Thursday, January 28, 2010

Are We Torching Our Leads?

A survey by Spiceworks reveals that IT pros--key influencers in B2B buying cycles--are increasingly resistant to downloading white papers, because of the registration forms. In an interview on the Savvy B2B Marketing blog*, Jay Halberg of Spiceworks says:

Those that do share their [contact information when downloading a white paper] obviously don't mind doing so, but they DO mind a pesky vendor that calls them 10 times over the next 30 days. We also found a lot of people – more than 75% – DON'T sign up for papers requiring registration, which means the vendor is missing the opportunity to share and disseminate their knowledge.
B2B marketers are asking, "Is the White Paper Dead?" Of course not--the white paper is simply a medium for content. But what is rapidly aging the white paper as a tactic may be the over-reliance on automated marketing systems and processes--compounded by the incredible pressure on sales teams to close a deal.

I myself am wary about offering my contact information in a reg form because on several occasions, I have hit the submit button and gotten a call from a sales person trying to close me--within a minute.

If we can all relax a little bit and remember that great content is a better way to qualify prospects than registration forms. Great content helps educate prospects and lets them "self select" and raise their hand when they are ready. Prospects become buyers when it's their idea--not when they get enough phone calls and register for the webinar.

That's why B2B marketers are adapting their content strategy to thought leadership. To this end, white papers must deliver useful new information that plants the seeds of the idea to buy. Ten vendor calls in 30 days kill the seed. (Ardath Albee's post, "When Thought Leadership Isn't", and comments there, provided inspiration.)

By the way, The Content Factor's white papers are "Free Downloads." --without reg foms.

* Interview by Stephanie Tilton on the Savvy B2B Marketing blog, discovered via Dale Underwood's blog, B2B Conversations Now, which was recently aggregated in the B2B Marketing Zone.

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Comments:
Hi Paul,

I'm humbled that my post provided inspiration for yours. We're on the same page!

Thanks very much,
Ardath
 
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