With hundreds of options available, picking the right content management system (CMS) for your B2B business can be tricky.
Whether you use an open-source or cloud-based system, you’ll need a flexible platform with advanced features and functions you can modify and tailor as your business grows.
If you’re not sure you need a CMS, let’s start there.
#Why B2B companies need CMS
If you’re looking to develop an automated multi-channel marketing system for your business, you need a CMS. This statement is especially true for small and medium B2B and B2C enterprises.
In the case of large corporations, the CMS needs a lot of optimization to suit the needs of such a complex system.
A CMS is also an excellent choice for startup businesses that need to develop marketing for e-commerce websites. For example, new wholesalers, dropshippers, and minor distributors.
Let’s see how B2B companies can benefit from CMS.
Less technically savvy people can edit content easily
You can recruit marketing staff to develop content, but you also need the CMS system to accelerate the process. A CMS allows your team to post more quickly and effectively. Now compare this with time-consuming manual processes you must repeat for every channel.
The best thing is that with a CMS, you don’t need a developer to edit the existing content. Instead, your marketing team can easily create and post your text, images, video, and audio. A CMS also makes removing any outdated content much more straightforward.
Easier collaboration and access
In the fledgling years of your business, you were probably the only content creator on your website. However, as your business grows, you need more content, and you can’t manage the entire workflow alone.
A CMS makes it easy for multiple users to collaborate on a single piece of content. It’s a hub for all your content creation and collaboration.
Your writer can write the blog post while the graphics designer inserts the images. Then, at given notice, the content manager can edit the post, check it for brand consistency, and publish it.
When you hire a team of employees that need access to your website, you can use the CMS to define their roles and permissions according to access requirements. This way, there’s no risk that someone accidentally changes something they shouldn’t.
The coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for companies. Many businesses had to adapt to a new operating model that heavily relies on working from home.
A report from Deloitte finds that 47% of individuals fall for a phishing scam while working from home.
That considering, B2B businesses can benefit from a CMS with strict security features. However, although some CMSs come with integrated security features, sometimes they are not enough.
Take WordPress for example. A study by WP White Security showed that more than 70% of WordPress installations they analyzed are vulnerable to hacker attacks.
The only way to get ahead of a data breach is to go with a headless system that separates the administrative system that controls the content (backend) and the user presentation (frontend).
A headless CMS allows much tighter control to access the CMS itself while giving teams an easy way to update content regularly.
#Required features for a B2B CMS
Choosing the suitable CMS for a B2B business can be tricky, so let's consider what features a thoroughbred CMS needs to offer.
For starters, a CMS needs to give your marketing team complete editing control of your website. No one on the team should know any coding. The system has to enable quick edits without any technical knowledge required.
On the other hand, the CMS should still give access to HTML code on your website pages if you need to apply unique updates.
B2B companies should also benefit from scheduled publishing. The CMS allows you to schedule content updates and publish new pages at a set date and time.
An integrated keyword tool is a helpful feature that lets your content manager identify keywords relevant to your consumers, your business, and your list of products. A B2B CMS should allow you to quickly find the phrases that promise to rank higher search results over time.
Related to this, the CMS allows you to create website URLs that are simple, accurate, and relevant, so your prospects, returning customers, and search engines can easily find them.
A headless CMS makes your marketing efforts much more manageable. It makes no difference whether you’re updating content to mail, mobile, social, or e-commerce. Most popular headless CMSs use API to support multi-channel content publishing, even delivering content directly to mobile sites.
Imagine how marketers used to struggle before digitalization to deliver their message across the world. Digital marketing today allows businesses to erase those borders and expand to new markets quickly.
There’s still one problem — you need to speak their language.
If your business operates in a global environment, relies on foreign partners, or has international customers, make sure your CMS of choice supports multilingual editing tools and intuitive translation workflows.
Whichever CMS you choose, its standard features won’t be able to handle every element your business website needs. That is why CMSs rely on integrations that bring third-party software into the workflow. This way, different applications can share your CMS data and let you distribute and analyze your site content.
Social media integrations make driving referral traffic to your site much easier. Using the CMS, you can publish posts on the most popular social media, add social media sharing shortcuts to your posts, and access social media analytics.
You can look for a content management system with in-house marketing automation features or the capability to extend it. Still, many third-party automation tools help you drive more conversions.
Finally, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) integration helps you capture leads and organize them into a manageable system.
These integrations usually come in the form of plugins or extensions available from a marketplace.
Headless CMSs have the edge over traditional monolithic CMSs.
The term “headless” means that the system delivers content to any platform or device via an API instead of having it coupled to a specific website or app.
Since there is no single frontend, headless CMS gives businesses the freedom to choose their marketing tech stack.
While vendor-lock-in features often limit legacy CMS, a headless CMS allows you to integrate preferred tools, software, and analytics.
Some Headless CMS, like Hygraph, enable pulling sources from other REST or GraphQL APIs, which can then be accessed through Hygraph’s GraphQL API.
As your business grows, you want your website to grow with it. Maybe you want to add new products or services or e-commerce integrations. The good news is that you don’t have to overhaul your website to accommodate an influx of new business.
You need a content management system to grow your business, allowing you to customize new features.
Headless or Traditional
Traditional CMSs keep marketing teams dependent on vendors’ preferred frameworks, databases, and technologies. At the same time, you can render only one frontend, for example, a website or mobile app.
When you add up the costs of training, maintenance, and security updates, the ROI of traditional CMS is hard to justify nowadays. On top of it, your team has to deal with unmanageable content silos across multiple CMSs and services.
Headless CMSs, on the other hand, come with all the content your team uses to produce all kinds of digital content stored as structured content within the CMS. Then, using preferred applications, your team can query this content via API and distribute it to any digital frontend from a single repository. In the long run, a headless CMS can provide scalable architecture while eliminating content silos.
Open-source or Cloud-based
An open-source CMS is free to download and easy to use. These systems use a code that teams can use, modify, and distribute.
Due to their nature, these platforms are regularly updated by diverse community members. Thanks to this, open-source CMS often rely on the latest technologies, which gives users more options to build their websites.
On the other hand, open-source solutions are more prone to security risks. A developer familiar with the code of your business's platform can potentially spot any security vulnerabilities in your website and take advantage.
A cloud-based CMS has all the functionality of an open-source CMS, with the difference that a third-party host manages those functionalities. Due to this, content creators can access the platform from anywhere, at any time, on any device.
With a cloud-based CMS, security tasks are handled by cloud providers, whose personnel monitor their security systems regularly.
Who will maintain it
Any open-source CMS has a significant drawback — a lack of support. Since no one owns them, there isn’t a company behind them that ensures the software will work for all the clients.
Your staff must deal with any development or support work, which can lead to extra costs and resources. If your content editors get stuck with the platform and cannot carry out a specific task, there won’t be a phone to pick up and call support.
As a result, open-source systems require much more maintenance than cloud-based solutions. If your business has no in-house capacity to maintain the CMS, it’s probably best to use a cloud-based CMS.
#Advantages of Headless CMS for B2B companies
In the past, businesses had to dedicate significant effort to ensure the same communication on websites will work just as effectively on mobile devices.
With the emergence of headless CMS and structured data, B2B companies can connect with their audiences natively on any device and even analyze which products and services provide more ROI.
Flexibility on the Frontend
Unlike traditional solutions, headless CMS has a backend where content is prepared, and that’s pretty much it. The content and data are accessible via an API such as GraphQL.
Since there’s no fronted or presentation layer, the users can instantly expand the reach of their content and the platforms they can serve.
Since all content is delivered via API, a headless CMS is an ideal foundation for building a Digital Experience Platform (DXP). A DXP is a suite of products businesses use to deliver a better customer experience.
Similar to DXP, a headless CMS can also be used to build a content mesh. A content mesh is an architecture that allows businesses to integrate best-of-breed microservices to maintain their infrastructure.
Since each microservice in the stack can be updated or removed independently, a content mesh increases developer efficiency, as they don’t have to worry about cross-platform dependencies.
And if you need to make any changes to your CMS, you can do it while keeping all your frontend code inherent to the platform. All you need to do is update the content source.
The decoupled architecture of headless CMS allows content and development teams to work independently, speeding up production and allowing businesses to reuse and combine content as needed.
Content creators don’t have to worry about how different frontends display their content, while developers don’t have to go back and forth with the content teams to ensure the content is displayed correctly.
This significantly reduces the time needed to build and update the website while ensuring all users have smooth access to your content.
Traditional CMS solutions are often slow and cumbersome and most likely depend on large code bases. All that code is necessary to keep both the frontend and backend running.
Any front-end developer worth their salt will instantly notice that a headless CMS has a much smaller code base, less vulnerable to malicious attacks.
In addition, by using headless CMS, frontend developers can choose any framework they want to use. With the popularity of the Jamstack, headless CMS became a preferred way to organize and manage content for a large number of static sites.
Static websites tend to perform better than dynamic web presentations. This is an important KPI for marketing teams, as website performance (Core Web Vitals) recently became important for ranking on search engines.
With the frontend and backend decoupled, businesses can effectively eliminate downtime. Any customization, scaling, and upgrades can be performed seamlessly without affecting the system's performance or usability.
Whether adding more products, evolving the tech stack, or expanding into new markets, a headless CMS can scale horizontally, vertically, and globally, making it an excellent choice for both SMEs and startups.
Overall superior architecture
The headless architecture allows teams to deliver content via API to various channels, applications, and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. It doesn’t matter if each of these applications may use different technologies and have different architectures.
This kind of decoupled architecture enables easier division of tasks within any project. Frontend developers can work independently of the content administrators. They can install, fix, or upgrade any fronted feature without interfering with the data management system.
Also, having an independent frontend and backend makes the entire architecture more secure.
There’s no perfect CMS solution that will suit all possible citations. Instead, you must choose the functionalities and features you need for your B2B business.
In this sense, I give thumbs up to the headless CMS, as it allows you to add and remove functionalities without interfering with your presentation layer.
The bottom line is that you maintain an uninterrupted customer experience on all channels while making changes and updates to your CMS.