5 min read time
The buyer journey offers invaluable insight into how your sales and marketing teams can effectively approach potential buyers and convert them into clients. Focusing on how prospect mentality evolves throughout the purchasing decision, this framework can help transform your strategic approach to new business by aligning your actions with potential buyer needs and preferences. Discover what this progressive process means to your business, and how to optimize the buyer journey for revolutionary results.
The buyer journey
The buyer journey helps organizations understand what their leads need and want whilst working through a purchasing decision. This journey outlines a reliably universal framework; even though business sales pipelines can differ between organizations, business buyers will ultimately work through the same mental processes when selecting investments. The buyer journey defines these processes in three essential stages:
Your buyers can’t start a purchasing decision without having an awareness of their current business pain points; in essence, they must have identified why they need your product. Once aware of a problem, potential buyers start to research the types of solution on offer and prioritize their investment criteria. At this stage, your buyers want easily accessible information about your product, educational material surrounding their pain points and guidance for tackling the problems your solution can solve. Once the awareness stage is complete, buyers have a detailed understanding of what they need, and exactly what kind of solution they want to invest in.
At this stage, buyers will start to conduct research into the different brands and organizations offering the kind of solution they want. Leads will compare their options and justify reasons for expenditure to their superiors, so you’ll need to provide compelling customer testimonials and industry-specific content. Many buyers move slowly through this stage, as they’re keen to make a well-informed decision that is best for their businesses. (Especially when making a substantial investment in a high-value product.) Carefully tailor conversations to help buyers understand the value of your product and how they can achieve the desired return.
Once buyers have reached this stage, they are ultimately ready to make their purchase! They’ve settled on a vendor and started to digest details surrounding negotiation, implementation and required training. In this stage, buyers usually crave best practice advice and guidance, helping them re-evaluate strategies where necessary to include their new purchase and set targets for ideal results. Buyers in the decision stage want to understand any contractual terms this investment will carry, how to seamlessly adopt their new purchase and what will happen next.
The rate at which leads move through this journey is completely unpredictable and depends hugely upon each buyer’s internal processes. Equally unpredictable is the stage at which buyers will make themselves known to your business. It is normal for marketing approaches to help prospects work through the awareness stage, and for sales teams to first speak with potential buyers in the consideration stage, but this isn’t set in stone. Buyers may have made a decision to purchase the moment they contact you, or they may have only just discovered your solution exists! Ensuring your sales and marketing teams are prepared to handle the buyer’s desires and needs at every point of their purchasing journey is essential to maximizing opportunities for the ultimate business success.
Optimize the buyer journey
Whilst you can’t control your buyer’s decisions, there are ways you can increase the likelihood of buyer progression. Use these top tips to ensure your team can effectively meet the needs of each lead at the optimum moment, propelling opportunities onto their next stage of consideration and closer to becoming clients.
- Carefully collect buyer data: Both your sales and marketing teams can boost buyer journey progression with an understanding of buyer details, from name and business name to current pain-points and business goals. The more you know about each potential buyer, the better! This information helps your team effectively tailor outreach approaches, predicting the kind of content, information and discussion leads will need to make a decision. Be sure to accurately gather and store data pertaining to prospects in a format that can be seamlessly shared between marketing and sales.
- Embrace email automation: Modern technologies can help boost your buyer journey progression by automating relevant communications in response to buyer actions. Should a potential buyer in the awareness stage download an asset created for the consideration stage, email automation can maximize this progression with tailored communications. This saves your team valuable time, helping them focus on processes that require direct input whilst keeping your brand front of mind- especially useful when potential buyers are researching your competitors!
- Ensure your content is easily accessible: At each stage of the journey, your buyers want content! Whether it’s for educational purposes, to better understand your product or prepare for implementation, content assets have a powerful sway over your buyer journey success. Ensuring your assets are easily accessible is key, so take time to understand how potential buyers will search for the content they want. Will they search online? Are your assets appropriately optimized to ensure high rankings on SERPs? Will your sales team send relevant assets directly to potential buyers? In which case, how will you ensure a library of industry-specific content is available to your wider team.
- Acknowledge competitors: Many potential buyers get stuck in the consideration stage, and your sales team need to handle conversations carefully to ensure leads are successfully guided towards the decision stage. Making a final decision on which vendor to work with is one of the most difficult decisions for your potential buyers, as they need to conduct detailed research into several options to compare. Encourage your team to neutrally acknowledge competitors for buyers caught in this stage and focus on how your product or solution is different from competitors as opposed to “better”. This can help buyers gain clarity on the wider market of solutions, so they take less time to make a well-informed decision. Taking this approach additionally helps potential buyers rate your company highly for handling competitors in a fair manner, so you win their trust!
- Track your buyer website activity: 94% of B2B buyer journeys start online. Throughout the purchasing decision, your website acts as a key lead touchpoint, offering a wide variety of content and important information. Using software like Lead Forensics, your team can gain instant alerts when valuable business leads visit your website. This enables a deeper understanding of potential buyer behavior, learning what information and content they’re engaging with and how this activity progresses a purchasing decision. With real time contact data for key decision makers available, your team can conduct instant follow-up communications, helping leads move onto the next step of their journey. Find out more- book your free demo today!
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