The buyer’s journey describes the process a prospect goes through when making a purchase decision. It recounts the way a prospect initially became aware of a business, the various options they evaluated, and finally, how they settled on the solution and vendor they chose.
The process consists of three stages:
In the Awareness stage, the prospect is identifying a problem he or she is experiencing or an opportunity he or she wishes to pursue.
The Consideration stage occurs when the prospect has clearly identified their problem or opportunity and is seeking remedial solutions.
The Decision stage—the final phase—occurs once the prospect decides on a solution and is evaluating companies to select the right partner.
To understand their prospect’s buying journey, businesses should seek answers to the following questions to clearly define each stage of their prospect’s sales process.
Questions in the Awareness Stage
The Awareness stage consists of prospects identifying their problems or opportunities and understanding how it relates to and affects them.
To create content that best relates to prospects in the Awareness stage, ask questions like:
- How would these prospects describe their problem/opportunity?
- How do prospects educate themselves on the problem/opportunity they are experiencing?
Next, consider how their challenge/goal relates to them and how it can affect them.
- How will ignoring the problem/opportunity affect their future?
- Are there common misconceptions prospects have about the problem/opportunity?
- What factors (job promotion, increase in productivity, etc.) would influence prospects to act on their problem/opportunity?
Material produced for prospects in the Awareness stage should be educationally-based to guide prospects in identifying their problem/opportunity. Optimizing keywords for SEO (search engine optimization), blogging, white papers, videos, and social media are all appropriate tactics to use in the Awareness stage.
Questions in the Consideration Stage
The Consideration stage begins once prospects finish identifying their problem/opportunity and start considering various solutions to help them overcome their challenges or meet their goals.
To create content that best relates to prospects in the Consideration stage, ask questions like:
- What are the most popular solutions prospects encounter when researching their problem/opportunity?
- How do prospects educate themselves on various solutions?
- What are the pros and cons of each solution for the prospects?
- Are there factors (price, availability, etc.) that influence which solution a prospect chooses?
- How do prospects ultimately decide which solution is right for them?
The material in the Consideration stage should still be educationally-based because prospects are searching for resources to understand the different solutions available to them to help better tackle their problem/opportunity. Webinars, eBooks, cases studies, data sheets, and planning guides are great resources to provide in the Consideration stage.
Questions in the Decision Stage
The Decision stage commences when prospects decide on a solution and begin comparing vendors to find one that best suits their needs. During this stage, it is likely your prospects have compiled a list of requirements they want their solution to meet. Things like price, special features, and quality will likely be of significance during this final stage.
To create content that helps businesses differentiate from competitors during the Decision stage, ask questions like:
- Are there specific features that are important to the prospects?
- Does my company offer something competitors do not?
- What do prospects like about my solution compared to other competitors?
- Do prospects have any qualms about my solution?
- Are others involved in the Decision stage? Do their perspectives differ?
- Do buyers need ongoing support (warranty, training, installation, etc.) to implement my solution?
The material in the Decision stage should include information about the solution and company-- and how the two differentiate from competitors. During the Decision stage, sales and marketing tactics should be more engaging and hands-on. Trials, demos, tours, needs assessments, pros and cons sheets, vendor comparatives, and quotes are tactics prospects may demand during the Decision stage.
The Bottom Line
Having a clear understanding of each stage of the buying process helps businesses devise effective selling and marketing strategies compatible with the various stages of the sales cycle.
Effective marketing and sales strategies begin by understanding why, how, and when clients buy your solutions. Defining your businesses’ prospect’s buying journeys will help you understand the ways your clients buy and help your sales division adapt their processes to the buyer’s journey.
Do you create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey? Let us know in the Comments below.
To learn more about the buyer’s journey and how it can be used to scale your revenue, differentiate from competitors, and optimize your website, download our eBook on 3 Revenue Growth Opportunities Your Business May Be Missing.