Sales Process: Optimizing the Buyer’s Journey
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Sales Process: Optimizing the Buyer’s Journey


– As is the case with everything inbound, it’s important to understand
your potential customers. How they think, the answers they seek, and the path they tend to
take to find a solution. Because audiences can vary widely based on industry and intent,
understanding your buyer persona is the start of
developing the buyer’s journey. Only by understanding their unique process of becoming aware of their problem, considering solutions, and deciding on the right solution, will you be able to create a truly
effective inbound strategy, packed with customer
content that best supports their journey towards making a purchase. Your buyer’s journey
can look very different depending on factors like your industry, business model, product,
pricing and audience. Some business-to-consumer
customers, for example, spend very little time in
the consideration stage, compared to
business-to-business customers, that require far more
nurturing, engagement, and relationship development
before purchase is made. It all depends on your business. Regardless, your approach to creating your buyer’s journey should be the same. Understand your buyer persona and develop each buyer’s journey stage around your industry and persona’s intent. Let’s start with the first stage. The awareness stage. The awareness stage is when your prospect is experiencing and expressing symptoms of a problem or opportunity. They’re doing educational research to more clearly understand, frame and gave name to their problem. The awareness stage does not mean that they are now aware of your business. At this point, they are just aware that they have a problem. Maybe they’re ready to fire
their existing process, or know that they’re existing process just isn’t working yet. If your prospect was to walk into a store and a sales clerk ask what
help they’re looking for, or even better, if your
prospect uses search engine. If they’re in the awareness
stage, they’re using terms like troubleshoot, issue, resolve, risks, upgrade, improve,
optimize, or prevent. Your buyer persona would
describe this stage as I’m a buyer, aware that I have a problem. Fill these in as if you
were your buyer persona to better understand
your buyer at this stage. I need to improve blank. I need to prevent blank. I need to start blank. I need to stop blank. I need to optimize blank. I need to solve blank. I need to learn more about blank. The terms that you start to insert are the phrases or keywords
that your buyer persona would use to describe the awareness stage. This allows your brand
to establish yourself as a reliable source of
information to the buyer, and allows your business
to immediately follow up with the information that will aid them in the second stage of
the buyer’s journey, the consideration stage. The consideration stage is arguably the most critical point
in the buyer’s journey, because this is where
the perspective customer starts eliminating solutions
that aren’t a good fit. At the consideration stage, your prospect is now clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity. They’re committed to
researching and understanding all of the available approaches or methods to solving their defined
problem or opportunity. This isn’t the point that they are considering your business. They’re considering
the different solutions they have to solve their problem. Blogs are a great way to attract
attention to your website, but they lack the personal engagement side of marketing and sales,
that helps businesses qualify prospects and
nurture relationships. This kind of engagement is necessary, especially for people at this point of the buyer’s journey. Your prospect use these solution terms in the consideration stage, like provider, service, supplier, tool, device, software, appliance, or solution. For consideration stage,
your buyer would say, I’m a buyer considering
how to solve my problem. Fill these as if you
were your buyer persona. What tools are available for blank? What are blank industry solutions? What are my blank options? What blank options are there for blank? You’ll start to notice that the terms used here are solution keywords. You aren’t inserting your
company name in here, but you might be inserting
terms that you use to describe the solutions
that you provide. This research will help your
buyer decide on their solution and move into the decision stage. The decision stage is where
your prospect has now decided on their solution strategy,
method or approach. This is where they might
be compiling a long list of all available vendors and products and their given solution strategy. At this point, they’re
researching to whittle the long list down to a short list. And ultimately, make a
final purchase decision. They might decide on the one
that best meets their needs, or they might go with the
solution they find first. They’re using relevant
terms like compare, versus, comparison, pros and cons,
benchmarks, review, or test. To get in the mindset
of your buyer persona at this stage, you can use the following. If they say, I am a buyer deciding on a specific product or vendor, or I am a buyer trying to make a decision between products and vendors. How would you feel these in as if you were your buyer persona? I need prices for blank. I need blank product specifics. I need proof blank works. I need evidence that blank. I need insurance that blank. A few things to note,
prospects, website visitors, or leads, might interact
with you for the first time in any of the different
buyer’s journey stages. But you need to be prepared
for each and every stage. By taking the time to
empathize with your buyer and thinking about that
information that they need, you increase your chances
of securing customers who are the right fit for
your products or services. This will translate into
a higher attention rate for your company as well as
promoters of your business who will help your business grow better. If the buyer’s journey is a critical part of building out a content
strategy that will work for your marketing sales and services, you might be asking yourself, what content is appropriate in each stage
of the buyer’s journey. It all comes down to what your content is about and how it’s positioned. Is your content focused on the problem your buyer persona is experiencing? That would be an awareness
stage piece of content. If your content is more about
the solution to a problem, then it would be a consideration
stage piece of content. As for the decision stage,
that’s when you begin to create content about
your product or service. As you can see, you
wanna be creating content for all of the different
stages of the buyer’s journey. You can determine where
your piece of content fits into the buyer’s journey based on the topic, not the format. If you don’t have an intimate
understanding of your buyers, conduct a few interviews with customers, prospects, and other
salespeople at your company to get a sense of the buying journey. Here’s some questions you should ask to put together the buyer’s
journey for your company. During the awareness stage,
buyer’s identify their challenge or an opportunity they want to pursue. They also decide whether or not the goal or challenge should be a priority. In order to fully understand the awareness stage for your buyer, ask yourself, how do buyers describe
their goals or challenges? How do buyers educate themselves on these goals or challenges? What are the consequences
of inaction by the buyer? Are there common
misconceptions buyers have about addressing the goal or challenge? How do buyers decide whether the goal or challenge should be prioritized? During the consideration stage,
buyer’s have clearly defined the goal or challenge and have
committed to addressing it. They evaluate the different
approaches or methods available to pursue the goal or
solve their challenge. Ask yourself, what categories of solutions do buyers investigate? How do buyers educate themselves
on the various categories? How do buyers perceive the
pros and cons of each category? How do buyers decide which
category is right for them? In the decision stage, buyers have already decided on a solution category. For example, they could
write a pro con list of specific offerings and then decide on the one that best meets their needs. Questions your should ask yourself to define the decision
stage are what criteria do buyers use to evaluate
the available offers? When buyers investigate
your company’s offering, what do they like about it
compared to alternatives? What concerns do they
have with your offering? Who needs to be involved in the decision? For each person involved, how does their perspective on the decision differ? Do buyers have expectations around trying the offering
before they purchase it? Outside of purchasing, do buyers need to make additional preparation such as implementation plans
or training strategies? Develop a buyer’s journey and this process will have the greatest possible impact on your customer relationships, helping fuel your inbound strategy and helping your business grow better. (happy music)

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