article | August 4, 2012
When Did You Last Map the Buying Process of Your Customers?
If so, this can impact the success of how and where you allocate resources:
A tool to focus your limited resources in the highest impact area(s) is to map the customer’s buying process to identify gaps.
Are You Behind the Curve of Buyer Evolution?
Recent surveys, such as the one conducted by Corporate Executive Board in 2011, show that more than 50-60% of the buying process is being conducted without the help of a sales representative. It’s a fact that buyers have radically changed their buying behavior. This must be tied to execution changes in both marketing and sales. The rise of demand generation, inbound marketing, and content marketing have been marketing responses to connect with a new informed buyer.
Have We Considered These Recent Developments?
If the map of your customer’s buying processes is not updated annually, you can find yourself behind the curve on this evolution.
Does Your Map Have You Headed in the Right Direction?
Without a buyer defined view of a buying process map, getting your next year’s marketing plan heading in the right direction is a guessing game. The margin of error for guessing wrong is steep. This is especially true as more metrics are being applied to how buyers respond to marketing and selling activities. The results pie chart at the end of next year just may be too much of the wrong color.
If you have a map of your customer’s buying process that is out of date, it is time to get a new map. What if you already have an updated map of your customer’s buying process? You will need to evaluate whether it is guiding you in the right direction. As mentioned, since buying behavior is changing at a rapid pace in organizations, you may need a new version of your existing map annually.
A new map must serve the function of providing information that tells you how to put the right marketing plan together in the right direction. Your new map must also be defined by the buyer. This means it is time to stash away those AIDA and generic views of buying processes. Here are 3 critical steps you can take to get your map up to date:
Does Your Map Connect You with Buyers?
I’ve worked with several organizations over the past couple of years who have taken a diligent approach to making sure their map of the buying processes of their customers remains up to date. They’ve been able to radically change how they connect with buyers. Here are few ways:
So what you can take away from this? Here are three items:
What is the next big step you can take? Recently, Jeff Ernst of Forrester echoed that B2B Marketers have a blind spot when it comes to knowing their buyer’s journey. I could not agree more. One big step you can take to remove the blind spot is by investing in qualitative buyer research to know your buyers at a deeper level. This will be money well spent. You will have an up to date map of your customer’s buying process. It will surely help getting that results pie chart to be more of the right color versus the wrong one by the end of next year.
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