It doesn’t matter what you do to the buyer, what matters is where they get to, as a result of what you do. The buyer’s journey is a simple concept to help us to shape tactics that progress buyers, and that’s what I want to share with you.
When I coined the phrase ‘buyer’s journey’ in 2003, in the Leakey Funnel, I didn’t think for a moment that I was inventing anything, and I wasn’t. The buyer’s journey existed as a concept, however not yet as a phrase. I coined the phrase to express the idea that the buyer moves through certain stages, from being a non-customer to being a customer. If that is the case, then the logical conclusion should be to try to move the buyer from one stage to the next. It is vital that your tactics are shaped and tailored to help the buyer move through the stages of their journey, and this, is what a campaign is all about.
Now, each of our tactics have a very narrow purpose. That is, for example, this tactic shapes us as a credible player in this space. This tactic further helps us garner interest in the conversation, which then informs and educates others that they have a gap worth fixing. We will then use this tactic to help them work out ways to fix this gap, which will take place when we present our offer. This tactic will be used to gain their preference and also to help them make a decision. I have just outlined and elaborated on each of the stages in the buyer’s journey. So far, we have developed hundreds of planning exercises for both large and small companies in 20 countries. The results have been, that whenever we give the license and opportunity to the customer to change the stage names to anything they want, they always end up with the original stage names. So, we just stopped trying.
The transition from gap to need turns out to be the most important one. Therefore, the most important stage is where I shape the buyer’s concept of what they need. Gap acknowledged is where I get to wield some influence over what they believe the problem is, as well as informing them of possible solutions and answers to resolving the problem.
If I can do a great job of arguing the case there, then my product or service will sell itself. In a nutshell, that is the buyer’s journey. The outcome of this is that we need to reshape the CRM, not only to the sales stages, but also to the buyer’s journey stages. However, this is not what we typically do. For this reason, I recommend you change your sales stages so that they match your buyer’s journey. I have got an article, which I will link to the show notes, to help you with that. We will then need to choose the tactics to help you to move the buyer through each of those stages. We are not going to run an event, as an example of a tactic to position. We would run the event to trouble them. The positioning would occur via the invitation. I have got an invitation piece that will position us and I have an event that will get the buyers troubled about a problem that I can then solve.
If everything I have just outlined holds true, then it is clear that you are going to need a framework for describing your Sales and Marketing plan, while staying mindful of the buyer’s journey. That’s exactly what Funnel Plan is. You’re going to need to work out what the journey is, and how many buyers need to move through each stage so that you can chose the right tactics. Then you’re going to need to choose tactics and articulate them for each stage in the buyer’s journey, and that’s why we build a funnel plan. If you already have one, use your funnel plan to shape the right tactics for each stage and to make sure your organization buys into that progression of tactics. If you don’t have one, get yourself a free funnel plan. Try it out. If you like it you may want some of the more powerful depth in the paid version, but if you don’t you can use the free version forever.