” (ready to get on the phone with a salesperson), they are missing the bigger picture. The person who downloaded your buyer’s guide may not be ready to speak to a salesperson today as they are gathering information. However, they may be interested in starting discussions next month, next quarter, or at the beginning of the year.
By making contact early in the process, responding to a form download, and continually working the lead, your sales team can guide the lead down the funnel (and build up their future pipeline).
Read more: How to leverage your website to grow sales.
Great Way to Nurture and Build Relationships (Passively)
Every B2B web design and content marketing should incorporate a range of calls-to-action (CTA) to build value at every stage of the sales process. These can include top-of-funnel to mid-funnel CTAs like ebooks downloads, blog articles to read or share, email newsletter sign-ups, etc. Additionally, a website or content strategy will include more bottom-of-funnel CTAs like request a demo/consultation, contact form, phone call, proposal request, etc.
Having a variety of CTAs enables your firm to provide value and nurture a lead through the sales process. Many prospects don’t want to have a conversation with a sales representative right off the bat, they may want to learn if your software offers the functionality they need, or if you work with companies in their industry.
Read more: Do’s and don’ts for attracting leads.
Often, the person who downloads your content offer may have been researching your company’s offerings for some time, reading your blog posts on social media, receiving your email newsletter, and reading about your company in industry publications. Making contact once and then filing away a lead that isn’t responsive essentially devalues the entire prospect journey and demonstrates that your company doesn’t need their business (even if it isn’t right this minute).
All Leads Are Valuable
As mentioned earlier, if a prospect is willing to trade their contact information for a piece of B2B content your team has created – maintain that level of trust. While a content download isn’t at the same point in the sales process as a demo request, they have still reached out to your company to start a relationship.
Have a plan for handling content offer leads. It should be different than “sales-ready” leads. Asking a prospect who downloads their first content offer to hop on the phone with a sales rep is the same thing as asking a first date to marry you as soon as you sit down at the table in a restaurant – it’s way too soon!
Read more: Web lead mismanagement and how to excel in business development.
Instead, your sales team or marketing team should nurture the lead with additional content, a drip campaign, and by sharing their contact information if the prospect should need it.