The Buyer’s Journey and What It Means

We want the prospects who are ready to buy now. But if that prospect is at the in in a different stage of the Buyers Journey, a “buy now” approach may do more harm than good. Here’s how to create content that will appeal to more prospects.

When we start Marketing to prospects, we often think about the characteristics of the prospect we are trying to attract. Maybe some business information is you are selling to another business – what industry they are in, what size company they work for, what their role is. Maybe some demographic information – their age, gender, likes or dislikes. Buyers don’t want to be prospected, or But an even more important component may be what stage they are in their research to buying process. Or as we marketers like to say – their Buyer’s Journey.

The Buyer’s Journey is just the process buyers go through to learn more about their problem, consider possible solutions and purchase a new product or service. The Journey, according to Hubspot is a three-step process:
Now the Buyer’s Journey is not a new concept, but I often find that clients struggle with:

  • the impact the Buyers Journey should have business’ marketing and sales;
  • how to understanding their Customer’s Journey and/or
  • how to practically use the information.

So I put this short article together with the help of information from Hubspot, who seem to me to have the clearest definition and process for uncovering a Buyer’s Journey.

What is the Buyer’s Journey?

The Buyer’s Journey is just the process buyers go through to learn more about their problem, consider possible solutions and purchase a new product or service. The Journey, according to Hubspot is a three-step process:

  1. Awareness Stage: The buyer realises they have a problem.
  2. Consideration Stage: The buyer defines their problem and researches options to solve it.
  3. Decision Stage: The buyer chooses a solution.

The graphic below illustrates a sample buyers journey for the simple purchasing decision of a doctor visit during an illness.

So why is the Buyer’s Journey important?

We all want the quickest results. We want the people who are ready to buy now – those in the Decision stage. But if that prospect is at the Awareness or even Consideration stage a “buy now” approach may do more harm than good.  

Why? because at these stage buyers dont want product information, a demo, to be closed or even meet with someone. Buyers are looking for more information about what the underlying cause of their problem is and possible solutions.

That gives you the opportunity to be the “provider of choice” to many more buyers that just those ready to make a decision now. How? By personalising your content and sales approach to the buyers context by understanding the buyers journey.

Where do you start to Map Buyer’s Journey?

If you dont have a clear understanding of your buyers, a great place to start is by conducting a few interviews with customers, prospects, and salespeople at your company to get a sense of the buying journey. Here are some questions courtesy of Hubspot, you should ask to put together the buyers journey for your company.

During the Awareness stage, buyers 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:

  1. How do buyers describe their goals or challenges?
  2. How do buyers educate themselves on these goals or challenges?
  3. What are the consequences of inaction by the buyer?
  4. Are there common misconceptions buyers have about addressing the goal or challenge?
  5. How do buyers decide whether the goal or challenge should be prioritized?

During the Consideration stage, buyers 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:

  1. What categories of solutions do buyers investigate?
  2. How do buyers educate themselves on the various categories?
  3. How do buyers perceive the pros and cons of each category?
  4. 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 you should ask yourself to define the Decision stage are:

  1. What criteria do buyers use to evaluate the available offerings?
  2. When buyers investigate your company’s offering, what do they like about it compared to alternatives? What
  3. concerns do they have with your offering?
  4. Who needs to be involved in the decision? For each person involved, how does their perspective on the decision differ?
  5. Do buyers have expectations around trying the offering before they purchase it?
  6. Outside of purchasing, do buyers need to make additional preparations, such as implementation plans or training strategies?

The answers to these questions can help provide a foundation for your buyers journey.

That’s great, but what’s next?

  1. Use your Buyer’s Journey Map to develop a content plan that suit buyers at different stages of the Buyer’s Journey. Plan to develop at least one new content each month.

    Here is a useful table from Hubspot to illustrate the types of content that are more applicable at different stages:

  2. Make sure each content piece is “SEO friendly” – it contains the likely search terms that prospects use when looking for information at their relevant stage to help buyer’s find it online.
  3. Upload the content on your website – ideally as on offer on a “landing page” that captures the buyer’s details so you help them on their Journey
  4. Develop a content distribution plan to promote your content piece online and via social media –again don’t forget the likely search terms
  5. Develop targeted campaigns to reach out to potential buyers and share your content piece – don’t just passively post the content hoping they will find it.

Do this and you will be on the way to developing more leads, more clients and more sales. 

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You can reach Kym at www.themarketingstrategy.co or connect via LinkedIn.

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