April 25, 2022

Why Off-Platform Content is a Dead End

There are so many content formats out there for B2B go-to-market teams: email, ebooks, videos, blog posts, podcasts, infographics …

But when it comes to Modern Selling and revenue enablement, think of all content as being in one of two big buckets:

  1. Content buyers consume off-platform
    Things like PDFs that you send to a buyer by email. Or syndicated content they read on another website. Or a video that lives on YouTube.

    This is content that buyers read ‘off-stage,’ out of the view of your enablement platform (and your sales and marketing teams).

  2. Content buyers consume on-platform
    Things like an interactive product tour that buyers can explore—hosted in your ‘virtual deal room’ (more on that below). Or a savings calculator on a personalized content hub. Or an asynchronous video message sent by your salesperson and viewed on your revenue enablement platform.

    This is content that buyers consume ‘on-stage.’ And when they share it, the next person consumes it on-stage, too. Your enablement platform tracks the engagement and alerts you to interest and intent signals.

Why on-platform content is better for everyone

Experience (and lots of data) tells us that on-platform content crushes off-platform content. Here’s why:

On-platform content is a better buying experience for individual prospects.

Having to search email inboxes and trawl through threads just to find a piece of content isn’t a great buying experience. You already know this from personal experience. And today, some of the most compelling B2B content is digital and interactive—which engages buyers far more than a static PDF can. Content enriched by personalization and interaction—more easily found and shared—creates a better buying experience. Buyers appreciate that.

On-platform content is better for buying teams.

A big part of all B2B marketing and sales is helping buying teams buy: being there to answer their questions with relevant content and conversations. When more content is collected on-platform and curated—and the whole buying team knows where to find it and how it relates to your other content—it becomes a rich resource for them. Because it’s all in a shared space, different stakeholders can easily consume the content and share it with other stakeholders, ask questions and engage with each other and with your salespeople. That leads to a more informed and aligned buying team. It even pleases … dare we say it? … procurement folks.

On-platform content captures the most valuable intent signals of them all.

When you send an email or share a PDF, you have no idea if and when anyone in the buying team reads or shares it. That’s frustrating, and also limiting. But content that lives on-platform lets you collect the critical intent signals that tell your salespeople where to focus their energies. A big spike in content consumption from a given account on a specific topic? That’s gold dust. Now they know who to reach out to and, crucially, what they’re interested in. Win, meet win.

On-platform content drives your Revenue Enablement Flywheel. 

Better insights lead to better-prepared sellers, which leads to deeper engagements. If those engagements are on your revenue enablement platform, the insight they generate feeds right back into that cycle. We call that the Revenue Enablement Flywheel—and it’s way more powerful when more of the buying experience (including conversations and content) is on-platform.  

Okay, so it’s clear that bringing your buyers into your revenue enablement platform to consume content and engage in conversations is super valuable. But what does that look like in action? Glad you asked …

What on-platform content looks like:

There are so many ways to create and share content (and host conversations) on your enablement platform—as long as your platform is optimized for it. At Showpad, we engineered the entire platform around the buying team experience, so you’d expect us to offer you a lot of options for on-platform content experiences. Here’s a taste: 

The virtual deal room

This is a digital space where anyone in the buying team can go to discover, consume, share and comment on the content most relevant to the problems they’re trying to solve. That might be as simple as a content hub (we call ours Pages) or a rich, collaborative deal room we call Shared Spaces.

Buying teams that actively engage in their deal room are many times more likely to progress to a sale. Not just because they’re more engaged but also because your sellers are better-informed.

Asynchronous video

Asynchronous communication (you know, the one where you’re not stuck in a Zoom meeting telling people they’re on mute) lets your stakeholders consume it at their convenience. But no one reads long, detailed emails any more. Who’s got the time? The most successful sales teams have discovered the power of person-to-person video for critical interactions and explanations. Showpad Video makes it easy for a salesperson to record a quick video—often with a screen share—to accelerate deals. And, because it’s on-platform, the engagement is automatically tracked and displayed in Showpad Analytics. Did they watch it? Did they share it? That’s some pretty important insight.

3D and augmented reality

Showing is better than telling, and 3D Models and AR content are more compelling ways to showcase your products than a PDF that explains them. Sellers or buyers can use these tools to demo different products in different contexts, showing how they would work in the customers’ environment. 

Interactive sales presenters

Sales interactions when the salesperson and buyer are in the same place (at an office or an event) should still be on-platform. An interactive presentation or walk-through hosted in your enablement platform isn’t just more engaging, it helps the seller sell and captures the insight for later interactions. Simply crack open your laptop and start guiding people through your solution, letting them zoom in on what matters to them. All on-platform and all analyzed, so your sales and marketing teams can track clicks, paths, interests and intent every step of the way. It’s a powerful shared experience, not death by PowerPoint. See how Graham Leeson of Fujifilm is doing just this in this quick video.

Apps, quizzes and calculators

The more you engage buyers, the more you can help them as they self-educate and move toward a buying decision. Apps like quick quizzes, savings calculators, product configurators and readiness graders are hugely popular with both buyers and sellers. We call them Experience Apps, and putting them on-platform means they can power your Buying Experience Flywheel.

Of course, you need to make these advanced experiences really easy to create and use, so you want a platform with plenty of templates to start from

Good old ebooks!

There’s still a place for high-quality, authoritative ebooks that focus on a specific topic and really drill down (we even have one for you below). But these, too, need to be shared on-platform, so buyers know where to find them and your sales team knows who’s showing interest. No ebook should ever be an island!

Old-school selling is so over.

The old B2B playbook was a low-percentage, low relevance game: find any warm body that seemed to fit your customer profile, spam them with content, and hope they care enough to find and consume the relevant stuff.

The Modern Selling playbook—used by the fastest-growing B2B companies—starts with great buying team experiences and builds out. And the best buying team experiences happen on-platform, not off-screen. 

The only question: is your sales enablement or revenue enablement platform designed for old-school selling or engineered for Modern Selling?

There’s an ebook that shows you exactly what we mean, called Woo, Don’t Pursue: Make it Easier for Buying Teams to Buy from You. Come and get it (it’s on-platform!).