The Customer Journey - The "5 Stages of Awareness"Aug 2022
The Customer Journey - The B2B Sales Funnel
We no longer talk about your sales cycle, we talk about your buyer's journey.
If you are still thinking 'sales cycle' when your competitors are thinking about the buyer's journey, you are engaging in outdated thinking and you run a very real risk of being out-manoeuvred.
This journey is categorised into six phases:
- Problem aware
- Solution aware
- Product aware
- Fully aware
let's go through them...
In B2B sales, every new customer goes on this journey. At the top of this journey, a customer doesn’t even know they have a problem.
Our job is to undermine and dislodge the status quo – to make the pain of the same bigger than the pain of change – and that can be a significant undertaking.
It requires a skillful approach. This is marketing artistry. Custom-built, counter-intuitive, thought-provoking, and awesome content is required to engage at this level.
Many businesses engage with potential customers at the next level down – when the customer knows they have a problem.
Educational, authentic, helpful tools that explore the problem, its cause, its likely impact, and consequences help engage a prospect at this stage. Help the customer make the right decision for the right reasons.
If you'd like to read more about providing potential customers with valuable, educational, and helpful content, we have a blog on it!
By the time a customer is looking for a solution, they are beginning to research heavily (usually online). And if you don’t show up on the digital radar (or come recommended by a trusted third party), you won’t even get to play.
At this stage, our goal is to connect and engage in personal conversations to deeply understand what is driving their decision and make highly relevant and personalised content available.
If your prospects are solution aware, your job as a content creator is to think about how your products and services can help resolve these challenges, and create content targeted towards these people.
It is now possible that the first call you have from a customer is when they have already shortlisted your company based on the content they have digested and they want to discuss pricing or terms.
People are becoming more reliant on internet searches and their own research rather than speaking to a salesperson, so providing a plethora of information online for prospects to access themselves can place your business at the forefront of your sector.
Demonstrations, tasters, trials, tests, testimonials, and tools help a buyer mitigate risks and build confidence in your businesses solution at this stage in the process.
As the potential customer approaches decision-making time, it’s our job to have fully understood the people, their agendas, their choices, and their decision-making process. They should have received a highly personalised proposal focused on resolving their problem and moving them forward.
Ideally, you will have built champions within the business with enough influence and credibility to get you over the line. Now you need to make sure they have the tools they need to advocate powerfully on your behalf.
At this stage, your champions should be tooled up for the fight!
Have you worked with them to understand the competing agendas and views? Have you provided the educational material, case studies, and testimonials they need to win the day? Are we keeping everybody focused on the pain, its implications, and potential consequences – the cost and pain of doing the same? Do we have a clear vision for a better future and why the pain of change is less than the pain of the same?
It is your job now to discuss with the prospect all this and more, informing them that your solution is the pain-free version of their current situation.
The Buyers Journey
The six phases of the buyers journey are important to understand in order to create a successful marketing strategy. If you can identify where your potential customers are in their journey and provide them with the relevant information, you can guide them through the process until they become a customer.
If you're curious about using the Inbound Marketing Methodology/Content Marketing to intrigue customers during each phase of the buyers journey, read our blog!
We have information on the inbound marketing methodology, How to get the right traffic to your website, and Providing your customers with valuable content.
Download our Marketing Automation whitepaper below to read more about how Marketing Automation can help you create personalised content for each stage of the buyers' journey and drive more sales.
Thank-you for reading!
Or, for a more in-depth analysis of the sales funnel and process, it is featured in our