b2b buyers journey

The foundation of a successful marketing funnel is the buyer’s journey. Without it, B2B marketing becomes a shot in the dark rather than a sequence of actions built as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. 

The standard or most probable path a potential client goes through prior to buying a product or service is known as the buyer’s journey. It covers the thoughts, interactions, responses, and experiences a target consumer may go through before becoming an actual client.  

A thorough and well-defined buyer’s journey will allow you to understand: 

  • How every stage of the funnel plays a different role and addresses different issues 
  • Likes, preferences and dislikes of your target audience  
  • How to lead a prospect visitor to the last stage of your sales funnel 

The prospect will undergo a step-by-step process to learn, research, and analyse a new product or service before deciding to buy it. 

Sales representatives can more effectively make a connection with buyers and place their products or services along the buyer’s journey by having a thorough understanding of the buying cycle, the challenges and pain points customers face along the way, and the influential factors that determine their reasoning. So, let’s delve a little bit deeper. 

The importance of a Buyer Persona  

The very first step before you even begin with the process of determining your buyer’s journey is to study your buyer to create an accurate buyer persona. A business may have as few as one or as many as ten buyer personas, depending on the business’ product lines, services and the different job titles within a prospect business that would decide to make a purchase.  

Buyer personas are comprehensive descriptions of your ideal audience derived from data and market analysis, e.g., your ideal buyer’s professional aspirations, concerns and demographics.  

This specifically covers details that are useful for marketing, such as the type of media your buyer is exposed to and/or prefers, the social media platforms they use, their job profiles, the problems they face and more.  

You can better understand your consumers (and potential buyers) by using buyer personas. You may more quickly connect your content, communication, design and development, and offerings to fit the unique requirements, behaviours, and problems of the people who make up your target audience as a result. 

How to determine a Buyer’s Journey 

In order to understand the buyer’s journey, let’s start by placing yourself in your prospect’s shoes and determining the most obvious and typical routes your prospect would take to meet their need.  

A problem that your company can answer will often be at the beginning of a buyer’s journey. Your company can certainly help your clients with a wide range of issues, so start with the primary service you offer and the problems your prospect would face leading up to their decision to purchase it.  

First Contact: Making a powerful first impression 

When your prospect’s faces their initial issues and is exposed to your content that addresses it for the first it, this is referred to as first contact.  

This would take place at the top of the B2B marketing funnel. The structure of your website and emails should encourage continued engagement with related content that leads your prospect further down the marketing funnel over time.  

The more you learn about your buyer’s journey, the more beneficial you can make your content for each stage of the marketing funnel.  

Moving through the buyer’s journey  

Eventually, after a few touch points and engagements, the journey should end with a one-on-one interaction with the prospect in the form of an email, chat, or phone call.  This typically happens at the bottom of the marketing funnel, referred to as the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. The prospect’s problem or opportunity has probably changed since their first contact as they learn more about their issue and their understanding of the available solutions evolves.  

Creating content for omnichannel marketing 

In light of this, the foundation of developing an accurate buyer’s journey is to identify all the channels via which you may indirectly engage the prospect so you can leave a good impression before one-to-one contact. This can be exhibited in the shape of blogs, social media activities, webinars, eBooks, and any other insightful materials you may offer in your field of specialisation. 

The language, tone, and substance of the resources you offer at each stage of the buyer’s journey should vary. You may thus produce content that is more powerful by comprehending the psychology underlying each step. 

The three stages of a buyer’s journey 

The following three stages are used by businesses to evaluate a prospect’s decision-making process. There will be a unique set of questions at each stage of the buying process that you can either assume or send out quick surveys at various points along the way to receive real-life responses. Below, we have given a thorough breakdown of each stage and how it impacts the buyer’s thought process. 

Source: Qualtrics 

Stage 1: Awareness:  

In the awareness stage, the prospective buyer knows they have a problem that needs a solution. This stage affirms the goals, pain points and issues experienced by the prospect and educates them on how they can identify their needs.  

During the awareness stage, you should ask yourself the following questions to fully comprehend a prospect. 

  • What are the prospects’ objectives or obstacles? 
  • How do they achieve these objectives or manage with these problems? 
  • What are the repercussions of the prospect’s neglect of the issue 
  • How do prospects choose what should be given preference – their goal or challenge 
  • Are there any typical misunderstandings that prospects have about how to handle the objective or problem? 

Stage 2: Consideration: Evaluation of available options 

As people research solutions to their pain points, they begin to see their options. This is when they enter the consideration stage.  

This stage is characterised by three factors – brand research, comparison, justification. 

In brand specific research, prospects dig deeper into reviewing the companies they have in mind by checking their websites, google reviews, detailed product descriptions etc.  

Your prospects will find it simpler to compare your business to your competitors if you provide them with educational and practical information about how your goods and services can solve their problems and help them reach their goals.  

When it comes to making the choice to buy, the more detailed and helpful you are with your content, the more likely it is your prospect will turn to your business for a solution.  

You must therefore serve your prospects with materials that are directed at the decision-maker for the issues or goal in question. 

Here’s what you should ask yourself to better understand the decision maker: 

  • What types of services are your prospects looking into? 
  • How do they get acquainted with the various types? 
  • How do they see the advantages and disadvantages of each category? 
  • What factors they consider when choosing the appropriate category? 

Stage 3: Decision: Your prospect selects a solution 

In the decision stage, buyers choose the product or service that will solve their pain point.   

There are 2 leading factors in the last stage, Select and Purchase. At this point, your prospect is thinking about how to compare the advantages and disadvantages of other suppliers, thus this is usually the time when they get in touch with you directly.  

The way you handle purchases is crucial, since bad customer service and a lack of resources for best practises may cause customers to back out of a purchase sooner than they originally intended. 

Questions that define the Decision stage are: 

  • What standards do customers use to compare the services offered? 
  • What do people enjoy about your company’s services in comparison to your alternatives? 
  • What objections do they have to your products? 
  • Who needs to be consulted before making a decision?  
  • How does each person’s viewpoint on the choice differ from one another? 
  • Do potential customers consider testing the product before making a purchase?  
  • Do purchasers need to make any further preparations before making a purchase, such as training schedules or action plans? 

7 touch-points before a purchase  

Once you have completely addressed every question, you may evaluate the data you have and create a flowchart from it. Consider strategies to present to your prospect while they are looking for answers. Being effectively visible to your buyer in each stage is called a touch point.   

The general guideline is that it takes 7 touch points before a prospect is prepared to make a purchase in B2B. In order to ensure that your material is easily accessible, make sure to identify these contact points. 

Buyer’s Journey Content Framework 

Source: HubSpot 

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