A few months ago, we published an article on “Understanding the Buyer’s Journey”— one of several we’ve written on the topic. This article focused, more specifically, on the beginning stages of building awareness with your buyer, and examined what the buyer was experiencing, the types of content they seek, and how you as a marketer can help make this stage a positive experience for them.
But the buyer’s journey doesn’t end with the awareness stage (obviously), and neither does the marketer’s responsibilities towards them. Let’s take a look at the next stage of the buyer’s journey—consideration—and the role that a marketer plays in moving the buyer through it.
The (Second) Research Phase
Buyer’s Situation: Remember, your buyer has already conducted some initial research at this point; they’re aware that they have a pain point and have identified your product as a potential solution. But once buyers have narrowed their options down to just a few vendors, they’ll return to the research stage again. In fact, according to Pardot’s State of Demand Generation report, 70% of buyers return to Google at least 2-3 times during the course of their research, diving even deeper into each company’s specific offerings to see how they can address their particular pain points.
70% of buyers return to Google at least 2-3 times during the course of their research. (Pardot)
How you can help: As your buyers continue their research, use the lead scoring and grading feature of your marketing automation tool to further adjust their score and keep track of their growing interest. Having a thorough record of the research your buyer has conducted will be extremely helpful in the next phase of the Consideration stage (you’ll see why). Just make sure that your customizable scoring and grading model is optimized, and that activities are properly weighted to help you identify the hottest leads.
The Comparison Phase
Buyer’s Situation: At some point in their research, buyers will begin doing in-depth comparisons of each vendor that they’re considering. This is the stage where they’ll start reaching out to sales reps for further inquiries or personalized product demos, so that they can really drill down into the features that matter to their teams.
How you can help: Okay, this one is mostly up to your sales team, but you can help by ensuring that they have the information that they need. As buyers begin to self-identify, sales reps can use the information that has been collected by their marketing automation tool, like prospect activities and social profile information, to tailor their conversations to each individual buyer. The more that reps understand specifically what a buyer is looking for, the more thoroughly they can speak to buyer’s needs, and the greater the edge you’ll have on your competitors.
The Justification Phase
Buyer’s Situation: Before getting too close to decision time, most buyers will have to secure buy-in from upper management. Any purchase that involves a monetary investment is going to require sign-off by C-level execs, so your buyers are going to begin focusing on content that contains information about pricing, ROI, and the bottom line to justify their expenditure.
How you can help: When creating content for this stage, remember to speak the language of the C-suite. Drop the marketing-friendly phrases (like “creative new approach” and “cutting-edge technology”) and focus on the big picture (think “increase revenue” and “return on investment”). Make sure you have stats compiled, as well as case studies that relate to your buyer’s situation — nothing will be more impressive to your executive buyers than concrete proof of success.
Want to see a more comprehensive and visual layout of the buyer’s journey — and get a sneak peek at the next stage? Check out our interactive infographic, Understanding the Buyer’s Journey, for more information.