A Content Stack is a 'Best Practice' strategy developed by salesXchange whereby a B2B Technology, SaaS or Services company compiles a selection of carefully chosen sales and marketing material, presented in a sequential order, that educates a prospect about your products and services to help them buy from you, without involving salespeople. This activity enables your company to promote at scale, ensuring all initial enquiries can be dealt with by self-service, in any geographic area, before a salesperson needs to make contact.
- Digital Selling – The Big Picture
- The Right Order of Business
- Getting Prospects to Think “I like this company!”
- Educating Your Prospects
- Removing Blockages & Making it Easy
- The Content Stack Logic
- Building Your Content Stack
- The Customer Journey Stages
- Stage 1 – How Promotion & Engagement will Deliver the Best Experiences
- Stage 2- Review Your Website to Maximise Conversions
- Stage 3 – Live Show
- Example Content Stack
- The Live Stream Stage
Virtually every business uses or wants to use marketing automation to deliver content as the main building block to digital marketing to generate leads. On the face of it all looks logical and necessary, but after ten years of extensive use, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Big Tech and Mar Tech told B2B’s to buy into automation software, even though it was designed for B2C’s!
Consumer businesses wanted to grow their email databases which in turn, combined with their potential revenue life-time value, increased their investment ‘attractiveness’. Encouraging a follower of a consumer brand to sign up to a newsletter was always easier than asking a CEO of a B2B to do the same.
As far back as 2017, Forrester published less than 1% of prospects who traversed a so-called marketing funnel became revenue paying customers. Fast forward to last year and Gartner said businesses want to remain anonymous and this year McKinsey & Co are saying businesses want to self-serve. But it's not the filling out of forms that's the problem. Most marketers will say there's no problem getting MQL's. It's converting them to pipeline that's the issue.
It all sounded so clever and so promising; Prospects were supposed to fill in forms because they wanted to learn, marketing was to get KPI bonuses because they attracted so many enquiries and salespeople got all the leads they ever wanted – sadly, this never happened.
The reality is, every business owner wants to keep their plans secret and the last thing they want to do is tell some salesperson or company what they’re up to, which somehow broadcasts to every other sales business that they’re now looking at XYZ type of product(s). To learn more about this major conflicting issue, read our article - How to Pivot to Digital Selling - Sales & Marketing Transformtion.
So how does a vendor connect with potential new businesses and have that - all important conversation?
As you may have read on previous articles or pages on this website, Digital Selling is about repairing a broken ‘new business’ system. It’s not about issues between sales and marketing, it’s about the failure of both sides to adopt the right technology and exploit it for the sake of the business and that means learning what’s out there and not being told by Martech what to buy, and when new business fails to materialise, they blame sales or the technology, never marketing.
In the eyes of the customer, their journey starts with you promoting your business which leads to prospects reviewing your content and finally buying from you. From your perspective as the vendor, the order of work and activity is as follows:
- The first thing your team need to do is get your content right
- Next is to ensure your website converts (Content Stacks & Calls-to-Action)
- Finally, once everything is in place, is to promote what you do
The Content Stack is to be comprehensive and transparent. The objective is to convince prospects to say to themselves, “I want this company to be my supplier because they have demonstrated, from start to finish, they are competent and skilled in explaining how their product works, what it will do for my business and how they will work with my team”.
It is easy to understand how a B2C ecommerce website would work, e.g., the Amazon model that includes video, explanations, and customer stories and five-star approvals. When it comes to B2B, most websites are simply a digital brochure and treated as automated prospecting platforms, with no more expectation than collecting a compliment slip after cold calling a company in person.
Look at our page about Copywriting as it explains how to reclassify your content to match the interest level of the browser/prospect and not to get bogged down in personas.
Once you have restructured your content and established your Primary, Secondary, General, Product and How to Buy content and tagged then in Open graph. Part of this stage is to ensure you provide a variety of media types, i.e., video, podcast and so on. For more information about structuring your content, take a look at our page on SEO & SEM.
Once you have removed of your marketing automation software forms, the next critical stage is to create your Content Stacks.
This is an essential exercise for your whole web team to ensure you have sufficient, logically structured content to enable a prospect to learn about your products and feel satisfied to the point of deciding to buy from you, without needing pre-sales or sales to provide further explanations about your product or software.
Buyers want to progress their evaluation of your product and your business at their own speed to decide who they might like to do business with. We all do. Theoretically, you should already have all the necessary documentation, albeit in different locations, some online, some offline, perhaps in a Sales & Marketing ‘hub’ on your intranet.
That said, to create your first Content Stack, this is how to start: -
- Create all the necessary headings beginning with the first content type your prospects are usually sent or they download
- Decide upon and select all the required content
- Place content in a chronological list that matches a typical learning journey
- Tagged with the correct hyperlinks to the locations on the website
- Insert a BACK button on every page/article being referenced in the Content Stack to assist with navigation
- At the bottom of the Content Stack page, insert a large visible Call-to-Action ‘Next Step” button instructing the browser to contact you when they’re ready
If you have studied account-based marketing (ABM) you will know the objective is to furnish each person involved in the buying process with relevant content, therefore certain information will be specific to a CTO, CIO, COO and so on. It is not good form to simply send the same information to everyone concerned.
Video for CEO
Video for COO or CTO
Below is an example of a possible Content Stack for a Digital Transformation, Business Process Management software company.
As you can see, the first components are two videos expressly created/targeted to the two main buyers expected to or invited to the Content Stack page. This is replicated per solution or vertical market served:
Early-Stage Education - General
- An overview of what information is available
- Introduction to the company and its operations
- Article – include Link
- Video - including Link
- Application Ideas – Business Solutions
- Product Literature, video, and recorded webinars
- Benefits of PaaS vs SaaS vs On-Premises Solutions
- Book Review Links, Article Links, Video Links, Podcast Links
- Things to look out for in a supplier
Mid-Stage Investigation - About YOU
- Meet the Team: CEO, Tech Support, Sales, Customer Success, Professional Services
- An Agile approach to digital transformation
- Digital Transformation Sprints
- Planning for BPM within Digital Transformation Projects
- Case Studies – How other companies have used the software
- How to: Scenario - Build - Challenge – How it will work for your business
- How to: The Learning Workflow to use the software
Late-Stage Evaluation – How they can buy from you
- Waterfall Planning & Project Management for Digital Transformation
- Worksheets & Checklists, Questionnaires, gamification
- How to: Create an inhouse Technology TeamsX to implement new systems
- Workshop Description & Content, Workshop Diary Dates
- How to: Writing an inhouse training course for digital transformation
- How to: Book Professional Services, Scoping, Execution & Training
- How to: Installation Procedure, Gantt & People
- How to: Placing an order
The above content should be presented in the following formats to accomodate every potential prospect. The formats are as follows: -
The objective is for your prospects to want to stay on your website and not click elsewhere.
There are three main elements to to your customer's journey when it comes to the required structure for the Content Stack from your prospects’ perspective: -
How Promotion & Engagement will deliver the best experience
- Reclassify your content to Primary, Secondary, General, Product & How to Buy
- Edit and merge existing content to help educate prospects before they buy
- Use a variety of media, e.g., video, podcasts, live streaming, and written content
Update your assets & get noticed
Review your website to maximise conversion
- Cease using Marketing Automation forms on website & landing pages
- Build Content Stacks to increase conversion rate
- Create online Digital Selling pathways, i.e., Calls-to-Action
Increase your sales because you thought about your prospects first
The Live Show
- Live Stream to your Total Addressable Market, enabling anonymous engagement, driving traffic to your website and conversion
- Create recordings and transcripts of the live shows and post them on your website
- Create podcasts from the audio of the live shows to maximise exposure
Live Stream on your website and all the social platforms at the same time
Click here to visit the salesXchange Content Stack Page - Go Live
If you’ve been following the Live Streaming ‘Prospecting’ Strategy, you’ll understand that telling your total addressable market what you do will result in thousands of businesses being contacted and potentially hundreds of businesses watching your live stream.
After you have presented what your business does, live online, your prospects’ call-to-action is to visit your website to self-serve and self-educate. This is achieved by providing prospects with everything they need and structuring the content in such a way, to help guide them down a path that leads to buying from you.
Few businesses could cope with a massive influx of enquiries, which explains the reason for Content Stacks to act as a buffer, enabling prospects to learn before they are compelled to call you. However, don’t forget, BDR’s and salespeople are employed to speak to new prospects so the more inbound calls the better, yes?
What is a Content Stack?
A Content Stack is a compilation of sales and marketing materials, organized sequentially, that educates prospects about your products and services without involving salespeople, helping them make informed decisions about buying from you.
What are the key stages of Digital Selling?
Digital Selling consists of three stages: Promotion & Engagement, Website Conversion Maximization, and The Live Show.
How can Content Stacks help improve conversion rates?
Content Stacks offer a comprehensive and transparent learning experience, allowing prospects to navigate through your content at their own pace, understand your business better, and ultimately choose your business as their preferred supplier.
What are the benefits of live streaming in Digital Selling?
Live streaming enables you to present your business to thousands of potential clients, driving traffic to your website, increasing conversion rates, and allowing prospects to self-serve and self-educate before reaching out to your sales team.
How can I reclassify my content for better targeting?
Reclassify your content into Primary, Secondary, General, Product, and How to Buy categories to ensure it is relevant and targeted to your prospects' preferences and needs.
Traditional marketing automation has not lived up to its promises in the B2B space, making it necessary to explore alternative approaches like Content Stacks and Digital Selling.
Content Stacks provide a structured, comprehensive learning experience for prospects, enabling them to make informed decisions and ultimately choose your business as their preferred supplier.
Digital Selling aims to repair the broken new business system by leveraging the right technology and understanding prospects' needs and preferences.
Live streaming expands your reach, allowing you to present your business to thousands of potential clients, driving traffic to your website, and increasing conversion rates.
By restructuring your content and implementing Content Stacks and Digital Selling, you can foster a positive relationship with potential clients, increase exposure and profitability, and transform the way you work and scale your business.
The above should clarify the approach to restructuring your content to give your prospects the opportunity to watch, listen or read through your content before they decide to sign up.
In my experience, when a prospect sees your ability to articulate everything you do, their first thoughts are “you seem to know what you’re talking about so I don’t need to read all this, you can just come in and get on with it”.
It is essential you are aware of the statistics regarding marketing effectiveness surrounding demand generation, lead generation and ABM as well as the wider issues around the average turnover per person per annum and overall business success rates for B2B new business.
Our approach could seem harsh towards marketers and BDR's but that's only because they will appear to become 'dead-wood' and superfluous to requirements because of the extended reach and engagement digital selling provides.
Whether its your business or you are responsible to new business generation, everything on this website is important learning material if you want to traverse the typical one-to-one sellling strategies and aspire to selling one-to-many.
Visit our Content Stack page by clicking here.