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first-place-blue-ribbonRecently Michele Linn posted about the importance of mapping content to the buying cycle. Right after that, I came across an interesting report released by the Aberdeen Group, which explains how industry leaders approach lead management and demand generation. B2B marketers can glean lots of great insights from this $399 report (being offered for free until October 2, 2009). Here are the ones that caught my eye (and relate to Michele’s post):

  • Best-in-class companies* are 5X more likely to maintain a library of collateral, copy, and messages that map to prospects’ buying stages. If you’re questioning the value of this, read this article by Ardath Albee that brilliantly illustrates the true pace at which a prospect interacts with your content and company.
  • Of the top barriers to adopting a lead lifecycle management process, “resources to develop lead-nurturing content” tops the list across all company types. While 85% of best-in-class companies can develop and maintain content that maps to each stage of the buying cycle, only 22% of all other companies are able to do so. This is no surprise. Joe Pulizzi of Junta 42 lays out the reasons so many marketers don’t do content marketing. If you’re wondering how to create this content, another post from Junta42 provides a jumping-off point.
  • Best-in-class companies are better able to map content buying cycle stages based on prospect behavior. Read the Aberdeen report to find out how WorkForce Software was able to capture prospects’ behavioral information and nurture leads throughout the cycle. If you want to understand the different approaches to nurturing prospects, read thist post by Marketo. And if you’re interested in some forward-thinking ideas around capturing information about prospects, check out this post by Blake Hinckley and this one by Chris Koch.

*Aberdeen defines best-in-class companies as those whose practices are the “best currently being employed and are significantly superior to Industry Average.” 20% of enterprises fall into this category, while 50% are in the Industry Average range, and 30% are laggards.

How does your company rank when it comes to creating and mapping content to the buying cycle?