Did you know 79% of all marketing leads never convert into sales? The pressures of today’s highly competitive B2B market and longer decision-making process mean that most leads aren’t ready to convert immediately into a sale. These leads need to be carefully cultivated and nurtured. Content marketing, including video marketing, is one of the most cost-effective ways to engage with leads and keep them moving through the B2B sales funnel. But before you start posting videos on YouTube and LinkedIn, it’s critical that you’re creating content aligned with your audience’s needs based on where they fall in the sales cycle.

Here at 21 Handshake, our team is passionate about creating impactful content that’s aligned with smart marketing strategy. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: videos, white papers, eBooks, blogs, emails and case studies can – and should – all play a role in your marketing efforts. However, haphazardly producing and distributing content without any clear strategy won’t generate results. Doing so ignores the fundamental realities of today’s B2B sales funnel.

Short-form video is one of the hottest content forms for B2B marketing in 2017, and many of our clients are asking how they can create effective videos. Should they be publishing how-to videos or behind-the-scenes sneak peeks? What about client video testimonials? The answer: it depends on where your audience falls in the B2B sales cycle and what challenges they’re facing at that stage. Then use this information to inform you video creation. Here’s how:

Phase 1: Awareness
Your goal: define the buying vision in your favor
Your video content: establish your business as an industry thought leader

During the first phase of the sales funnel, businesses are just beginning to realize that a challenge or problem exists. At this early point, your mission is to define the buying vision in your favor. One slight problem: your content is likely out-numbered, out-read and out-viewed. Today’s B2B customers follow a “self-serve” model. This means most customers are two-thirds of the way through the decision-making process before they ever engage with a sales rep.

Video marketing in this phase needs to achieve two goals: establish your business as an industry thought leader and stand out from the competition. A smart social media distribution strategy can get your content in front of the right audience and start framing the buying process in your favor.

Phase 2: Evaluation
Your goal: stay top of mind
Your video content: consistently engage and inform

This phase of the sales cycle is a bit tricky. Your lead now understands there’s a problem or challenge their company is facing and has begun to actively consider solution providers, including the competition. Balancing outreach can be tough. You don’t want to sit back and let a competitor swoop in, but you don’t want to be that company who overwhelms and ultimately alienates the lead with too much contact.

Many B2B companies already use responsive email marketing to keep leads engaged. Responsive email marketing sends messages in response to a leader’s behavior. For example, the lead may download a new white paper, triggering an email. Consider adding video content to these email campaigns. For example, an email sent in response to a white paper download could include a short video highlighting the top three findings and recommendations from the white paper. Use this content to reinforce your company’s position as an industry thought leader and solution provider.

Phase 3: Decision
Your goal: drive decision-maker consensus
Your video content: eliminate barriers to consensus

The final stage of the sales cycle often takes the longest– you’ve made the cut, but your lead is taking months to make a decision. With so many different stakeholders weighing in with their opinions, driving consensus is essential. Your video content can do just that by proactively addressing and neutralizing potential sales barriers while emphasizing solution benefits.

For example, let’s say that your product isn’t the cheapest option and your client is very price-sensitive. Now is the time to share a video testimonial from a client that addresses this concern. The testimonial doesn’t need to be lengthy. Even a short, well-produced two-minute testimonial can explain how choosing your business ultimately saved the client money in the long run by getting the job done right the first time.

Use videos to address and neutralize these perceived obstacles to drive stakeholder consensus in your favor. (Click to Tweet)

While you can’t read a lead’s mind, if you’ve been engaging with them throughout the sales cycle, you should have a good idea as to which obstacles may be standing in the way of your sale. Use videos to address and neutralize these perceived obstacles to drive stakeholder consensus in your favor.

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