Is Your Marketing and Sales Team Following the Buyer’s Journey Together?
To be a unified team driving your revenue engine, Sales and Marketing need to identify and define their respective roles along the buyer’s journey*. This aligns the organization to the customer’s buying (and shopping) process rather than to your internal sales processes – for which the customer cares very little.
What should be done first to align your revenue producing teams to the customer?
At a minimum these three steps should be accomplished for each product line.
Identify the observable buyer behaviors and decisions that define each stage. It is helpful to start with the decision to buy and reconstruct all the preceding steps taken by the customer. The biggest mistake a company makes is to overlook all the stages a customer takes before they engage with your sales people. It’s not uncommon to have 8-12 stages in a journey. Those stages then become the stages of your demand generation funnel.
Measure (or at least estimate) the average amount of time that buyers spend in each stage of their journey. This metric of time, sometimes referred to as “lag”, enables one to identify when a buyer has stalled. “A slow buyer is a no buyer.” With this knowledge Sales and Marketing can direct special tactics at the stalled buyers. Knowing the sum total of lag time gives the organization a much more accurate view of how long the buying process really is.
What is the conversion ratio for each stage? In other words, what percent of buyers progress from each stage; what percent leak or fail to progress within the average lag time; and what percent evaporate – leave the buying process altogether? The progression rates are important to know or estimate for every stage so that the necessary number of names and leads can be calculated.
An understanding of the buyer’s journey adds critical clarity to the jobs of developing accurate personas and creating the right content and messaging. Your communications become more customer and solution-focused.
More importantly, an understanding of the stages in the buyer’s journey gives Sales and Marketing a common world view on which to base lead scoring and agreement on the all-important point at which a lead is to be handed off to Sales.
*The term, “buyer’s journey”, is widely used today. The phrase was coined in 2003 by Hugh Macfarlane while writing his book, The Leaky Funnel.
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