Map the Buyer’s Journey

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. How do your customers (or buyer personas, described in my previous post) buy the kind of products you sell? When mapping out the buyer’s journey, keep the format as simple as possible. The common 3-phase buying journey (visualised in figure 4 below) is simple enough to save time and keep your focus on the essentials.

Now, let’s take a look at how to map the customer’s needs, wants, problems and pain points into each of the three buying phases.

Buying Phase 1: Need Awareness

The buying journey starts when the influencers at a company become aware of a certain need, problem or opportunity. Maybe they realise that they will face new competition when a new technology is introduced. Here, at the top of the funnel, you need to catch a lot of fish – that is, target prospects – since unfortunately, you will lose most of them on their buying journeys. This means that we need content that appeals to a big audience that wants to keep up-to-date on their industry, relevant technologies and market trends. It’s a good idea to do online research on what is trending, what is searched for and asked about related to the pain points you’ve found.

Buying Phase 2: Explore Options

The middle phase, they decide to act on the need or problem and start to explore and evaluate the alternative solutions. Should we outsource or do it ourselves? Which vendors can offer this?

Figure 4: The 3-Phase Model of the buying process.

Buying Phase 3: Decision

In the third and final buying phase, at the narrow bottom of the sales funnel, the buyer evaluates the different options and suppliers and decides which one to trust. As opposed to the first stage, prospects are engaged and need product specific information that makes their evaluation work easier. They might also need to be reassured that they are proposing a safe vendor choice to their boss. Here is where we find pain points relieved and needs resolved by our products and solutions. Finally, now is when they might be ready to talk to a sales person.

In the buyer’s journey you are mapping, the buyer aims to fulfil needs that your company can fulfil. This is why your business goals should align with the buyer’s goals (qualifying as a ‘win-win’).

At this point in the five-step method, you should already have a number of needs, wants, problems and pain points for each role. Start by placing these into the first, second or third buying phase. Then take a step back and add what may be missing.

Do you want to engage your B2B audience and generate more leads? 

Learn how to go from ’relevant’ to ’need-to-know’ content in my ebook How to Add Business Value Throughout the Buyer’s Journey.

Download your free ebook here.

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