Imagine if every one of your buyers or clients took a clear, linear path to purchase. Marketing and sales would be so much easier! You’d know when to reach out, serve an ad, or recommend a piece of content.
Instead, the buyer’s journey looks more like a maze. Buyers twist, turn, backtrack, and conduct research in their own way and at their own pace. To help buyers navigate through this maze, marketers must first study and solve it themselves.
As hard as it has become to sell in today’s world, it has become that much more difficult to buy. The single biggest challenge of selling today is not selling; it is actually our customer’s struggle to buy. Brent Adamson, Distinguished VP, Advisory, Gartner
To solve the puzzle and understand what content to deliver when, consider documenting your buyer’s journey.
The five stages of the buyer’s journey
The buyer’s journey can be broken into five stages: awareness, research, evaluation, activation, and maintenance. You’ll see different words used elsewhere to describe each stage, but the essence is still the same.
The goal is to identify buyers in the awareness stage and gently lead them from one stage to the next.
The buyer recognizes they have a problem or pain point, but they don’t know who to turn to or what help is needed to fix it.
The buyer wants outside help to achieve their goals. They are searching for resources to understand, frame, and give a name to the problem.
Buyer wants to understand all available approaches and/or methods to solve their problem. The buyer may interact with you to evaluate whether you are the right solution. They’re likely to evaluate many options before making a final decision and moving on to the next stage.
Buyer has evaluated all possible solutions and is ready to make a decision. They are ready to take the next step and purchase.
Buyer already purchased a product or service and needs further support to maintain it. This stage presents an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with the buyer, re-engage with them, or even upsell to a new product or service.
Why the buyer’s journey matters
But wait a second. If the buyer’s journey is like a maze, why are there five linear stages? Seems contradictory right?
The truth is, even if a buyer skips a stage, repeats a stage, or loops back around ten times, you need to be ready to meet them wherever they are whenever they get there.
So go ahead and shuffle the stages up. But at the end of the day, take the time to understand each one.
Armed with this intimate knowledge of your buyer and their journey, you can provide answers and value when they need it most. That in turn deepens relationships, helps manage issues, and successfully nurtures buyers toward activation.
Customers who received supplier information that helped them advance across their buyer’s journey were 2.8x more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease and 3x more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret. Gartner.
Not only can this strategy help win more business, it can establish your brand as a leader. When your product or service is the one providing value and helpful content, they’ll choose you over the competition.
Additionally, a solid understanding of the buyer’s journey keeps your sales and marketing teams in alignment. Marketing will understand what buyers need to reach out to sales, and sales will understand how marketing’s efforts draw buyers in.
Ready to solve your buyer’s journey?
Don’t let your buyers languish in a maze of potential solutions. Do the work and create a map toward the way out. Developing a well-crafted buyer’s journey is that map. We can help!