Someone is in the market for a new product or service. This begins the buyer’s journey into acquiring that service or product. Understanding the buyer’s journey and its stages is key for every business and organization.
This blog will break down the buyer’s journey into three main stages. The first is becoming aware, second is considering and evaluating, and then finally deciding on whether or not to purchase the new product or service. Nearly 70 percent of B2B organizations have not defined the stages of their buyer’s journey resulting in loss revenue, according to the website act-on.com.
Stage 1: Awareness
This stage is referred to as the Top-of-the-Funnel. It’s when the buyers realizes they have a problem and begin searching out content in order to make an informed decision. There are various types of content that buyers use in order to educate themselves on the different options available. Here are a few examples:
- Educational blog
Other types of content include: checklists; guides; infographics; industry reports; slide-shares; and explainer videos. This is also the time when important questions should be asked by companies in order to fully understand this stage.
- How do buyers describe their goals or challenges?
- How do buyers educate themselves on these goals or challenges?
- What are the consequences of buyer inaction?
Once this is completed the buyer is ready to enter the next stage in the journey.
Stage 2: Consideration
This stage is referred to as the Middle-of-the-Funnel. This is when finding solutions for the problem happens. It’s also a time when providers, partners, or vendors are identified. Companies and organizations should ask key questions in order to get an understanding of the buyer in this stage.
- What categories of solutions do buyers investigate?
- How do buyers education themselves on the various categories?
- How do buyers perceive the pros and cons of each category?
Once the buyer gets through the consideration stage it’s time to enter the third and final stage in the buyer’s journey.
Stage 3: Decision
This is the last and final stage also referred to as the Bottom-of-the-Funnel. This is when buyers decide on a solution strategy, method, or approach to help them solve the problem identified back in stage one. Compiling a long list of all available vendors and products takes place here.
- A decision is expected
- Enough unique, expert and trust building content has been reviewed
- The buyer is confident the correct choice will be made
Example of the Buyer’s Journey
Purchasing a furnace is definitely not an impulse buy. This is a sizable purchase and one where the buyer’s journey is applicable and will help the consumer make a wise investment.
During the awareness stage in this example, the buyer becomes aware they need to buy a new furnace instead of repairing the old one. They begin to research brands and models and make sure they are pursuing the brands that fit their budget and need.
Next buyers will consider all their options. This includes researching the best furnaces, furnace efficiencies, gas and oil furnaces, boilers and heat pumps, furnace ratings, do they need a programable thermostat, and which furnaces have the best warranty. In this stage the choices are being narrowed down.
Finally, a decision is made on which furnace to purchase. It takes into account all the information gathered in the previous stages and the solves the problem outlined in the awareness stage.
Understanding the buyer’s journey can help a company develop a strong marketing plan. Because the buyer’s journey begins as soon as the consumer realizes they have a need for something, a good marketing plan will begin nurturing the lead as early as they can.
Organizations need to remember the buyer’s journey is the process a consumer goes through leading up to a purchase. During the process consumers become aware of a problem, consider their options, and make a decision. Understanding what happens during each stage is critical to win over potential customers.