Let’s focus on defining the buyer’s journey and understanding how you can generate the greatest value from investing in defining the buyer’s journey! The buyer’s journey can be broken-down into 3 stages:

Awareness stage- In the awareness stage, the customer is just becoming aware that they have a challenge. They are seeking information on what is their challenge is, how important this challenge is, and should it be a priority of theirs to address? When a customer’s thinking in the awareness stage they’re looking for information and content that helps validate their challenges and how specifically their challenge might impact them.

Consideration stage- The 2nd stage is the consideration stage in which they have defined their challenge, given it a name, and are actively educating themselves on potential solutions for solving their problem. It’s at this stage, they begin focusing on solutions, learning the components within potential solutions, and comparing solutions with others. They are also looking to understand what solution best fits their needs and system.

Decision Stage- Lastly, enter the decision stage in which they analyze and evaluate all potential solutions and commit to choosing one specific solution that they feel best supports their needs. At this point, they understand the solutions available to them and begin reaching out to the vendors to confirm final information and pricing. This is also the stage where commonly salespeople are engaged.

For today, let’s focus on the awareness stage as it is commonly misunderstood by marketers and sales teams. Too often sales and marketing teams misunderstand a buyer’s actions when visiting your website or requesting information via social for being “sales ready” and begin contacting the buyer with incorrect goals and intentions. When in reality they are looking for content to try and understand what exactly their challenges and how that might be impacting them. A buyer today and find any information they’d like via the tools available to them. They don’t want to waste time being qualified by a salesperson. Instead, YOU can be significantly valuable to them if you reach out with additional information related to their challenge, and ways in which they can identify what solutions might work best.  Unfortunately, companies today spend a lot of sales time in marketing efforts in targeting the buyer and communicating with them specials, coupons, and closing like language that pushes the buyer away. None of which supports the buyer where they are now.

Instead, think about your buyer and think about why they are experiencing a challenge? What triggered this challenge and what information you could provide them that would help them better understand this challenge and what potential solutions could-be impactful for them? Think of content that supports them in this specific environment.

Examples of some of these are:

  • eBooks
  • 3rd Party Editorial Content
  • Expert Content
  • White Papers
    • On the specific components within that challenge and ways in which they can overcome their pain points,
  • Educational Content
    • Explaining where the challenge’s source, why it might be happening ways in which they can combat the challenge
  • Research and analyst reports
    • Arming them with information to better understand exactly what they’re up against and showing them you truly understand what they’re going through and as a company has helped other customers combat this type of challenge.

Can you answer questions like:

  • Do you have a clear understanding of what your buyer’s challenges are?
  • Do you know what triggers these challenges?
  • What happens in their business that drives them or leads them to begin thinking about challenges you can help them with?

If so you’re halfway there! Now that you know what it is that challenging them to think about what information you can provide that would assist them in better understanding this challenge and also what actions they can take to improve their situation.

It’s important to know when your buyer understands or identifies they have a challenge what their typical process is for acquiring information. Are they reaching out to friends on social media, or leveraging search engines? Do they refer to colleagues or industry specific associations?

What they do, and where they go is exactly where you want to be. It’s vital that you have rich information available and ready for them in these places. Are you leveraging technology today that helps you understand where your buyers are in their process? There are technologies available to you such as: Hubspot, Sharpspring, Pardot, Marketo, Infusionsoft and ClickFunnels that can help you understand exactly who is visiting your site, what pages they visit, what content they are interested in, how long they visited your site, the order of web pages they read and visited, so that you can better understand what their interest level is and what specifically you can do to help.

When using a marketing automation platforms such as the software recommendations listed above make sure you understand what pages are most effective for you, what pages are driving in the most traffic, what content is performing best, what inbound links (websites, social platforms, associations are driving most of your quality traffic). In addition, this software will help you see what emails are showing a high delivery rate, open rate, click rate unsubscribe rates.

Please note it is vital to leverage email in this process. The moment a buyer visits your company for information, your goal should be to provide them valuable content in exchange for their contact information so that you can begin nurturing and sharing with them additional information which will separate you from your competition. It has been said by Google that it will take anywhere up to 18.2 touches to convert a prospect into a customer and those 18.2 touches need to be high-value touches. There is no easier way in my opinion than understanding who the customer is, what their challenges are, what information they’re looking for, and providing them relevant and impactful content via your website and in an email follow up.

It’s also vital to understand how optimized your website is and where you can improve your buyer’s experience. Do you have pages optimized for each challenge they experience? Do you have clear calls to action that drives them to download or acquire additional information? Are your emails optimized to generate the greatest engagement? Is your content engaging well with your audience base? If you’d like additional information please click on this call to action.