White Papers Don’t Work for B2B Sales

Yes, you read that right. White papers do not work for B2B sales if your goal is to use them to immediatly close deals.

Here’s a common scenario:

  • The marketing team works for a month to ideate, write, design, and publish a white paper to get sales leads.
  • They spend some money to get paid traffic to the page and the leads start rolling in.
  • The leads get sent to the sales team and everyone gets excited.
  • Sales reaches out to try and schedule a call with the lead and never hears back.
  • More leads come in and more time is wasted chasing.
  • They finally get a few of these prospects on the phone and through the B.A.N.T qualifying process they disqualify these prospects
  • The sales team misses their numbers for the month.
  • The marketing team celebrates all the leads they keep sending the sales team.
  • The beef and hatred between your sales and marketing team grows stronger, nearing the levels of a good ol’ Southern blood feud.

Why don’t white papers work for closing deals?

White papers don’t work for closing deals because the intent of the person downloading the white paper is often not to buy your product or service.

People who download white papers are way up the “funnel”, and not in desperate need for a solution to a problem.

b2b white paper

Should you still invest in white papers?

Yes, you should still invest in white papers, but make sure you set realistic goals around the purpose of the white papers.

White papers should be used for longer lead collection and nurturing. The value here is that you are capturing a person’s name and email address, and you will continue to market to them using content and email.You will be building a relationship where you add value with your content until they are ready to buy from you.

When someone downloads a white paper they are usually further up the “funnel” and are doing research. Usually, people will fill out one of your landing page forms when they are ready to buy.

For the love of your sales team…

Don’t send white paper downloads to your sales team. These are not leads yet. They still need to be nurtured until they are ready to buy. It will waste your sales team’s time and lower their morale.

Make sure your marketing and sales teams have the same goals. If marketing is sending leads that don’t close, then they’re not doing their job right.

Marketing and sales should be celebrating the same thing: closing deals, not new leads.

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