B2B buyers have always been an important part of the economic ecosystem for B2B law firms, but they are becoming increasingly self-reliant, well-researched, and involved in purchase decisions.
According to research from Forrester, in recent years the average number of interactions required to make a buying decision jumped from 17 to 27 – a 59% increase. At the same time, more B2B stakeholders have joined in purchasing conversations: In 2017, 47% of purchases involved at least four people, while in 2021, 60% of purchases did. Buying groups are getting bigger and increasingly performing their own research. A majority of the time spent by B2B buyers in the purchase decision is focused on reading and other forms of research, and internal discussions.
What does this mean for B2B law firms? It means leaders across all industries need to focus on getting B2B consumers the one thing they really need to make a decision – information. The natural consequence of such activity is that content is more important than ever. Content is playing a more significant role in the sales process and can create a real impact on the bottom line. What changes need to be made for you to keep up in this B2B content revolution? Here are some of our best tips for law firms hoping to create more content for the B2B market.
1. Collaborate With Your Business Development Team
It’s common for marketing and business development teams to operate separately, but when they partner up, great things happen. Ideally, people on your content creation team are in touch with sales leaders. They should share their goals and talk about what the sales team is hearing in real meetings. Ask about their experiences with prospects and build on the conversation from there. Here are some good starting points:
- What are the typical roles in a buying group/who do you talk to?
- With whom are you most likely to interact?
- What information do prospects ask for, and what do they share with the rest of the buying group?
- When is the prospect likely to engage with the sales team? Does it seem like they just learned about the firm or do they already have a short list of people to work with?
- What questions do they want answered before they can make a buying decision?
2. Shadow Some Sales Meetings
Take your research even further by asking to tag along during some standard meetings. The exercise will be most helpful if you can follow the entire process, from an initial phone call to contract signing meetings. Sit in as an observer and listen carefully to what the B2B prospect is saying. What information does your internal team provide and what is going unsaid? Pro tip: it’s a good idea to resist trying to participate in these meetings. It’s not your job to make contributions to the meeting; rather you’re there to learn. Use what you find out to uncover new topics for content creation. The more information you can provide to prospects up front, the more productive their research will be and the further along in the process they can get.
3. Revisit Your Client Personas and Target Market Research
How do the audiences for your brand content actually interact with what you produce? B2B content producers often define readers by roles. However, bigger buying groups have more stakeholders and these audiences are worth expanding. Do you need to add certain personas, based on what you know about who is likely to be part of the buying decision? Does the growth in independent research mean that you need to revamp your overall content strategy? A good place to start is by looking at the data available to your organization. Pull reporting on website visitors, social media interactions, subscribers, YouTube viewers, etc. Which section of the funnel attracts the most attention? If you notice large fluctuations between top-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel content, for example, then you might be doing a better job of attracting people who have more direct input into buying decisions. If you’re using an advanced marketing automation system, then your data is probably tied to individuals and you can “follow” a prospect through the entire sales funnel. In this way, you can look for common areas of drop-off. Or, you can look for behavior commonalities among people who ultimately signed on with your firm. There is any number of actions you can take once you’re armed with data; the important thing is to keep an open mind and make changes to your strategy based on the new information you’ve gained.
If you need help identifying your client personas, then start by creating an ideal client profile with this free guide: A Law Firm’s Guide to Creating an Ideal Client Profile
4. Create Case Studies
Testimonials and social proof are invaluable to law firms. Case studies can be time-consuming to create, and your clients may not always see what’s in it for them. Develop a template that makes it really simple for them to give you some soundbites to use in case studies, or record an interview and go back and do the writing later. Try to cover the purchase process, even if you don’t plan to include that information in the published case study. Then of course go over the major challenges, the process, the solution, and the ultimate results. Make sure to file away any key information you use about who was involved in the buying decisions for future efforts.
5. Make the Most of Sign-up Forms
Conventional marketing wisdom shares that if you want to get people to fill out forms, you need to keep them really brief. However, if you’re trying to learn more about B2B buyers in general, you can add some fields to your forms in order to get more information. Don’t be afraid to create fields that say “What is your title?” and “What is your role in the decision process?” If you want to make things easier, you can create drop-down menus with the most popular answers, and then an “other” column where people can elaborate if they need to. You can also incorporate questions like these in your feedback forms or post-event surveys. The key is getting more information using the forms you’ve already created and pulling reporting from.
Worthwhile content takes an investment to create, but it’s important to make those investments if you want to compete in today’s B2B law firm landscape. A great content strategy is based on what is relevant and valuable to the audience, so doing your research is key. Fortunately, there is a ton of information at your disposal, from your typical website reporting to an experienced sales team. Use what you have available to understand your audience, create content around topics that matter to them, and review performance. If you are looking to ramp up the quality of your law firm’s content program, we can help. We offer proven content services ranging from audience profiles to 1:1 consulting, historical analysis, repurposing of current content, and everything in between. Contact us today for a free consultation.