How to Optimize Each Stage of the B2B Buyer Journey
In the highly competitive B2B market, every lead and conversion counts. And with a deep understanding of the B2B buyer journey, you can optimize your prospect’s experience and compel them to convert. So, where do you start?
Let’s look at the 4 stages of the B2B buyer journey and how you can optimize each stage.
The 4 Stages of the Buyer Journey
Awareness: In the first stage of the buyer journey, your prospect has identified a problem and is looking at viable options (like your product or service!) to solve this problem.
Interest. Once the buyer has found some potential solutions, they must research which option is best for their company and their use cases. This often includes engaging with content like blog posts, case studies, and webinars.
Consideration. Now the buyer has learned more about potential vendors and they’re ready to see the solutions in action and book some demos to see which option can best meet their needs.
Conversion. Finally, the buyer has weighed their options, secured buy-in from the necessary stakeholders, and moves forward with the sales process for their chosen solution.
How to Optimize the B2B Buyer Journey
Once you have a clear understanding of the 4 stages of the B2B buyer journey, you’re ready to begin optimizing it. Here’s how you can optimize the buyer journey at each of the 4 stages.
Awareness: To optimize the beginning of the buyer journey, focus on your top-of-funnel marketing activities to make prospective buyers aware of your brand. This means honing your SEO efforts to rank for popular keywords and optimizing your ads to speak to their specific needs and pain points.
Interest: At this point, your buyer has some idea of what they’re looking for and has now come across your brand. Optimizing your website to build interest in your product or service is key at this stage. Make sure your headline, call-to-action (CTA), and overall look and feel are attention-grabbing while also clearly conveying what you do and how you’re better than your competitors.
Consideration: Now that your prospect is interested in your product or service, you need to show them that you can save them time, save them money, or make them money (or all of the above!). Continue to optimize your website by personalizing the social proof on your site (e.g. case studies, testimonials) to show the prospect that businesses similar to their own have seen success with your brand. You can also personalize your headline and CTA to welcome back returning visitors and allow them to pick up where they left off.
Conversion: This final stage mainly comes down to your sales process, but there are ways your marketing team can help. For example, providing your sales team with bottom-of-funnel content can help to assuage any last-minute worries a sales opportunity might have. Continuing to tailor your website based on the buyer’s interests will also show that you’re dedicated to providing them with a great customer experience no matter where they are in the funnel.
Mapping the B2B Buyer Journey
Understanding the 4 stages of a typical B2B buyer journey and optimizing them is just the first step to driving more sales. However, it’s important to remember that a customer’s journey is not always a simple 4-step process—there are various nuances at each stage that are unique to your business. This is why it’s critical to map your buyer journey.
When you take the time to map what the buyer journey looks like for your own customers, you can better understand what they need at each stage and identify key pain points and obstacles in the journey. You can map the B2B buyer journey by following these steps:
Create customer personas. First, you should create personas for the different types of people that interact with your business by looking at your current customers and prospects. A persona profile should include a prospective buyer’s firmographic/demographic attributes (e.g. job title, industry, company size) as well as their goals (e.g. if they’re a marketer, perhaps it’s generating leads for sales). You’ll likely have multiple personas but be sure to focus your buyer journey on your target persona(s), as each persona’s journey might differ.
List your customer touchpoints. Once you have identified your target persona, you should then list all of the potential touchpoints they’ll have throughout their journey to becoming a customer. This will range from initial marketing touches (e.g. website, social media, email) to sales calls to onboarding and account management.
Look at your current available resources. After you’ve determined your key touchpoints throughout the customer journey, look at the resources (e.g. team members, technology) you have to make these touchpoints happen. Are there any key touchpoints missing, and are you optimizing the ones that already exist?
Track your closed/lost sales deals. Sales opportunities that do not convert into customers will likely give a reason for their decision, which can be incredibly helpful in optimizing the customer journey. Be sure to track these reasons for all closed/lost sales deals in your target persona to see if you can find any kind of pattern. If it’s not already, make the ‘loss reason’ a required field in your CRM so you can easily look back and report on this information later.
Once you’ve created your buyer journey map, test it out by taking the journey yourself. This is a powerful way to step into the prospect’s shoes, understand their interests, motivations, and pain points, and see what is and isn’t working in the journey. Use your learnings to iterate on your buyer journey map so you can continue to improve the prospect and customer experience.
Personalize Your Buyer Journey with Intellimize
While every buyer journey is unique, website personalization is a key tactic that can help your business optimize the buyer journey and ultimately convert more customers.
Intellimize can help you optimize your website for Continuous Conversion™ by delivering a highly personalized experience to each unique visitor. Request your demo now.