While most B2B marketers are familiar with using white papers for lead conversion, they may not have heard the term price paper. A price paper is a document that helps prospective customers with budgetary information about complex products and services. For the B2B marketer, it is a valuable document that prospects want and can be used as a strong offer to motivate them to provide their contact information (lead conversion).
The above diagram shows two key ingredients for a strong B2B offer: Value and Scarcity.
Value is the perceived value that a potential customer places on the offer. In the lower left-hand quadrant is “Brochure” which carries little value. Furthermore, brochures are easy to find so they have little scarcity. The combination of low-value and low-scarcity means a brochure is weak as a lead conversion offer.
White papers are higher in value than brochures, especially if they provide high-quality content and are well written. White papers represent one of the best offers available to B2B marketers for raw lead conversion. However, as more information becomes published on the internet, people are beginning to simply search for a white paper title to see if they can find it elsewhere. If they can, then the extra friction to provide their contact information may not be worth it so the decreasing scarcity will negatively affect the offer’s effectiveness.
In the upper right hand quadrant you find price papers. The first question is; are they valuable to prospects? MarketingSherpa and Enquiro studied a variety of B2B customers to find out what they perceived as valuable and the results were surprising.
First, potential business customers are looking for pricing on business websites, not to purchase, but to BUDGET. The following graph illustrates the point:
Many B2B marketers confuse the need for pricing with a Business to Consumer (B2C) model. They think that a company must convey its value proposition before it provides any pricing. I disagree with that. In today’s self-service environment, many prospects will not pay attention to a value proposition unless they understand, in basic terms, if they can afford it.
In addition, potential B2B customers need budgetary pricing much earlier in the sales cycle than most marketers realize. Since product details are readily available without engaging a company’s sales organization, many prospects use pricing during the Awareness and/or Research phases to pare down a short list of potential providers. Once again, the MarketingSherpa/Enquiro study revealed the following:
Price papers will vary from company to company but they all share common traits. The primary information is specific pricing for products or services the company sells. The papers may only include a subset of all products and services available but there should be a sufficient number to provide the requester value.
What is included in a price paper?
Unlike white papers, price papers have a very specific purpose; provide a strong offer to encourage conversion while providing the prospect with useful, budgetary pricing.
Price papers can be short, often on one or two pages. They may include a subset of the products and/or services a company provides along with some sample customer scenarios.
Next Step to Using Price Papers
Perhaps the most compelling reason to try using price papers is that the signup and delivery processes are already in place for companies that currently use white papers. Marketers need to simply create the paper, offer it on the website, and deliver it upon registration. No new processes are needed.
B2B marketers are always looking for strong offers to improve lead conversion efforts. In addition to white papers, marketers should consider using price papers to surface new prospects. Studies have shown that pricing is important to serious prospects early in the sales cycle when value propositions can have the biggest impact. Price papers exploit that need in a helpful way by providing needed information to prospective customers in exchange for their contact information.
Price Paper Sample
You will find a Price Paper Sample Here. Note there are 2 main sections; one that has basic pricing and the second which gives the potential customer a “plan” for their project. The plan is critical to begin influencing the decision criteria that will emerge further down the sales cycle path.