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How to Create Content for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

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How to Create Content for Every Stage of the Buyer's Journey

No one wakes up in the morning and decides, “I’m going to buy something today.” Instead, they go through a path to purchase that includes research and evaluation before committing to a sales call.

That journey is called the buyer’s journey. Because consumers are more informed and empowered than ever, it’s important to deeply understand your buyer persona and their journey so you can create content that helps them along that path while positioning you as an authority in your space.

In this post, we’ll cover:

Understanding the Buyer’s Journey in Marketing

In most cases, with the exception of impulse buys, an individual begins their journey in an “unaware stage.” This individual likely fits the demographics of your ideal client, also known as your buyer persona, but they are unaware of your product or in need of it.

However, they may experience a triggering event that changes their situation or pain that needs to be solved. This kicks off their buyer’s journey.

buyer's journey graphic showing progression through the awareness stage, consideration stage and decision stage

Let’s say that an individual wants to kick off a personal fitness journey. They may not immediately decide to purchase a gym membership. This individual may take to the internet to learn more and make decisions as they progress through the following stages in their buyer’s journey, and it’s our job to assist them in that decision-making process.

Awareness Stage

In the awareness stage, the buyer is experiencing a problem or symptoms of a pain, and their goal is to alleviate it. They may be looking for informational resources to more clearly understand, frame, and give a name to their problem.

An example of a search query a prospect might begin with is: “How do I get stronger?” In the awareness stage, they are not yet thinking about solutions or providers; it’s much too early for that. Instead, they’re looking to contextualize their problem first. As a content marketer, you’ll want to show up in search engine results, even in these early stages, to establish your authority and gain the trust of buyers who are starting the journey.

Consideration Stage

In the consideration stage, the buyer will have clearly defined and given a name to their problem, and they are committed to researching and understanding all of the available approaches and/or methods to solving the defined problem or opportunity. In other words, they are considering potential solutions.

An example of a search inquiry a prospect would make at the consideration stage is: “What’s better: going to a gym or hiring a personal trainer?” In the consideration stage, the prospect is not yet ready to buy, but they are deciding on the potential solution for them. Your goal will be to consider your indirect competitors and educate them on the pros and cons.

Decision Stage

Once they’ve progressed to the decision stage, the buyer has decided on their solution strategy, method, or approach. Their goal now is to compile a list of available vendors, make a short list, and ultimately make a final purchase decision.

An example of a search inquiry a prospect would make at the decision stage is: “Planet Fitness vs. Gold’s Gym.” Now they’re ready to spend money, and they’ll likely go with a provider that they like, know, and trust so long as that provider can meet their needs.

Why Creating Content for the Buyer’s Journey Is Important

As in all marketing disciplines, it’s essential to understand your audience: how they think, the answers they seek, and the path they tend to take to find a solution. From that research, you can begin crafting a documented content strategy that maps your content to the various stages of the buyer’s journey.

When you don’t completely understand your audience, a disconnect is created between your business and your potential customers. For content marketers, this usually means you’re putting out content that your readers don’t really relate to, which can cause you to lose them.

To avoid this, you’ll have to consider the stage they’re at in their journey, how to meet them there, and the best channels to put the content in front of them. The internet has made it easier for marketers (and salespeople) to engage customers at the various stages of their journey using content marketing. That’s one of the main reasons that 60% of marketers consider content as ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’ to their overall strategy.

However, it can be challenging to create the right content, for the right people, at the right time.

Building a content strategy starts with identifying the types of content you’ll need to reach your audience according to their progression through the buyer’s journey, and we’ll guide you through it in terms of both the marketing flywheel.

Creating Content for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Once you have an idea of your buyer persona and how prospects move closer to purchase, you can begin creating content for your buyer at different stages and tailor that content per channel.

Doing so can help you map your content to the relevant stages of the buyer’s journey to make a marketing funnel.

  • Awareness Stage: The stage where people look for answers, resources, education, research data, opinions, and insight.
  • Consideration Stage: The stage where people are doing heavy research on whether or not your product or service is a good fit for them.
  • Decision Stage: The stage where people figure out exactly what it would take to become a customer.

Your journey may look very different depending on your industry, business model, product, pricing, and audience. Some B2C customers, for example, spend very little time in the middle of the buyer’s journey compared to B2B customers that require far more nurturing, engagement, and relationship development before a purchase is made. A $50 pair of sneakers, for instance, requires a lot less hand-holding when it comes to making purchase decisions than a $10,000 business software investment.

Content Ideas for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Because audiences can vary widely based on industry and intent, persona research is of the utmost importance. By understanding their unique process for awareness and evaluation, you can create a truly effective content marketing strategy packed with custom content that best supports their journey toward making a purchase.

content for each stage of the buyer's journey: awareness consideration decision stage examples

So let’s take it from the top and start from the beginning of the buyer’s journey.

At the awareness stage, a buyer is trying to solve problems, get an answer, or meet a need. They’re looking for top-level educational content to help direct them to a solution, like blog posts, social content, and ebooks. Their value as a lead is low because there’s no guarantee that they’ll buy from you. But those who find your content helpful and interesting may journey on to the middle of the funnel.

content for each stage of the buyer's journey: awareness stage with example search inquiry

The ideal channels for the awareness stage may include:

  • Blogging
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing

Let’s run through the different content formats best suited for these channels.

1. Blog Post

A blog post is an ideal piece of content targeting the awareness stage. By targeting a pain, problem, or topic your target audience wants to discover and then posting it to your website, you’re creating a brand asset that’s crawlable by Google and discoverable by search engine users. You can also promote your blog content across other channels.

content formats for the awareness stage: blog post

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Arel=”noopener” target=”_blank” hrefs is an excellent example of a brand that does blog content right. They include original data and informational advice to create long-form articles that serve their audience.

Featured Resource: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

6 free blog post templates hubspot resource

Download for Free

2. Social Media Post

Social media is a channel that can be used to promote your other content, and you can also create content specifically for the channel. According to Pew Research, 72% of the public uses some form of social media, so your audience is likely native to this channel. Unlike blog posts, social media posts are likely in shorter form, and video consumption is also on the rise.

content formats for the awareness stage: social media post linkedin example

In the above example, HubSpot Agency Partner Yokel Local shares attractive customer marketing tips on the LinkedIn platform. SlideShare formats are popular on LinkedIn, so the content is created to be snackable with short-form take-aways.

3. Whitepaper

A whitepaper is an organization’s report or guide on a particular topic. Whitepapers are especially useful as downloadable offers when readers want to go more in-depth on a specific subject they’re reading about. For whitepapers, it’s essential to provide information that can’t be found elsewhere so that your audience understands the report’s value and is compelled to get it.

content formats for the awareness stage: whitepaper

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Every year, HubSpot publishes a survey on the state of marketing to provide helpful guidance based on thought leadership to marketers, sales professionals, and business owners. Inside, readers find statistics from a broad survey and industry experts’ opinions on what the data means and where the industry is going.

4. Checklist

For complicated tasks with many moving parts, individuals may simply want a blueprint that spells out what they’re supposed to do to achieve their end goal.

content format for the awareness stage: checklist

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Buying a home is a perfect example of this, and Opendoor meets its audience’s needs by providing a handy checklist (in infographic form!) for the reader that spells out all the steps that need to be taken. The graphic is aesthetically pleasing and even allows room for a few tips along the way.

5. How-To Video

Sometimes, the best way to solve a pain or problem is to learn a new skill. Sure, a purchase of some kind may be required along the way, but the audience may need to become more informed about the problem and how to solve it. That’s where instructional video content comes in.

HubSpot Marketing has a series of videos dedicated to teaching viewers about where SEO principles are broken down to the audience in easy-to-understand language and visuals. Knowing that SEO is a complex subject, the Marketing team aims to make it accessible to viewers.

6. Kit or Tool

Informational content provided to a broader audience may not always be enough for your buyer persona to make a decision or take action. In some cases, they may require a little more utility or personalization. That’s why kits and tools are a great piece of content to create to help the reader along their path to purchase.

content format for the awareness stage: kit or tool

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Nerdwallet creates content around several financial topics, budgeting being one of them. It can be challenging to create a budget, though, so they developed a calculator that allows users to provide their own numbers to receive a customized recommendation.

7. Ebook or Tip Sheet

Like whitepapers, ebooks and tip sheets are great options for downloadable content. In contrast, they tend to be shorter form and more actionable.

content format for the awareness stage: ebook or tip sheet

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CoSchedule combines a few tactics by promoting their headline analyzer tool with a blog post about writing great headlines that drive traffic. On that blog post, they include a great tip sheet of powerful words to include in headlines if you want to catch a reader’s attention.

Featured Resource: 36 Free Ebook Templates

36 free ebook templates hubspot resource

Download for Free

8. Educational Webinar

A webinar is a web seminar where information is typically provided through video. A webinar can be prerecorded or streamed live, which opens up many possibilities to disseminate information to an audience who wants more visual and auditory content.

content formats for the awareness stage: webinar

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SEMrush makes webinars a key part of its content marketing strategy, often running a valuable topic multiple times to get more mileage out of the content.

Moving on from awareness stage content, let’s delve into the next stage of the buyer’s journey.

When someone moves into the consideration stage, it means you’ve captured their attention. They know they have a problem that has to be solved, and now they’re trying to discover the best solution. The need for a future purchase commitment creeps up as they’re evaluating their options.

1660231774 488 How to Create Content for Every Stage of the Buyers

This stage is typically a point of extended engagement where you’re nurturing a lead, building a relationship, and establishing trust between the audience and your brand.

The ideal channels for your consideration stage may include:

  • Website or Blogging
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media

Let’s go through the best content formats for this part of the buyer’s journey.

1. Product Comparison Guides

In the consideration stage, the buyer persona still considers solutions to their pain or problem. For this reason, product comparisons are a great way to help them decide.

content format for the consideration stage: product comparison guide example from very well fit that reads "pros and cons of hiit training"

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Verywell Fit provides such a comparison to help their readers choose between high-intensity workouts vs. steady-state cardio, providing the pros and cons and use cases for each.

2. Case Study

A case study can be used in both the consideration and decision stages simultaneously by convincing the reader that the solution works by establishing that the provider achieves results for their clients by administering the solution. A good case study will appeal to the emotions and logic of the persona by providing detailed information and quantitative data on the final solution.

content format for the consideration stage: case study example from bluleadz that reads "lead generation strategy lands 77 new clients for credit counseling agency"

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HubSpot Partner Agency Blueleadz tells a story about their client and their problems while providing a detailed account of how they solved them.

Featured Resource: 3 Free Case Study Templates

case study creation kit hubspot resource

Download for Free

3. Free Sample

A free sample is another example of content or an offer that overlaps between the buyer’s journey stages. Consider this: An individual wants to paint the inside of their home but doesn’t know what color.

As they consider which color (the solution), they pick up paint chip cards from their hardware store. A provider creates these cards based on their individual solution. When the individual falls in love with a color, they already know who the provider is that makes it.

content format for the consideration stage: free sample example from 4colorprint that depicts a pack of sample business cards

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SILKCARDS taps into this buying behavior by offering samples of their unique printing methods on the content that they create. They know their business is tactile, and digital content alone is not enough to close a deal. Once their prospective customer holds the sample in their hands, other business cards are put to shame.

So now that you’ve provided content to help customers list out or sample their options, it’s time to move them into the decision stage.

the buyer's journey decision stage with example inquiry

As prospects near the end of the buyer’s journey, they’re evaluating providers down to specific or specialized offerings.

Marketers, in turn, want to go above and beyond their expectations and provide an easy and frictionless customer experience that can win them over their competitors.

Handling objections, remove hesitation, position ahead of comp

The ideal channels for your decision stage content may include:

  • Website
  • Email Marketing
  • Live Chat and Chatbots for Service

With your prospects getting increasingly interested, let’s go through the content formats that can help them get closer to purchase.

1. Free Trial or Live Demo

What better way to know if you want to purchase a product than take it for a spin? Car dealerships have used the “test drive” tactic for years because it works. If the product itself checks all the boxes the buyer has, all the sales team has to do is handle their objections and make the close.

content format for the decision stage: free trial or demo

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Hellosign does this well. Though they have a free option with limitations, they know that offering a free trial upfront is the key to getting clients into their larger tiers. Their pricing page sets the prospect’s expectations and points them to the free trial.

2. Consultation Offer

A consultation is another example of providing just a little bit of service in exchange for the opportunity to close the sale. The best consultation reduces the anxiety of entering into a sales conversation by promising something concrete they can walk away with (a strategy or actionable advice) in exchange for their time.

content format for the decision stage: consultation offer from blkbld & co that reads 'for our initial consultation, we will discuss what you are looking to do, your budget, my marketing plans you can execute & lastly the next steps"

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Blk Bld & Co.’s consultation offer is a great example because it reduces the friction of scheduling a consultation. By removing friction, this organization increases the chances of conversion.

3. Coupon

A coupon appeals to a fear of missing out (FOMO) mindset. By reducing the price by a certain amount, a coupon is handing a price objection while convincing the prospect that they’re leaving money on the table if they don’t use the coupon. This inertia is enough to win the prospect’s business.

content format for the decision stage: coupon

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Fragrant Jewels does this well by gamifying its coupons. By spinning the wheel, the website visitors have the chance to get a coupon before checking out the products. They’ll likely evaluate the products that are a good deal with the coupon they won.

In addition to decision stage content, you should create content to delight your existing customers. This may include FAQ and knowledge base content to make the customer experience more accessible, coupons for the opportunity to upsell, and additional educational content that deepens their understanding of a topic.

Mapping Content Across All Stages of the Buying Cycle

Every business offers a unique buyer’s journey that can’t necessarily be replicated from one business to another. When creating your buyer’s journey, you must understand your audience and develop a strategy that maps custom content specific to each phase of their journey through the process.

If you do it well, it can have a significant impact on your customer relationships and lift your overall conversions.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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