POSTED : January 17, 2019
BY : Spencer Pereira

It is critical that individuals working in sales, marketing, or any other role that interacts with customers understand the buyer’s journey. So, what does this important process look like?

The buyer’s journey consists of three stages:

  • Awareness: Essentially, this is when the buyer realizes they have a problem.
  • Consideration: Now that a problem has been identified, they must research valid options that could solve this problem.
  • Decision: After research, the buyer makes their choice on which solution to proceed with.

Although each stage can be wrapped up into a quick sentence, there’s much more that goes into the complex buyer’s journey. Throughout the next month, we will be exploring each stage of this journey. Today, we take a look at the first stage: Awareness.

An in-depth look at awareness

The buyer’s journey starts with the awareness stage. At this point in the journey, an individual or group may not fully understand their problem or be able to articulate a need for a vendor. What they do know, however, is that they are experiencing a pain point.

At this stage, a buyer will likely not be actively searching for a solution to this pain. Enter: Your marketing team. Consumers in the awareness stage will often respond to high-level, or “top-of-the-funnel”, educational pieces such as blogs, ebooks, and webinars that speak to granular topics, such as “Building a Sales Process in Salesforce.”

Have your marketing team utilize marketing automation tools to trigger targeted emails and ads to help explain to buyers what they are missing out on. Using these marketing tools, create a true need, a demand if you will, for your product.

Awareness Tip: Don’t just tell your contact base that they have a problem, show them! Demonstrate not only what they are currently facing, but also what they can do to correct it. Let your target market know early on that your company can help!

Once consumers recognize their problem, and the need for a solution, they will start on broad research. An astonishing 72% of buyers will turn to a simple Google search to begin researching their problem. That’s why so many companies today have shifted their focus to digital marketing and content marketing strategies. This has allowed marketers to put more resources in the hands of the buyer, putting less of a strain on the sales side.

Ensure that your company’s website is ranking well for keywords and phrases that match what your target prospect is searching for when researching their problem. This is incredibly important as click-through rates decrease dramatically the lower you are on the search results. In fact, this rate drops from above 70% for solutions on the first page, to below 10% for sites on the second and third pages combined!

Once you have attracted prospects to your website, it’s time to prove to your target market that they are facing an issue, and more importantly, that your product or service has the ability to alleviate pain associated with the problem at hand. To state your case, use top of the funnel tactics. Writing content that speaks to buyer pain points helps educate them on what they’re missing out on while building trust that you are a vendor that can help.

Once the target demographic recognizes that they have a problem, they’ll then ask themselves, or their colleagues, a series of questions including, but not limited to:

  • How did this problem arise?
  • Is there something we can do to correct it ourselves?
  • Should this challenge be a top priority, or can this wait until a later date?
  • Is there a practical cost and time effective solution to alleviate the pain point?
  • Will there be negative impacts if you do not take action?

Awareness Tip: Problem awareness can be a key challenge facing traditional sales prospecting teams, especially in new product/service areas such as high-end technology. When reaching out to cold prospects, understand they might not have “problem awareness,” let alone be actively researching a vendor. We could tell them all the great amazing things our product or service will do, but if they don’t see a “problem” with how they do things today, your message won’t resonate. Use your top-of-the-funnel pieces targeted at common problems in your prospecting communications.

With basic research under their belt, consumers will take their top options into the next stage of the buyer’s journey: Consideration. In our next edition of Inside the Buyer’s Journey, we will take an in-depth look at what consumers are taking into consideration and how you can make an impact on their Buyer’s Journey.

At PK, we work with clients in each stage of the buyer’s journey to simplify lead generation, sales management, and customer connections. Need advice on what CRM would be best for your company, how to engage contacts through Pardot marketing, or a development custom to your team? Reach out with your project needs and we’ll set up a time to discuss the options.

About the author

Spencer PereiraSpencer Pereira has a degree in integrated marketing communications and writing. He has worked in various marketing roles at Google and Valmont Industries.

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