The 2 Types of White Papers That Drive B2B Technology Sales

White papers are one of the most powerful forms for B2B content.

In fact, 71% of B2B technology buyers have read at least one white paper within the past 12 months.[1] And B2B marketers stated that white papers drive more leads and revenue than any other type of content.[2]

A professional white paper can help you:

    • Demonstrate that you have strong knowledge of your buyers’ businesses, roles, and industries.
    • Provide customers with insights into their problems and how to solve them.
    • Build a business case for your solutions.
    • Position yourself as an authority in your space.
    • Educate and nurture B2B technology buyers as they move through your sales funnel.

Although white papers can deliver a lot of value, many marketers have a hard time getting these projects off the ground. The first roadblock is picking a topic that will engage your audience.

What Type of White Paper Should You Create?

B2B technology companies typically sell to two audiences—business buyers and technical buyers. These audiences have different priorities and need content that speaks to their unique concerns.

When you plan a white paper, consider your audience and what information they need before they choose your solution. Here are two types of white papers that can move buyers to the next stage in your sales cycle:

Business Case White Paper

A business case white paper delivers a persuasive argument for why readers should choose your product or service. It speaks to business buyers who want to know how your solution will drive results in their organization. Although it focuses on business benefits, the white paper can also include information for technology buyers who want to know how your solution will make life easier for their users and IT team.

A business case white paper answers the following questions:

    • What is going on in your readers’ organizations that makes this topic relevant?
    • What challenges do your readers face, and what are the risks of maintaining the status quo or choosing the wrong solution?
    • Why do they need to change what they are doing now? Why is this urgent?
    • What solution will solve their challenges?
    • What should they consider when purchasing or implementing a solution?
    • How does your specific solution solve their challenges? Mentioning your product by name is optional, depending on where your readers are in their buying journey.
    • What step do you want them to take after they read the white paper? For example, do you want them to watch a demo or check out another piece of content?

Readers in all stages of the sales cycle read business case white papers and share them with other decision makers.

Technical White Paper

This type of white paper introduces readers to a new technology. It speaks to the tech buyer who wants to know how your solution works, how users will benefit from it, and how it will make life easier for their IT team.

A technical white paper is great for readers in the mid-to-late stages of their buying journey, as it provides in-depth information on your technology.

This type of white paper can discuss the following:

    • The challenges your readers face
    • Why their current technology or processes won’t solve their problems
    • The risks of maintaining the status quo or choosing the wrong technology
    • How a new technology can solve their problems
    • How your specific solution works and the benefits of using it
    • Use cases showing how different industries or lines of business can apply your solution
    • Best practices for implementing or getting the most out of your technology
    • Case studies about your successful customers
    • The step you want readers to take after they read the white paper, such as booking a demo or contacting your sales team

So, which type of white paper should you publish?

It depends on your audience and where they are in your sales cycle. If you want to engage early- to middle-stage leads, a business case white paper can educate them without coming across as too salesy.

If your audience is mostly mid- to late-stage leads, they may want to know more about your product or service. A technical white paper can provide them with the in-depth information they need to make a purchasing decision.

Also consider if your readers are business buyers, technical buyers, or a mix of both. This will help you determine if you should focus on business benefits or technical features.

Need clarity around what type of white paper to create? Grab your FREE checklist: 24 Questions to Ask Before You Publish a New White Paper.

[1] Demand Gen 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report

[2] DemandWave: Via stat cited in Content Types That Drive B2B Leads & Generate Revenue [CHART], 2017

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