The 3 stages of the Buyer’s Journey are Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. By better understanding these three stages, you can begin to implement the inbound methodology that is quickly replacing the legacy version of advertising and sales. In case after case, we’ve found that you get a higher B2B Digital Marketing ROI when implementing the inbound sales concepts we talk about versus a traditional type of sales pitch or advertisement.
The positive effects of inbound sales methodology can be realized by identifying the ways in which your salesperson could add value beyond that which the buyer can find alone by just searching online.
B2B Inbound Sales Process and the Buyer’s Journey
When you identify customers at the awareness stage of the Buyer’s Journey, either the buyer is facing a challenge that needs a solution, or they are becoming aware of an opportunity. At the awareness stage, the inbound sales team must be able to understand those challenges and opportunities that the consumer must face, uncover where the buyer will seek information, and rectify misconceptions about those specific challenges for the buyer entering the Awareness Stage.
DON’T Cold Call and Hope for the Best
Traditional selling techniques try to connect with leads regardless of whether or not they are active in their buying journey. Skipping the identification step, Legacy Salespeople will gather names and contact information from networks or blind internet searches (or - eek!- purchase lists) and just get to calling and emailing.
Why It Doesn’t Work:
- No list can be exclusive. Prospects have already been contacted, and their inbox is already full of messages they didn’t ask for.
- Cold calling simply doesn’t work anymore. Buyers have too many tools at their disposal to separate the wheat from the chaff.
- Simply said, it’s a waste of financial and human resources, resulting in a high cost of customer acquisition.
DO Identify and Then Connect
The B2B inbound marketing process starts with identifying the buyers in the Awareness stage. After defining an Ideal Buyer Persona and sorting potential leads against this model, the next step is to enrich leads with contextual information according to their needs so that the connection develops naturally.
Why It Works:
- You’re responding to the buyer’s specific needs and wants
- Your content is customized to the buyer’s experience, not the needs of the sales person
- It results in more optimized sales tactics, meaning you save money because you yield a higher return on your investment in sales expenses (MROI)
A client enters the Consideration stage once they have identified and named their problem or issue. During this stage, a client is considering the different options and ways in which to accomplish their goal.
DON'T Just Product Push
Consumers can sense advertising. They can smell it a mile away. You don’t want your content to reek of commercialism and sales copy, you want it to be packed with solutions and understanding. Traditional marketing techniques don’t seek to connect with consumers and help them explore their solutions. When you're out there just pushing your product/service, you’re not out there supporting buyers through the process of buying, rather, you’re solely focused on selling, selling, selling. Buyers don’t need that.
Why It Doesn’t Work:
- Sales-driven rather than customer-driven
- Impersonal and can be seen as pushy
- Consumers know when you are selling to them
DO Solve a Problem
Identifying your Buyer Personas is essential to figuring out how to connect with your potential customers. Once you identify your target audience and map out your ideal Buyer’s Journey, connecting becomes more possible and conversions are more likely to happen.
When you set out to connect with your potential customers through better understanding and relating to their problem, they are more likely to open up to you
Why It Works:
- Helping the client explore their options for solutions shifts the focus to them rather than you
- Clients value companies they can trust to help them succeed
In the decision stage, your qualified leads are ready to commit to a solution and make a transaction. At this stage it is important not to scare them away by launching fully into presentation mode. Offering honest and sincere advice and being transparent about your product and/or services is the best route towards successful conversion.
DON’T Just Copy/Paste
Your competitors are going to eat you alive if you just copy and paste the same presentation for every kind of consumer. This old way of doing things repels customers who have done their research and know what they are looking for. Consumers don’t feel appreciated or assume they’ll be in good hands if the sales approach isn’t based on focusing on the buyer’s particular needs for their particular circumstance.
Why It Doesn’t Work:
- It delivers the exact same message to everyone, reaching out specifically and directly with no one.
- Nothing about it shows that you will listen. Everything is about what you’re offering instead of what the buyer needs.
- The legacy style of sales is like yelling through a microphone.
DO Personalize Content in Every Way
Paying attention to individual sales efforts so that your communication with the buyer is solutions-based rather than simply sales-based is the best way to keep your sales department moving forward. Having targeted content means you’ve developed customized content that communicates with the buyer clearly and is relevant to their needs.
As the inbound sales methodology proliferates among sales departments across the globe, you are going to have to adapt to a changing marketplace by adopting strategies like delivering custom developed sales copy and customizing the timing and methods you use for buyer outreach.
Why It Works:
- Connecting directly with your customers based on their needs with well-timed and highly targeted outreach draws in more qualified leads to convert into customers.
- Inbound sales is like having a magnet that attracts your ideal customers by supporting them through their buyer’s journey.
Sales + Marketing FTW!
The world is full of customers enough to let them find out about you on their own journey. Rather than imposing your want of business on everyone at once, you can leverage the power of understanding your ideal customer and their place in the Buyer’s Journey so that your sales efforts are hyper-targeted and more effective.
When you answer the questions that Awareness Stage buyers are asking, you become the de-facto solution they might be looking for. They should land on your content because they’re reaching out for it. By better understanding the kind of help consumers are searching for and how they’re looking for it, you can position yourself in front of your ideal buyer more effectively.
Support your prospects on their journey through the Buyer’s Journey as you identify, connect with, explore with, and advise them.
Do you feel you're investing too much money and efforts into closing leads? That may be because you skip the qualifying process.