Buyers’ journeys can be quite complex. And salespeople may not even realize the impact they can have on that journey, for better or worse. “The buyer’s journey seems simple: awareness, consideration, decision,” writes Sales Hacker’s Colin Campbell. “But implementing these steps requires a lot of planning and coordination. We’re diving into how and where to get started by sharing a few different frameworks so you can map your buyer journey to your sales process.”
Campbell examines the three stages of buyers’ journeys:
He then discusses various ways that reps can map their buyers’ journeys and how to integrate them into the entire sales process.
Buyers’ Journeys: What Are They?
Campbell defines it as the following:
“an engagement model that takes a customer through three stages of evaluation before making a purchase. This framework asks sales and marketing to work together to provide buyers with the content they need at the right time in the sales process.”
Understanding the Journeys
By understanding the three stages, reps can be sure that they are effectively mapping a journey for each and every customer.
Awareness is the first stage, and it aligns with the top of the funnel. The buyer knows that they have at least one pain point and they seek solutions. But, they don’t always know what those solutions should be, or what solutions are even available. This is where in buyers' journeys your product or service is introduced. At this stage, Campbell recommends that when speaking with buyers, reps hold off on being too pushy or going on about their brand. Focus the attention directly on the buyer and their issue(s).
The second stage, consideration, is when the buyer narrows down their list of vendors and is ready to engage. “This is the middle of the sales funnel, and your content needs to focus on persuasion and a commitment from your buyer to pursue a full evaluation,” Campbell explains. “The type of content you provide can be much more product-based, but with a focus on the ROI and how your product can increase revenue.”
The bottom of the funnel aligns with the third stage: the decision. And no, this isn’t necessarily where the buyers’ journeys end. Reps may still need to push final value to get a signed contract. Webinars, another demo and other content can help get the deal done.
Adapting Your Process For Buyers
It’s important that sellers map their sales processes to buyers’ journeys. To do so, sellers must have a clearly defined ideal customer profile (ICP). This profile will be what drives your strategy and the content you share to attract customers. Then, identify buyer personas. As Campbell points out, “These are the individuals at your ICP accounts that will be doing the buying. Creating these quasi-fictional characters helps sales reps relate to their buyers as real humans and informs your content creation strategy. Your personas showcase the details about your potential client’s business interest, demographics, and even likes or dislikes.”
Once you have the ICP and buyer persona identified, you can ensure that the journey you offer aligns with those who are most likely to buy from you. Everything from how you talk with them at the first stage (awareness) to the content you give them during the consideration stage can be aligned with their needs and interests.
By mapping out a buyer’s journey, you position yourself to be a valuable partner in that journey. It not only helps the buyer see why they should buy from you, but it also benefits you, the seller. “The buyer’s journey also helps sales reps be more prepared, confident, and successful,” Campbell explains. “Reps can expect higher quality engagement from their prospects and faster deal cycles. By providing customers with a better prospecting experience, reps can build trust with their knowledge and insights.”