Are you using white papers to target prospective B2B customers and clients? If not, you’re missing out on a marketing tool with huge potential. Aside from project brochures or data sheets, white papers are the most influential type of B2B sales content affecting buyers’ purchasing decisions, a study by Eccolo Media reports.
How can white papers help your business? The report highlights seven ways:
They help you gain trust
A good white paper helps demonstrate that your company understands the problems your buyers face. For best results, develop white papers that focus on common problems your customers have and provide a variety of possible solutions (not just your company’s products or services).
They can help turn you into a thought leader
Even white papers that don’t directly lead to B2B sales can benefit your business by promoting your thought leadership and helping to brand your business as forward- You can also use these white papers as the basis for presentations, articles, or blog posts to gain a wider audience for what you have to say.
They help nurture leads
A good white paper entices decision-makers to learn more about the issues it presents. Use relevant keywords in your white paper to ensure that B2B buyers discover it during when doing online research. This way, white papers can gently lure decision-makers into your sales funnel.
They expand on what your sales reps say
B2B sales representatives can use the details, charts, graphs, and other data in white papers to back up their claims. They can use white papers as a leave-behind or email tool to reinforce what they tell prospects. If you sell a technical product or service, the report notes, it’s especially important to include lots of data in your white papers.
They answer frequently asked questions prospects have
White papers are meant to provide solutions, so a good way to come up with white paper topics is to pinpoint the questions that prospects ask over and over again before deciding to buy from you. A good white paper now only answers these questions for prospects, but also serves as a “cheat sheet” for salespeople, ensuring they answer these questions consistently to all prospects.
They help buyers build their shortlists
Many B2B buyers today use white papers early in the research process to weed through possible contenders for the products or solutions they need. To ensure that your business makes the cut, it’s a good idea to look at your competition’s white papers so you can see how they differentiate themselves from the crowd. Then, create white papers that convey the superiority of what you offer so you stand out in the comparison.
They let you narrowly target B2B sales prospects
Every decision-maker has different criteria for making a purchase, so why not create different white papers for different types of decision-makers? For example, if you sell IT products, you could create separate white papers targeting CFOs, CEOs, and CIOs—each tailored to address that particular prospect’s specific concerns, whether that’s the cost issues worrying the CFO, the business value the CEO cares about, or the ease of implementation that will sell the CIO on your solution.