Sales development representative and stack of books and content

Content Syndication for Lead Generation: What Matters More, the Content or the Conversation?

By Chris Isham, Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer


When you think about designing a content syndication program, you might assume that it’s predicated on the content. What you use to entice prospective buyers matters, but does it matter more than the conversation your inside sales team has with those prospects?

The distinction lies in where a lead is in their buyer’s journey.

Nurturing Content Syndication Leads Through the Buying Process

A marketer’s goal isn’t to nurture a lead indefinitely, it’s to move that lead down the funnel so that they’re primed for a conversation with the sales team. Relevant content can help engage prospective buyers throughout the nurture cycle. If a lead is presented with a whitepaper or a case study that directly speaks to their challenges, they’re more likely to download that content.

Part of the nurture process is also knowing when a lead has appropriately engaged throughout the nurture sequence and is ready for the hand-off to sales. How many clicks or downloads is enough to predict a lead’s interest? Sophisticated nurture tracks score leads not just based on their engagement, but on the content itself. A lead may get more points for downloading a comprehensive report which indicates deeper interest than they would for a quick guide or checklist. When a lead hits a certain threshold, they’re considered qualified and sent to the sales team.

Content On Top

At the top of the funnel, the focus is on education so content is king. Content syndication leads are generally high-level and need to be made aware of your solutions. Because you don’t know as much about a lead’s purchasing intentions at this stage, it makes sense that content would also be focused on high-level awareness.

The content itself is used as a tool to measure general engagement at this stage in the buyer’s journey. What really matters is whether a lead interacts with your content in any way so that you can gauge initial interest. From there, subsequent touches inform you of how responsive leads are.

Intent data can also help to bolster a content syndication campaign. If you already know that organizations are exhibiting purchasing behavior, syndicating relevant content to the right buyers will increase your nurture velocity. In this way, intent data gives you insight into a buyer’s purchasing intent that you would otherwise have to uncover using top-of-funnel content.

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Conversation That Converts

Once you have additional insights into a lead, conversation becomes much more important than the content. While automated nurture sequences are important too, even the most advanced tracks cannot replace the human touch. Conversation allows an opportunity for persuasion.

A sales conversation adds value in a more urgent manner than a piece of content and can uncover additional valuable information about a lead. Even if a buyer has only downloaded your content but not consumed it, that touchpoint can be used. Relevant information based on content creates the opportunity for a relevant conversation.

Sales representatives can leverage content to break into the conversation by referencing a lead’s engagement, but they still need to do the heavy lifting when it comes to understanding a buyer’s challenges. The ability to reference a flow of content activities coupled with the nuances of overcoming objections and matching a lead’s tone primes the sales team to have successful conversations that content alone cannot achieve.

Content Is the Catalyst for Conversation

So what matters more, the content or the conversation? The deciding factor is a lead’s stage in the buying journey.

Starting the nurture process with content allows you to gather insights into a lead at the top of the funnel. At a point where you have just enough information for your sales team to start a relevant conversation, the content should no longer be the focus.

Ultimately the goal is to move leads from consuming your content to having conversations that more personally address their challenges and bring value to buyers. That is accomplished by using content as the catalyst for sales conversations. Content and conversations work in tandem to increase your conversion velocity, and both play a key role in your content syndication campaigns.

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