What is a Buyer’s Journey?
January 2, 2019
Sales Best Practices

And How Is It Different From the Sales Funnel?

Simply put, the buyer’s journey is the process that consumers use as they research and select the products and services that they purchase. The sales funnel, on the other hand, is a tool that allows companies to visualize how many prospects they have, where in the sales cycle the prospects are, and the conversion rate for each stage of the funnel.

By understanding your buyers’ journeys to purchase, you can personalize your sales process to address your buyer’s needs.

The buyer’s journey typically features four phases:

1) Awareness:

The buyer realizes they have a problem or a need. However, the buyer is unlikely to be aware of your company.

Sales and Marketing activity: Create target customer profiles to define the target audience. Research leads that match your profile and compile a list. Establish value propositions and relevant messages for them. Begin an email campaign to create awareness of your product, service, or company, so that your prospects understand what you do, and how you can help them.

2) Research

The buyer defines their problem or need and explores options to address it. 72% of buyers will use Google to search for educational material, customer reviews, and testimonials.

Sales and Marketing activity: Nurture your prospects via email and track responses to gauge the prospect’s level of interest. By providing relevant messages that resonate with prospects, you can increase their levels of engagement. According to DemandGen Report, by nurturing leads, you can increase sales opportunities by 20%.

3) Consideration

The buyer evaluates and narrows down the options that address their problem or desire. Buyers perform more in-depth comparisons of each vendor under consideration. They may reach out for specific answers or personalized product demos so they can assess how well the offerings meet their needs.

Sales and Marketing activity: As prospects demonstrate engagement with your email campaign, your outbound sales team should contact the prospect directly to set up an appointment so that an account manager can progress or close a deal.

4) Decision

The buyer chooses the solution that best meets their problem.

Sales and Marketing activity: Keep in touch with your prospect to understand their thoughts and feelings about your offering. With research-based target customer profiles and relevant messages, you’ve increased your chances of a sale.

Myths About the Buyer’s Journey

According to SiriusDecisions, 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. Before you draw any conclusions from this stat, let’s review what SiriusDecisions thinks:

Myth: Sales doesn’t get involved until more than halfway through the buying cycle.

While buyers may research online, sales is often still involved at all stages of the buyer’s journey, including the early and late stages. With the right messages and content, sellers can engage early with customers and prospects to advance them through the sales funnel.

Myth: It’s best to let buyers find you when they’re ready.

Just because buyers look for information online doesn’t mean you have to wait for them to come to you. To generate leads, research data on your prospects, for example, account profiling, propensity-to-buy modeling, segmentation, and targeting. Also look into contact and account search behavior patterns and social activity to discover pain points or areas of interest.

Applying the Buyer’s Journey to Outbound Marketing

The best time to influence your prospective buyers is during the research phase when they’re evaluating their options. By applying the buyer’s journey model to outbound marketing, you can create email campaigns that create awareness of your value proposition. By nurturing your leads with relevant messages, you build trust and make your leads more receptive to your offering. When your prospects reveal their interest by engaging with your emails, the leads are ready for sales qualification.

Kevin Warner
Co-Founder & CEO