Jules had a problem. Her printer died and she needed a new one. Since she hadn’t shopped for a printer in several years, she had no idea what might be available or what it might cost. So, she went online and started looking at printers and prices. After finding a few that she thought might work, she went to several review sites. She debated whether she wanted to pick it up in person, pay extra for next-day delivery, or whether she could wait.
Finally, she decided on the printer she wanted, searched for the best price, and bought a new printer.
We’re so accustomed to the process these days, we don’t think anything of doing this kind of research before making a purchase decision. But what Jules was doing was completing the stages of the buyer journey.
It’s simple when a consumer has a demonstrated need, has an urgency to solve a problem, and the purchase isn’t an extremely expensive item. It’s a little different in B2B, where the stakes are higher (and more expensive). Marketers need to feed B2B demand generation, create the content to fuel discovery and engagement, and then apply strategic practices to move B2B buyers through the buyer journey.
Mapping the Buyer Journey
You may be familiar with the AIDA sales funnel. Buyers move from awareness to interest to desire to action. While there’s still value to funnel, today’s B2B buyers really move through three stages:
Before you start building content and executing your marketing plan, you need to map the buyer journey. These five steps can help you create detailed buyer journey mapping without spending hours or days doing it.
1. Define Buyer Personas
The first step is to identify your ideal customers. While you won’t capture every potential buyer by doing this, it helps you focus your marketing efforts on the most qualified buyers. This attracts more high-value leads and creates more conversions.
To create buyer personas, you’ll need to do a deep dive into your data. Check your customer database to look for trends, talk to your sales team, and paint a picture of the common attributes of buyers, such as:
- Company size and/or revenue
2. Examine Pain Points
Most sales occur because a B2B buyer is trying to solve a problem or overcome a challenge in their business. You need to understand the pain before you can begin to suggest solutions.
- What challenges do your buyer personas face?
- What obstacles prevent them from solving them?
- What is the impact of solving them?
The answers will help you as you create content for the awareness stage of the buyer journey.
3. Identify Solutions
Next, you need to identify the potential solutions you offer that can solve these problems.
It’s not enough to equip your sales team with these solutions. You need to empower buyers as they research solutions online.
For example, 87% of B2B tech buyers want self-service options. As you create content for the consideration phase, you want to make sure to build assets that allow B2B buyers to find the answers to questions themselves. Since nearly all B2B buyers do independent research before ever engaging with a salesperson, it’s essential to have the right content available.
4. Examine the Competitive Landscape
You’ll want to think about what your competitors offer in the way of solutions. While doing research, buyers will likely find your competitors, so you need to evaluate their offers to help define key points of difference.
5. Find the Friction
Another important step in creating your buyer persona and mapping the buyer journey will be identifying key friction points that might stop buyers from moving from awareness to consideration to decision.
For example, are buyers worried about:
- Price or Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)?
- Demonstrable ROI?
- Whether your product will truly solve their problem?
You may want to think about their internal buying process as well. Is there a single decision-maker or a committee? Will they have to “sell” the solution internally and what information will they need to convince the C-level suite to fund the purchase?
Of course, mapping the buyer journey is just the start. But it does create the framework for your next steps.
You’ll need to examine your existing content to see how it fits into the buyer journey. In this step, you are looking to make sure you have the right content to address each stage of the buyer journey, make sure it’s updated, and identify any gaps.
When you identify the gaps, it’s time to fill them. You’ll need to create the content designed to move buyers through the journey.
It helps to define what your buyer personas need at each stage of the awareness, consideration, and decision phase. They’ll have different needs and ask different questions at each stage. To be effective, you’ll need to answer the questions they have. Your content should address the challenges, goals, and motivations at each stage.
You’ll also want to pay particular attention to your call to action (CTA). Each piece of content should be designed to help move buyers to the next stage. Make sure you have an effective CTA that meets that goal.
Connecting the Buyer Experience
Buyer experience is playing an increasingly larger role in marketing success. Building the ideal buyer journey requires a commitment to consistent content orchestration and personalized marketing, including:
- Delivering an interactive experience to improve discovery, education, and engagement
- Leveraging data to optimize the buyer journey
- Creating value to build trust and mitigate risk for buyers
- A collaborative process for buyers and vendors
- Self-service options to aid discovery and answer key questions
- Providing frontline marketers with the tools they need to execute at scale
Want to learn more about a B2B marketing platform that connects account based marketing execution that creates a robust buyer experience to increase conversions? Check out the ABM solutions at Folloze and get a demo to see them in action today.