The Content Gap: How ready are you to grow your business?
Here’s the reality of most Canadian B2B companies
>>Build a product or service because someone, somewhere struggled with a problem in their last corporate job and they thought the marketplace needed a better _______________________. Fill in the blank.
>>After much product development and thousands of dollars spent building something, someone decides it’s time to Go-to-Market and sell the product/service. The logic being, if they needed this solution at their last job, then lots of other people should want it, too.
>>Through the founders or investors personal network, clients are identified and installs/implementation start to happen and a false logic kicks in that, now we can scale the business.
Here’s the problem: the content and information required to really add more leads to the sales pipeline and support the sales process rarely exists. The information that should be on the website to help people self-serve is never available. And, the work that needs to happen to really understand how to sell something and who is going to buy, rarely gets done.
We call this the Content Gap.
It’s real and it’s scary for entrepreneurs and investors alike when it comes to understanding a scalable sales and marketing strategy for an evolving company. This is the part that is often an afterthought which is sad and unfortunate because it’s the part that should have been thought through before anything was developed.
For example, here are the questions entrepreneurs should document and validate before a dime is spent on product development:
- What is the gap in the market that exists that makes a potential product or service the right solution?
- Who is the product/service for and why?
- What makes this solution different from every other alternative available today to solve the same problem?
- What does a perfect-fit customer need to understand in the buying process to make a decision to buy this solution?
- Do I have this content available in order to attract the right prospects to my business?
- How much am I really going to have to spend in the beginning to bring the product to market and gain industry mind share?
The next unfortunate reality we uncover is that business founder(s) start to throw tactics at their marketing program without answering the above questions in a meaningful way. They likely:
- Build a website with information about the product/service, void of content about business problems or real information that helps in the buying process.
- Hire sales reps and ask them to work their Rolodex and cold call people with an oral, disconnected story about why the solution is the best thing since sliced bread.
- Invest in advertising offline or online and attending trade shows hoping to capture the attention of the masses.
- Continue to add features and functions because they think that’s what the marketplace needs without really asking if the first set of features or functions has made sense to the ideal customer.
The Content Gap continues to grow because the fundamentals of who is buying and why are not documented. And it gets more complicated when a channel strategy, new geographic sales area or reseller model is added to the plan. More sales bodies or a new territory magnify the problem if a lack of transparent information that engages a prospect before they pick up the phone and speak to you, is lacking.
How do we know this?
Because we see it every time we get called in to fix a website. Often we hear, my website is not working and I need to double sales next year. But the answer is not sexier content or a prettier website. It’s getting down to brass tacks about who is buying and why, and what they need to understand, in a completely self-serve way before they put you on a short list as a solution.
We know business leaders get frustrated when they try to understand what they should be doing with their web presence strategy and their marketing program. We know how frustrated they are about how, when, what and how much to invest in a marketing program in order to grow their business in a real way.
So, we started to document the Content Gap. And we have created a first cut of a Go-to-Market / Content Gap Checklist that we think is useful in understanding just how “marketplace-ready” your business is to support the growth you seek.
It’s a first cut and we know we have work to do, but we used it recently as part of the Marketing CoPilot Process Wheel in the Website Objectives stage, and it worked well. Without being able to see a complete picture of what customers expect to see today with respect to content and information, it’s hard for a business leader to know what to do next and where to prioritize. Spending money on a new website is a pointless exercise unless you know what information a prospective buyer needs and at what point in the buying cycle.
Download the Go-to-Market / Content Gap Checklist and tell us what we missed. We think this is an important step in understanding the Content Gap and getting your business, growth-ready.