B2B content marketing has many moving parts. That complexity increases for large companies. But there are also many success stories — for example, InVision used a unique approach to build a subscriber base of 2.5 million in two years. 

Building an audience of that size requires an enormous amount of quality content with broad appeal. Such content often comes at a cost, but InVision instead turned to user contributions to power its blog, with only 5% of output coming from paid creators.

So how can you overcome the key challenges and improve the effectiveness of your enterprise content strategy? Let’s find out.

The Top 5 Challenges in B2B Content Marketing For Large Companies

Content marketing is complex for large companies because it involves multiple internal departments. You must also reach accounts with complex organizational structures while navigating large buying committees and long sales cycles. Here are the key challenges that stem from these hurdles:

1. Personalizing Content at Scale

Personalization is essential for any B2B content strategy, but implementing the tactics at scale adds a layer of complexity. To analyze vast amounts of data about your prospects and customers to support effective content personalization, you need the technology to collate and organize information from various sources, including website visits, purchase history, social media interactions, etc., and hire people with the expertise to turn insights into action.

2. Managing Complex Sales Cycle

B2B SaaS content strategy must address the unique dynamics of B2B purchasing. The long sales cycle means you must keep the audience engaged for months (or even years.) The timeline also makes it more difficult to track the effectiveness of your campaign and make timely adjustments. Plus, you must navigate non-linear decision-making processes involving multiple stakeholders with different concerns and priorities.

3. Reaching the Right Decision-Makers

B2B decision-makers are constantly bombarded with information. They won’t pay attention to content not relevant to their role, doesn’t address their current challenges, or fails to recognize where they are in the sales cycle. Your enterprise content strategy not only needs to get your brand in front of the right people and at the right time. It must also deliver highly-relevant content to each stakeholder to cut through the clutter and drive engagement.

4. Maintaining Consistent Messaging Across Departments

An enterprise content strategy must address an often complicated internal organizational structure to align business units with different objectives and audiences. When each department creates and distributes its own content in an ad hoc manner, you risk delivering an inconsistent and disjointed customer experience that fails to progress prospects down the sales funnel effectively.

5. Quantifying Return on Investment (ROI)

Even the best B2B content strategies require six to twelve months to generate results. Plus, it’s hard to track indirect benefits like brand awareness and customer trust. For example, your strategy may put you on a big account’s radar, but the metrics may not reflect the results if it’s not in a buying cycle. Even if the client buys from you 18 months later, you may have trouble attributing the success to the appropriate campaigns.

Practical Strategies To Overcome B2B Content Marketing Challenges

Here’s how to address the five challenges to improve the effectiveness of your enterprise content strategy:

1. Automate Content Personalization

Test the waters with a small pilot program to identify potential issues and optimize your process. Improve your accuracy with a broad range of data sources (e.g., website, email campaigns, social media) to create comprehensive customer profiles to inform your segmentation strategy.

Choose the right technology to automate content personalization at scale and hire experienced experts to implement and maintain the program. Track the results to inform ongoing adjustments that optimize your enterprise content strategy so that the right customers get the right content at the right time.

2. Consider Complex Buying Dynamics

B2B sales cycles are complex — you can’t just throw spaghetti on the wall and hope something will stick. Identify all the buyer personas involved in decision-making to set a solid foundation. It will inform your B2B content strategy and help you focus on the right KPIs to stay on track.

Next, create informative, engaging, high-quality content for each persona to address their needs at various customer lifecycle stages. Since different people prefer different content formats, you should cast a wide net with blog articles, white papers, infographics, videos, social media posts, etc., to reach as many people as possible.

3. Engage Your Audience With Relevant Content

Understand your target audiences’ needs and preferences and create high-quality and informative content to address their pain points. Incorporate keywords and phrases they use to search for related information, publish on high-authority websites, optimize for SEO, and promote your content.

Visual elements like images and infographics can help you attract attention, encourage social sharing, and drive engagement. Meanwhile, storytelling techniques, case studies, and customer success stories can help you demonstrate how your products have helped customers reach their goals.

4. Align Messaging With a Cross-Functional Approach

Develop and execute your B2B content strategy with a centralized content marketing team. It should collaborate with each department and align all content with the company’s messaging goals. It should also create and distribute a style guide to support consistent communications from each business unit.

Set up a centralized content repository so different departments can search for sales and marketing materials instead of reinventing the wheel. Educate employees about the importance of using consistent content and ensure they understand how to use create consistent customer communications.

5. Track Indirect Benefits and ROI

Use direct and indirect metrics to gauge the success of your enterprise content strategy. For example, ask customers via surveys or interviews how they learned about your brand or what content they find most helpful. You should also track engagement on social media, such as sharing, liking, and commenting.

Additionally, you can gauge the effectiveness of your B2B content strategy by tracking overall business metrics, such as website traffic, leads, and sales. If the numbers improve after you have started publishing content or launched a specific campaign, the strategy is likely to have created a positive impact.

Case Study: Success in Enterprise B2B Content Marketing

Quick and creative thinking is critical to seizing opportunities and crafting successful campaigns. Here is another example of a large company overcoming its B2B content challenges.

Salesforce’s Leading Through Change Campaign

In 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Salesforce created Leading Through Change, a content and virtual event series to provide thought leadership, tips, and resources to educate its community and offer a forum for conversation. The topics are timely and highly relevant to Salesforce’s target audience. By pivoting to a relevant subject matter on a dime, the company cut through the clutter during an uncertain time — building goodwill and raising brand awareness. The campaign was incredibly successful, with more than 600 million viewers tuning in. The company’s blog newsletter subscriber list grew by 70%, and webinar form completions grew by 80x.

Optimize Your B2B Content Strategy For Success

To create an effective enterprise content strategy, you must combine data, technology, and expertise to deliver personalized content to the right people at the right moment throughout the buying cycle. Use automation to implement the tactics at scale and adopt a cross-functional approach to align messaging. Also, identify the right metrics to gauge your content’s direct and indirect impacts, and don’t forget to keep updating your strategy to stay relevant to your target audience.