Mapping Content to the Sales Funnel AND Buyer types

Mapping Content to the Sales Funnel AND Buyer typesYou often hear about the concept of mapping content to the sales funnel (especially in B2B Marketing) but it’s not so common in practice. I will self confess that I have ignored this one for a while. The other version of this is the mapping of content to your buyer types and this too is one I have ignored for a while … until now!

Ok so I took a look at my sales funnel and started to take the content my team produces and map it against the funnel – for simplicity sake I like to use Awareness to Consideration to Purchase as my 3 major stages of the sales funnel.

For Awareness I like to use broadly appealing content that can be shareable (the new KISS as I like to call it – Keep it Shareable Stupid). This would include eBooks, Research, White papers, etc. Not all of these have hooks for gathering download information (that’s just not acceptable these days). We use 2 distinctions – Premium content and Non Premium content – the latter being free and the former being behind a registration page.

For Consideration I like to use more in depth tools like webinars and live/virtual events – derived from the lists of folks who downloaded and have been interacting with us on a particular topic. These are typically better than the broad brush webinars because we can have a real consideration discussion that includes such things as use cases, ROI modeling and even self funding ideas.

And then for Purchase I like to use case studies, customer references, press releases on new wins etc. This gets to the final decision makers desk and helps out the sales force immensely since they can never seem to have enough of these in their toolkit.

So then I flipped to another chart where we started to map the content we create to the buyer types and for simplicity sake I like to use End User, Influencer, and Buyer/Executive as my 3 major buyer types.

What we realized pretty quickly was the content we were using to attract Awareness – was the same content we would use to attract End Users (now I always hope to get an influencer or a buyer in there) but in reality when we look at the leads we are nurturing we are seeing more end users which is ok since we have a ton of end users in the 200,000 customers we have!

For the Influencers – we like to use the same content we have for the consideration stage – webinars, live events, virtual events and so on. Here is where we see more influencers show up to get the detailed info that they need to make a recommendation for a major technology purchase.

And finally for Buyers/Executives – we see we need the same type of content we need for the purchase end of the funnel – since they have the recommendation from the end user and influencer but they need evidence that this is going to work and that they are not the first person to buy which is why case studies, customer references and new win stories really help speed the sales process.

What’s been your experience with mapping content to the sales funnel or buyer types? I would love to know.

8 comments to Mapping Content to the Sales Funnel AND Buyer types

  • Jim Burns, CEO of Avitage is a good friend who has spoken with me about this very topic. (Keep Jim in your prayers. He’s having major surgery tomorrow)

    When you take all the variables, such as industry, product, size of company, department, stage of buying process, etc. the permutation can get overwhelming.

    The solution is to break down your content, get it into a database and assemble it to order. But that takes lots of thought and planning.


  • @Jeff – wow assemble to order would be fabulous especially in the lead nurturing process – definitely a future possibility for marketers!

    Also LOVED your appearance on HubSpot TV a few weeks ago!

  • Good one Paul. I especially like keeping the buyer types and stages to a max of 3 – yours are what I like to use. Since most of the intelligence for the mapping comes from the sales org, anything more complex than what you have is hard to classify.

    Also, if B2B marketers were able to run with what you have done, they would be WAY ahead of their peers and competitors in having relevant content for their target audience.


  • @Henry – thank you and thanks for commenting!

  • Where would you rank mapping content to the four types of personalities? Strategic, Analytics, Tactical, Emotional? Ranked above or below creating and mapping content to the sales process and/or buyer type?

  • Paul,

    Good advice.

    I add another stop along the way from awareness to purchase when mapping content: Inquiry.

    The stages I use are awareness to inquiry, inquiry to consideration and consideration to purchase.

    Thanks for letting me share my two cents worth.

    – Mac McIntosh

  • Hey Mac! – that’s a great point I have used Awareness to Consideration to Purchase for years but you gotta have inquiry in there somewhere! Thanks for commenting

  • @Chris – Sorry for the delayed response but I have been thinking about and considering your question for the last day or so …

    So here is my response – I hadn’t previously considered the personality aspects of mapping content when I wrote this article. I think you could map the personality aspects to BOTH the sales funnel and buyer types (which would be a great exercise to see how it comes out). But my gut tells me for example it will be very different for each stage of the funnel – what the strategic buyer personality would need

    hope that helps

    Great question …

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