How to Guide Prospects along their Buyer’s Journey

If your website demands prospective customers sign up for a call or demo before you answer their key questions, you’re pushing buyers away.

Buyers don’t arrive at a website asking themselves, “Should I buy this product?” They arrive asking, “Does this solve one of my pressing problems?”

Too often, websites push prospects toward a call or demo when they should instead fit the customer’s psychology and journey. And the website pages and tools are what buyers share with the expanded buying team – it’s important to make it easy to share and collaborate along the buyer’s journey.  

Reorient your website and content

A company’s website is its most visible asset and a shockingly low amount of it is constructed to enable the buyer. The future of growth marketing is using the website to guide the buyer toward a desirable conclusion – and that includes the buyer determining they’re not a fit for your solution before you spend valuable sales resources chasing them. The end of a buyer’s journey is a decision – not merely a demo – so your site should meet the buyer where they are, then guide them along each step to accelerate decision-making. In fact, prospects “who engage with buyer enablement are three times (3x) more likely to make a high quality purchase” – Gartner.

Over 70% of the buying process is concluded before a customer ever talks to a person, and 43% of buyers would prefer never talking to a person at all. Rather than forcing them toward your sales team, help them identify if their symptoms match the problem you solve and then examine potential solutions – only after those two steps are complete will a customer be interested in buying. 

  1. Identify the Problem

The first step of a sale is consensus on the problem definition. If the customer doesn’t recognize their problem in your description, they’re not going to proceed. If a customer doesn’t believe that you understand their problem, they won’t believe you can solve it. Fortunately, almost all B2B customer problems fall into three buckets:

  • How do I retain and expand my current customers?
  • How do I acquire new customers?
  • How do I grow more efficiently?

For a customer to purchase your solution, they must understand how you solve a pressing problem in one of those three areas that they feel is urgent. This is an emotional reaction and your experience must speak to their emotional needs. Your website should very clearly allow them to discover if their challenges map to the problem you solve and begin assessing if you solve it dramatically better than their next best viable alternative. Tools and interactions to help include:

  • Diagnostics – symptoms and fit to problem
  • Calculators – simple and use their numbers.
  • Simulators – what is life like after the solution is in place
  1. Examine Solutions

Once a buyer understands their problem, they can start identifying potential solutions. For a buyer, any software solution will have two parts: 

  • “What does it do?” (Features and traits) 
  • “How would it fit my business?” (Implementation requirements, including cost and resources)
  • “Who else is a stakeholder for this solution?” (security, IT, procurement, finance plus other business units)

For a purchase of any meaningful size, customers will always compare options. These comparisons may even prompt them to return to the problem definition. 

Poor marketing strategies pretend that competitors don’t exist. High-quality marketing strategies help the customer understand the real trade-offs. To help the buyer on this journey, organize the information that they need to know, both about your product offering and competitors. Mailchimp, for instance, presents an entire webpage on the different options in their industry. If you’re seeking a marketing solution, wouldn’t you rather read all of those than try to make the lists for yourself? 

Remember that the examination of solutions will likely involve other people – people who need to align on the problem and weigh in on the viability of your solution.  You can help your buyer with these conversations as well by providing conversation guides. Tools and interactions:

  • Conversation guides for common questions by role – What your Security Team needs?  What your CFO wants to know? If you prefer, write a blog article for each key audience that your buyer (or your sales team) can easily share – like Clari did for CFOs.
  • Video references – short clips about why a customer bought and their time to value.  Snowflake even offers an opportunity to talk with a Snowflake customer live using their Office Hours.
  • Pricing and offering – how can you get started with the solution and what will it cost.  Segment makes this easy to visualize

More Sales & Fewer Dead Ends 

A well-designed site satisfies well-fitting prospects while filtering out unqualified leads. While more prospects will bounce up front, either because they disagree with your problem definition or elect against your solution, this bouncing is actually a net benefit to your company: 

  • For unqualified leads, a call or demo simply costs your sales team time and resources that could have been spent on better leads
  • Thanks to your helpfulness, qualified leads will be more ready to buy when they ultimately speak with your sales team
  • You can learn quickly what is the persona that does resonate with your value proposition and channel your sales and marketing toward these more amenable buyers

Give the buyer control over how they interact with you. Make it easy to interact on the website through a conversational marketing bot. Provide DM addresses for Twitter and LinkedIn so people can message you. Provide them with a phone number to call – sometimes that’s what they prefer.  And let them schedule when they want to meet with you using an automatic scheduling option – with a phone number if they’d prefer to talk to someone. 

If you’re curious to understand your buyer’s journey more specifically, call current prospects, current customers, and potential customers who turned you down. Ask them “What problem were you trying to solve?”, “Why do you have to solve it now?” and “How did you make your decision?” You’ll find that most of them followed this precise process, and many who bounced should really have bounced earlier. 

Buyer Enablement is Empathetic, Precision Marketing

Customers are drowning in high quality information: they’re not looking for more;  they’re looking for help making sense of it. By guiding them through the process digitally, and enabling your sales team to do so as well, you can help them arrive at a decision with confidence. Plus buyers can reach a high confidence decision more quickly when guided through the process. Think of it like meeting a new person: would you rather learn more about a person who just spewed everything about themselves or someone who discussed your interests and helped you achieve your goals? 

Starting a relationship with a customer is no different. Start by understanding their problems, then help them assess solutions. After all, if you’re the one who walks them through the process, aren’t they more likely to ultimately select you?

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