3 Essential Stages to Build a Buyer Journey That Converts Prospects at Every Stage
The sales funnel - as a successful and ambitious entrepreneur, this is probably something that you’ve not only heard about but also learnt about, considered and incorporated into your process to guide buyers on their journey from top to bottom.
But the truth is that the sales funnel today is, in many cases, outdated, obsolete, and potentially work to build a ceiling that could prevent you from taking your businesses to new heights.
You’ve already seen success using the sales funnel, and that’s a big part of the problem.
You’ve introduced a process, your clients are moulding themselves to this process, and it’s working.
But if you’re keen to grow your business to the next stage and scale quickly, it's essential to think about those potential prospects that don’t and won’t mould themselves to tradition; those who have their own idea of what the buyer journey is.
By taking a more flexible approach to the buyer journey, and by shifting your entrepreneurial focus from guiding clients down a linear pathway to supporting them through the critical stages of their own buyer’s journey, it is possible to create stronger relationships and ultimately boost success, boost revenue, and boost profitability.
Building a Buyer Journey That Converts
While today’s buyers may have their buyer journey in mind - one that may not conform to the traditional sales funnel - every buyer journey will typically go through a similar set of steps. These are the awareness, consideration and decision stages.
Businesses often overlook this stage as it takes place before the company has any sort of relationship with the buyer. At this stage of the buyer journey, your prospects are becoming aware that they have a gap in their capabilities or a problem that needs solving, and they begin to identify and acknowledge their situation.
This stage is the natural next step; a stage where prospects are starting to try and connect their problem with a suitable solution. Buyers will usually begin to search for potential options being offered by suppliers, and it’s at this part of the buyer journey that prospects start to become familiar with you and your competitors.
As prospects become aware of not only what’s out there, but who’s out there, there comes a need for them to make a decision about which solution and which business is right for them.
At this stage of the buyer journey, prospects will likely be comparing their options and conducting final research that allows them to justify the decision made.
However, this guide isn’t intended to explore the buyer journey; it’s intended to explore the three essential steps to build a buyer journey that converts prospects at every stage.
Understanding the steps above allows you to go deeper and focus on the necessary stages that are needed to build a truly flexible and inclusive buyer journey to ramp up your lead generation and increase engagement along the way.
These three stages are:
This initial stage aligns with the awareness step of the buyer journey.
Remember that awareness doesn’t mean familiarity with the brand; it implies acknowledgement of the problem and a need to find a solution.
If you haven’t already created a marketing persona, then now is the time to do so.
Personas are a vital part of your inbound marketing strategy and central to getting this buyer journey right.
Understanding the buyer persona allows you to draw in the right people at the right time in line with the inbound methodology.
Ask yourself how your marketing persona would describe their goals or challenges. Ask yourself where your marketing persona would choose to educate themselves on these goals or challenges.
Knowledge of where the persona looks for information and how they prefer to consume information gives you insight into how you can attract them; it allows you to start building your content strategy from a reliable and data-driven base.
This second stage aligns with the consideration step.
At first, when attracting, it’s essential to know where you need to be present to initiate contact and draw people into the buyer journey.
The engagement stage means keeping them on that journey; it’s less about the ‘where’ and more about the ‘what’.
- Ask yourself what sort of content your marketing persona is looking to consume?
- Ask yourself how they absorb this content?
- And ask yourself whether the content that you’re currently providing offers a straightforward solution to the problem that they’ve identified?
Asking yourself these questions, at this time, can help to identify discrepancies between what your target audience is looking for, and what you’re providing.
It’s a unique opportunity to utilise the data you hold about your client base to ensure that your message makes an impact.
This final stage aligns with the decision step.
By this stage of the buyer journey, prospects understand their problem, and they know that your business has a possible solution. They know your competitors do, too.
So what makes you stand out from the crowd, and what makes a prospect choose you above the rest?
The answer? Delight.
Your content has done its job - it’s engaged your prospects - but what else do you have to offer?
Along with helping you to build a robust content strategy, these essential stages can also help you to personalise and tailor your client service to create exceptional levels of satisfaction.
By understanding where your clients are and what they need throughout their journey, you can also systematically expand your team to ensure you have the right skills and talents your prospects need to support them along the way.
Why Bother Building a Buyer Journey?
Time shortages are likely to be one of your biggest frustrations right now.
However, as the linear sales funnel becomes increasingly outdated. As more and more prospects enter the funnel at different stages and jump back and forth as they research and consider their options, today’s entrepreneurs need to move away from guiding their prospects through the buyer journey.
Instead, your role is to support them as they purchase in a way that suits them.
In doing so, you’re well on your way to better meeting the needs of your audience, and demonstrating that they’re valued; aspects that work to nurture trust, boost loyalty, and ultimately contribute towards improved revenue.
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