For the marketing leader struggling to produce leads, mapping the buyer’s journey is priority #1.  A Buyer Process Map will focus your marketing efforts for maximum demand generation.  In this post, I will walk you through the mechanics of a buyer’s journey.  Once complete, you can produce content that resonates with your customers.  Your campaigns will pull buyers along their journey to purchase.


(Download this Buyer Process Mapping Template here to follow along.)


To understand the Buyer’s Journey, you need to map your customer’s buying process.   A Buying Process Map has multiple phases.  In each phase, your customer is doing something that tells you where they are in their buyer’s journey.  These are called Key Buyer Actions.  Each phase also has an exit criterion.  Exit Criteria is something the buyer does that signals they’ve moved to the next stage.  The image below is an example of a generic Buying Process Map.  If you’re just starting out, use it as a template.


Buyer Process Map


Developing a Buyer Process Map has four (4) steps:


  1. Validating the Buying Phases
  2. Defining Key Buyer Actions
  3. Identifying Questions Buyer’s Asks in each Stage
  4. Recognizing the Exit Criteria



The first step to building a Buyer Process Map is establishing the Buyer Phases.  Each phase represents a major milestone in your customer’s journey to purchase.  The above image lists the eight (8) classic phases in a buyer’s journey.  Begin with these and modify as you refine the process.



Within each phase of the Buying Process, your customers engage in series of activities.  Defining these buyer actions is critical to understanding your buyer’s journey.  What is your buyer doing in each phase?  What is happening in each phase?  A key to content marketing is delivering the right message at the right time.  Knowing what your customer is doing in each phase allows you to tailor your message. 


Start with the Key Buyer Actions from the sample above.  Assemble your team and ask yourself if your buyers are doing these activities.  It’s a simple yes or no answer.  If no, eliminate it.  If yes, move on to the next step below.  You may also find your buyers engage in other key actions.  Make sure you capture these as well.



Along the buyer’s journey, your customers are asking themselves questions.  How they answer them has an enormous impact on whether they buy or not.  Based on your research, list the questions your customer is asking him/herself.  The questions will differ from one key buyer action to another.  See illustration below.


Buying Process Map Key Buyer Actions resized 600


The importance of the buyer questions cannot be overstated.  If you capture them correctly, you have deep insight into your customer’s purchasing psychology.  Armed with this knowledge you can influence their path to purchase.  Your content & messaging will be directly aligned with their needs and objectives.



The final step in building your buyer process map is recognizing the exit criteria for each phase. Exit Criteria is something your buyer does that signals they’ve moved from one stage to another.  For example, a buyer moves from “Not in Market” to “Stimulated” after a Trigger Event.  A trigger event can be many things; but something happened in your buyer’s environment.  An event occurred that requires further investigation and a potential solution.  Savvy marketers can identify the trigger events in their customer’s world.  They engage early with relevant content, beating their competition to the game.


Call to Action: Everything starts with the buyer.  Understanding why, how and when they buy is critical to a successful marketing strategy.  Unless you map your customer’s Buying Process Map, you’re planning in the dark.  What are you waiting for?