You have several formats to choose from when building your content marketing strategy, including blogs, whitepapers, case studies, eBooks, and videos.

Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if you had some insight as to the best types of content that help to drive sales?

Thanks to recent data, you do.

The DemandGen 2016 Content Preferences Survey polled 208 buyers of B2B products and services about their use of content in making purchasing decisions.

  • 32% offer business services/consulting
  • 29% serve the technology/software industry
  • 59% of respondents were from companies with annual revenue upwards of $10 million
  • 34% of the respondents hold C-level or VP-level positions.

The following is a look at some vital stats and clues as to the types of content that produce sales leads in B2B and suggestions on how to use them in your strategy.

Most Valuable Content

Let’s start with a look at the most consistent content used in decision-making in the last 12 months according to the recent Demand Gen Content Preferences Survey Report.

In line with other recent studies emphasising reliance on peer input, B2B decision-makers ranked third-party/analyst reports as most valuable, with 77 percent citing their value.

Buyers want to hear from independent voices in your industry.

At 72 percent, case studies were cited second-most often as a valuable decision-making tool over the last 12 months. This speaks to prospect interest in hearing about experiences of satisfied clients.

Whitepapers were cited by 69 percent of respondents. This fact shows the desire of B2B buyers to get quality, in-depth, but concise content that offers information directly related to their problems.

Other commonly noted content formats valued by B2B decision makers include:

  • Webinars (62 percent),
  • eBooks (54 percent),
  • Video/motion graphics (45 percent),
  • Interactive presentations (43 percent) and
  • Infographics (39 percent)

In addition to the most-often cited formats, the diversity of types reported illustrates the overall desire for accurate, interactive and visually appealing content.

96%25 of respondentswant content with moreinput from industry thought leaders.

Impact on Decisions

It is one thing for a B2B buyer to say that he “values” content; it is another to say that particular content formats drive decisions and generate sales leads.

Here’s a look at content formats buyers reported as being most useful in B2B decision-making.

Whitepapers received the highest reports at 82 percent.

Offering blog readers access to a whitepaper download with more thorough content is significant in earning sales leads.

Webinars were second at 78 percent. B2B buyers want to learn, and webinars offer engaging learning experiences.

In line with data on valuable content, case studies were third-most impactful at 73 percent.

Other content formats most useful in B2B decision-making included

  • eBooks (67 percent),
  • Infographics (66 percent),
  • Blog posts (66 percent),
  • Third-party/analyst reports (62 percent),
  • Video/motion graphics (47 percent) and
  • Interactive presentations (36 percent).

Additional Insights

Two other major content format notes were identified within the Demand Gen Report.

First, as the data suggests, buyers want more independent or third-party input on solutions.

Second, even though they continue to rely on content for research and decision-making, B2B buyers have become overwhelmed by the volume of content available.

Therefore, it is imperative that you offer high-quality, concise and visually-stimulating resources.

Conclusion: Give Your Buyers What They Want

In order to drive sales in B2B, give your buyers what they want.

The evidence from this Demand Gen Report is clear. Buyers want diverse content but are most affected by formats that educate, integrate third-party perspective and offer visual elements.

You can download the full Demand Gen Content Preferences Survey Report here (full PDF).