An Authoritative Report Often Used in the Sales Cycle

What is it?

A white paper is written to provide readers with a detailed understanding of a specific product, technology, or method. It describes how a specific tool, system, service, or even software can solve an industry-wide or common problem the prospect may be facing. It includes statistics, cost savings, and other data to prove the argument.

Basically, a white paper is a longer, in-depth article that explains a new and/or better solution to a problem, need, or goal. It tries to “press a point,” but still speaks directly to the reader.

A white paper is generally 7 – 10 pages long, has mainly text, with a few images scattered throughout. It attempts to be unbiased and authoritative, but builds a strong case using facts, examples (possibly including a mini-case study, AKA a customer before/after story) and evidence to “influence” a prospect to buy. It needs to be educational, practical and useful, yet not a full-blown sales pitch.

White papers take time to create… it takes 6 to 8 weeks to get from the first planning interview to an approved white paper draft. And perhaps longer if illustrations, design, translations are required. The good news is that a business can usually use the same white paper for years, making it a great return on the investment.

Used In Sales Funnels

White papers tend to be used as part of the sales cycle by Business-to-Business (B2B) companies, but Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies are quickly realizing their value, too. So, B2B white papers are meant for businesses and written by a business (a writer representing the business). On the other hand, B2C white papers are meant for the prospective customers and written by a business (a writer representing the business) .

These reports are offered for free on a company website, normally requiring the interested person to opt-in with their email address in order to receive a PDF version of it.

White papers are a fantastic lead generation magnet, pulling in potential prospects (you now have their email address, given to you freely in exchange for the report) who show an interest in learning how to solve specific problems from the detailed information found in the white paper.

From Skeptical Prospects to Informed Buyers

Studies show 70% of buyers/prospects require a white paper to study before they make a decision to purchase a high-ticket, high-value item.

Could your business benefit from offering a professional white paper, either to gather leads or to position yourself as a leader in your particular market space?


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