The majority of marketers have taken a visual approach to describing the way a buyer interacts with a brand and goes from being an unidentified prospect to a converted customer. The two most common visuals of the customer journey are the funnel and the circle.
The funnel maps prospects moving from the wide awareness phase to the narrow customer phase, whereas the circle visual maps an ongoing series of customer touch points.
While both of these models are helpful when it comes to picturing the buyer’s journey, neither fully considers the way our customers are now engaging with us across multiple channels and devices before purchasing our product or service. In the Age of Intelligent Marketing, how do we bring a model based on customer experience into the B2B sales cycle?
Understanding the Customer Experience
Let’s start by understanding the missing data points within the funnel and the circle.
When it comes to the traditional B2B sales and marketing funnel, social experiences like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, are blurring the lines between the discovery and purchase phases. Forbes takes that one step further and states that 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before the customer even engages with a sales rep. Prospects are building awareness and converting simultaneously.
The circle visual of the customer journey is also unable to fully capture current customer behaviors. The Harvard Business Review writes, “The Customer Decision Journey might be circular, but if the focus is still on the transaction, it is just a funnel eating its own tail.”
New styles of media have shifted the focus from transaction to customer experience. Now, prospects consume content with multiple opportunities to purchase or complete a transaction. These potential transactions are embedded within a prospect’s experience.
The way prospects make decisions has changed, and because of this, our understanding of how to market needs to change, too. Marketers cannot just persuade customers to move through phases to purchase. Instead, we have to enable and empower prospects to make decisions by delivering a unified experience.
Catering to Specific Behaviors through a Lead Nurture Series
To empower your prospects to convert, marketers need to personalize a customer journey built around specific behaviors.
One way to ensure that your marketing strategy is operating within the customer experience is by segmenting and understanding the last touch point a customer has with your brand before they become a known lead in your database. From there, marketers can create specific nurture campaigns around this first action. For example, if your lead converted on a google ad, quizzes, videos, and introductory blog posts are pieces of content you can share to help the customer discover more about your product.
On the other hand, if a lead signs up for a free trial or a demo, you know that they have some knowledge on your product and are ready for a test drive. Put them in a more advanced nurture series, featuring case studies, hands-on training webinars, and product events that would be applicable to the customer’s needs.
Similarly, do you have prospects or accounts you want to target? A vertical that you’re looking to get into? Create and promote content that is personalized and speaks to those key stakeholders and influencers. Retargeting, sponsored posts on social media, and dynamic website content will allow you to engage these audiences with the right message at the right time in their buyer journey.
Continue the Customer Relationship Post-Purchase
Lead nurturing does not end with a purchase. Continue to reach out to your successful customers in order to strengthen and develop the relationship. A thank you email and a welcome journey go a long way! You can also periodically provide more educational content to help them grow their engagement with your brand, along with CSAT and NPS surveys to understand customer sentiment.
If leads or customers go cold, re-engagement campaigns are another way to cater to customer behavior. Why did the customer go cold? Did they find another solution to their problem? Just get busy? Budget? Your re-engagement campaign can address the myriad of reasons that cause customers to ice you out. Share customer stories, update them on new releases, and make sure you are staying top of mind with relevant offers.
Ready to dive in? Learn how to get started with your lead nurturing strategy.