Mapping the Buyer's Journey: 3 Lessons Learned

Nicole Mertes
Posted by Nicole Mertes on June 29, 2017

Understanding and engaging a potential buyer along his or her journey that leads to a purchasing decision is at the core of any successful inbound marketing program. Being in sync with your buyers with helpful, relevant content for the buyers' awareness, consideration, and decision stages is now an expectation in today's world.

Over the years, we've helped build and execute many inbound marketing programs with the buyer's journey guiding our content efforts. Along the way, we've made mistakes and we've also discovered some really powerful ways to do this successfully. Check out these lessons learned to save you some time on your own journey!

Lesson #1: Focus on Problems and Opportunities

72% of buyers will turn to Google when they have a particular pain point. This is precisely where and when you want to be found, but are you creating content that focuses on these pain points?

"72% of buyers will turn to Google when they have a particular pain point."

Companies tend to overlook awareness level content, even though this is what helps grow your website traffic to attract more visitors and leads. Instead, it’s our nature to sway more toward consideration and decision level content such as blog articles that focus on products and services.

Will this product-specific content ever be searched for and found by a prospect if they don’t know you exist? Probably not. To get awareness level content that helps grow your website traffic by attracting more visitors and leads, focus on problems you can help your buyer solve or opportunities you can help your buyer pursue.

Let's take HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software company, for example. On HubSpot's Sales Blog, you'll find awareness content that addresses common pain points of their target persona (a salesperson) instead of product information about their CRM. You'll see some of the latest blog headlines below such as "21 Habits to Become a More Effective Salesperson."

HubSpot Sales Blog Image

When mapping out the buyer's journey, it’s important to not skim over ideas in the awareness stage if you want to get found!

Lesson #2: Workshops are Great, But...

When tasked with mapping out your buyer's journey, your first thought may be to get all your key players within the company in a room to brainstorm—a workshop of sorts. We do this all the time, inviting anyone customer-facing to help contribute: sales, customer service, project engineers, etc. This is a good start and I guarantee you'll walk away with a ton of great ideas if this is done well.

However, time and time again we've seen these workshops result in a ton of decision stage ideas and end up being very light on true awareness content (as mentioned above). Why? Think about the departments represented in this workshop (sales, customer service, project engineers, etc.). It should come as no surprise that salespeople will be the most vocal during this meeting. The problem with this is that 70% of the buyer's journey is complete before a buyer ever talks to a salesperson. Sales is typically only part of 30% of the journey!

They will be most familiar with the buyers' decision stage—the stage that they're most often involved in. So, while your decision-stage input will be abundant, you'll be light on awareness and consideration level input. To understand the buyer's journey during these stages, don't forget to go right to the source—the buyer. It's something so simple, yet, it's often overlooked. The best buyer's journey insight comes from the buyer!

"The best buyer's journey insight comes from the buyer!"

Lesson #3: Don't Just Talk, Do!

Lastly, don't just talk about your buyer's journey. Do something with it! All of your ideas and brainstorming can get overwhelming and start to veer off course if not well organized and if there's no process in place to integrate it into your content plans.

We've found it helpful to use a template to map the buyer's journey for each persona. This template can be a great reference for everyone when creating editorial and content plans and when assigning work to your content creators.

If you have a process and template in place, great! If not, you may find our buyer's journey template below helpful. 

New Call-to-action

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Inbound Sales

click here to take the state of industrial sales and marketing survey