Learn what the buyer's journey is and how to optimize your sales process at every stage from awareness to advocacy.
Have you ever wondered how customers find your products and what influences their decision to purchase from you? The process they go through is called the buyer's journey. Understanding it can answer your questions and help you enhance your sales process.
The buyer's journey is the series of steps a customer takes when thinking about, evaluating, and making a purchase. It's not a straightforward path. Instead, it's a dynamic and complex interaction between the customer and the business.
Mapping out this entire process step-by-step will allow you to see where you are satisfying or failing customer needs so you can make improvements. Read on to learn more about mapping buyer journeys to grow your business.
The buyer's journey refers to the end-to-end process a potential customer goes through when considering, evaluating, and making a purchase.
It usually starts when a customer becomes aware they need your product through activities like searching online or hearing about you from friends.
Next, they consider and evaluate different options based on what they read on your website or hear from sales reps. Finally, the customer decides to complete the purchase. After that, their journey continues as they use your product and potentially become loyal advocates.
A closer look at the buyer's journey, we can identify five specific stages each customer goes through.
Every customer goes through a journey when purchasing, which can change depending on their unique experiences. In past blogs, we've explored the classic and hybrid sales funnels, which present different perspectives on the buyer's journey.
The stages below simplify this journey into five basic phases:
This initial phase focuses on the buyer realizing they have a problem or need and becoming aware that your solution exists to address that need.
It may involve the buyer actively researching solutions or more passively becoming exposed to brands through advertising or word-of-mouth.
Initially, they don't know much specifics and need more information on what you offer and what results it can deliver.
Now, the buyer has identified possible solutions and available alternatives. They start developing an interest in understanding high-level features, benefits, and costs without fully committing to a brand.
At this point, the buyer has narrowed down their options and actively considered the pros, cons, and fit of your products vs. other vendors.
Here, they dive deeper into specifics around pricing, features, quality comparisons, and reviews. They may even consult with colleagues, family, or friends.
If their needs align with your value proposition, they decide to make a purchase, completing the first half of the journey.
After purchasing, the focus shifts to the customer's experience using your product. Their experience affects their satisfaction and likelihood of becoming repeat buyers or loyal advocates for your brand.
Tracking issues here gives insights into improvements you need to encourage repeat business and loyalty. Strong support and onboarding also increase retention.
If your solution works, you get delighted customers. They can become some of your best marketers by telling friends and colleagues how much they love your product.
For example, a customer who had a fantastic experience with your service might rave about your company on social media or to their family. This type of positive word-of-mouth advertising can convince new customers since it comes from a trusted source, not you directly.
Customer advocates might also leave online reviews, testimonials, ratings, and other user-generated content that showcase how great your product is. Prospects find these reviews very persuasive when determining the best companies to buy from.
Figuring out each step your customers take in their journey, the challenges and difficulties they face, and the factors influencing their decision-making process helps you connect with them on a more personal level.
Through this empathy, you can improve your sales process so more potential customers end up paying for your solution. Here's how:
Customers have different questions and concerns depending on where they are in their buying process.
For example, someone who just heard about your company from a friend might want to know what problems your product solves. On the other hand, someone ready to purchase needs specifics like instructions, pricing, and guarantees.
Mapping the journey lets you give customers what they need to know.
There may be points in the process where customers get frustrated or confused and give up. For instance, a too-complicated website checkout. Mapping exposes these sticking points so you can fix them to smooth the way for customers to buy.
You can use journey mapping data to see how many potential buyers come in but fail to become actual customers. Then, identify weak spots in your sales funnel to improve.
For example, mapping the journey can show you need to provide more content to nurture customers from "interested" to "ready to buy." When you change your strategy based on this info, more customers who start the journey may complete purchases.
Before you can map out your customer's journey, you need to have a detailed picture of who your buyers are. You can start by creating buyer personas that capture the key characteristics, preferences, and behaviors of your target audience.
Then, put yourself in your potential buyer's shoes as you think about how to improve the customer experience at each stage. Consider these factors:
First, think about the steps your potential buyer takes at each stage. Here are some examples of what those activities might be:
Now, think about the various channels and content the buyer uses to interact with your brand.
Here are some possible touchpoints:
Next, consider the questions, concerns, priorities and information needs going through the buyer's mind. What is the buyer thinking at each stage?
Some questions they may ask include:
This time, explore the underlying emotions, problems they want to solve, or aspirations driving buyer behavior. What feelings does the buyer have at each stage?
Possible answers include:
Consider, as well, what challenges the buyer might experience at each stage. Here are some examples:
Finally, take what you’ve learned about what customers are thinking, how they feel, and what frustrates them at each stage.
Armed with insights, you can then make improvements to your marketing, website, product, pricing, content, and everything else to create an amazing experience.
It's about identifying any hurdles or speed bumps slowing customers down on their journey with you and smoothing out the path. Meet their needs and answer their questions at each stage, so more interested shoppers will become happy customers.
The goal isn't just more sales – it's to understand customers deeply so you can provide more value. That way, they'll eagerly promote you to their networks.
The buyer's journey reveals the evolving mindset, questions, and needs buyers have as they progress from initial awareness to loyal brand advocates. Using these insights, you can influence how your prospects become delighted customers.
While buyer journey mapping takes extra effort, the long-term payoff includes higher conversion rates and more genuine referrals.
Here's the best part — once your team understands each customer step deeply, it changes how decisions get made across your company to focus on customer needs first.
This transforms your organization into a customer-centric machine that fuels itself with enthusiastic advocates!
Hopefully, this article has convinced you that taking the time to trace your buyer's path can provide invaluable conversions and growth.
If you're ready to map your unique customer journey but could use more guidance on understanding customer behaviors and tailoring your approach to enhance their experience, explore the following blogs: