Mapping the Buyer’s Journey: A Demand Gen Necessity

July 8, 2021 | Trisha Marks

 

 

We have two words for you: buyer-centric funnel. 

Especially in B2B, there are a lot of moving pieces when prospects are considering buying a product or service. The sales process is usually lengthy, with several nuances along the way. Mapping the buyer’s journey isn’t always an easy process, but it’s critical part of demand generation, as it allows you to understand how to position and message your product to resonate with the right people at the right time.  

Making your prospects the hero in your story is the key to pushing them all the way through the sales funnel. Thus, generating more revenue for your company. 

Lance Weatherby, the Head of Marketing at Voxie, guides us through mapping the buyer’s journey and ensuring your Sales funnel is focused on the buyer, not the product.  

Take a few minutes now to learn how to: 

  • Put yourself in the consumers’ shoes to understand the experience of the sales process

  • Identify where bottlenecks are occurring in your sales funnel 

  • Analyze individual cases to evaluate a range of reasons for blockages in the funnel 

Don’t miss it – tune in to this episode of Growth Marketing Chat now. 


 

Video Transcript:

CAROLINE: Hi! Today, I’m here with Lance Weatherby. Lance started his career in sales. He has a very rich background in both sales and the marketing. He is an advisor to different startups, and now he is the Head of Marketing at Voxie. Lance, thank you so much for being with me today.

LANCE: Caroline, very, very happy to be here.

CAROLINE: Great. So, today I want to talk about mapping the buyer user journey and it’s something that most marketers think about, but to actually do it can be quite difficult because there’s so much going on when a buyer is actually buying a product. Right? So, to do this successfully, we need to follow some kind of a process and figuring that out is not, it’s not easy. So, I know that you have quite a bit of experience in building user journeys and really figuring out what bottlenecks are. So, I’d love your take on how to do this successfully.

LANCE: Yeah, well, like, like you said, it’s not real, really easy, but it’s, I think it’s very doable. So, I’ve spent, you know, the vast majority of my marketing career in technology, marketing startups, and SaaS type companies, right? And in those companies, I mean, it’s very important that you can kinda like measure what’s going on with your prospects and customers all the way through the funnel and out the other end. And I’ve also spent a lot of time consulting with startup companies to try to help them kind of get off the ground. And those two things somewhat come together and what I, you know, call a buyer-centric sales funnel. And you know, what I think the vast majority of people companies do is they, they look at their sales funnel and they classify, you know, the things that they’d want a potential, you know, customer to do.

Like in, in my world, it’s, you know, come to a website, sign up for demos, sign up for trial, you know, get qualified to go through a discovery process, you know, do a demo, get agreement, and then, you know, you get them to sign some documents. And while, you know, you’re doing all those things from a sales and marketing kind of perspective, the buyer’s actually feeling something very, very different. And the way that you can kind of figure out where these differences might be is by taking, you know, your particular funnel. And then a lot of people didn’t believe in funnels anymore, but you know, I kinda do a little bit. But taking where that, that buyer is and seeing where they’re getting stuck. And cause usually there’s a squeeze point in the funnel where all of a sudden, people get to a certain stage and then, they stopped going any further. And usually, when that’s the case, they’re doing something to try, you know, to try to get to the next stage in their buying process, which is, you know, it’s, it’s much different than the selling process like, you know, in the buying process, I’m gonna do research, I’m gonna go look at reviews sites, I’m gonna talk to our acquaintances that are in the same situation to see if they might be able to rec, recommend some people they’re doing, you know, their initial calls and what have you.

And you know, at a point, there’s a little divergence that takes place, that they’re doing something that’s not in your funnel and you don’t know what it is, but you can identify it by just kinda seeing where the blockages in the funnel and where things are happening. And when that’s taking place, usually, they’re trying to do something, and they need your help. And if you can help them, they’ll move forward.

CAROLINE: So, how do you find out, like what’s blocking them, what they’re doing? Like, let’s say, if you had a demo with someone and it went well, and then, and you, like, you get like 20% of your demos that don’t move forward because people just get stuck there.

LANCE: Right. So, you know, what often happens after the demo is you, you know, you maybe have a product that doesn’t meet their needs perfectly, or they’re probably looking at demos of other people as well, right? And so, they’re trying to do an evaluation and, you know, if you were to provide the perspective customer with an evaluation criteria, for example, for, you know, text message marketing, what we do is like, these are the things you should evaluate, then you kind of help them get through that stage as well as position yourself, you know, to come out well on the other side of it. You know, so, it’s that type of thing when they get a little bit, you know, further along, you know, who’s, who’s the decision maker, right?

And oftentimes, the economic buyer, isn’t the person that, you know, your sales folks are talking to regularly. So, what do they need to get the economic buyers buy in? You know? And what I have found is that if you map out whatever it is, kinda like your funnel is, and you start thinking about what they’re doing and you know, you do, this is not a process that takes place in a week, a day, or a month. It’s, you know, a process that it takes a while to actually figure it out.

And I’ll give you an example. So, I worked at this company called CallRail and they do, they’re a marketing technology company, they do something called call tracking, call analytics. And I was, I would actually answer the phones cause I was trying to get close to the prospects and understand what they were doing. And after a little while of doing that, you know, it just kinda dawned on me that what was taking place, where these people, the CallRail had a free trial, and these people were getting to this page in the trial process that they didn’t know what to do. And so, they would call us up and they didn’t wanna say, they didn’t wanna know what to do because you know, that would, you know, that make them feel kinda, you know, not very smart and that’s what they were doing. And they were like, “Oh, you’re on this page. Let me tell you what to do next.” And once I figured that out, you know, essentially what we did was we changed the entire sales process. So, you know, what the salespeople did is they called up the prospective customer and they asked them if they could help get it set up. And we did this thing called the setup call, and we literally got them up and running on the site on the, on the software. And then, we had the check-in call, which occurred a week later, we had a very fast sales process. And during the check-in call, they made sure that everything was working well. And if it was, you know, well, if they wouldn’t need fix it, and if it was, they’d asked for their credit card. And so, we completely changed that part of the funnel cause that’s where our pinch point was. We changed our sales process in order to really open up the flow of leads to paying customers.

CAROLINE: That’s awesome. And I think what’s, what’s really showing is that, first of all, you should really listen, right? Like, there’s nothing like going and experiencing it, or at least, you know, you, you picked up the phone, if you can’t do this and talk to the prospect, talk to your sales team, right? Understand why it’s blocking.

LANCE: Yes, and… having vendor centric, you know, funnels, funnels that are specific to what you’re trying to sell, is one of the biggest, you know, failing points I see in a lot of, at least early stage companies. And, you know, in, in later stage companies, you know, if you hear things like, oh, where the customer just doesn’t understand, or, you know, the salesperson says to the prospective customer, you know, you need to, this is our process that you need to follow. You know, basically, they, it happens all the time. I mean, looking for it and it’s like, you know, I don’t wanna follow your process. This is what I’m trying to do. And I think that companies need to be, just have their ears open and their eyes open when that happens. That it’s like, oh, we’ve built this funnel around what we wanna do, not what the customer is trying to do. And just knowing that, you know, or, or being aware that that could potentially be the case, is the first step to kinda like fixing it.

CAROLINE: Right. Right. Right.

LANCE: And the second step is mapping it out. I mean, however, you know, what you’d think the buying process is, that your customer’s going through if you don’t know, and if you do know, it’s like, well, how, how long do people get stuck in this stage? You know, because that’s what, they glue, they get stuck, you know? And, you know, and you wanna get them unstuck.

CAROLINE:  Yeah. And I think it’s fascinating, really, to think about, well, what is, what is this person doing, right? What are these prospects doing? Why they are not talking to us. And I think as a marketer, we always think about like, like masses, right? We usually think about like, I’m communicating to the customers in general, to the prospects in general, all right. Wherever we segment it. But then, I think to really understand what prospects are doing, like looking at each prospect, and just taking the pipeline, and understanding like these people are stuck, why are they stuck? And trying to look at them individually to really understand why they are stuck and then go back to like on average, right? People get stuck here. But looking at the individual cases, I think, is really helpful.

LANCE: Yeah. And I think, you know, talking to the sales team to kinda understand their perspective on what’s going on and actually, you know, sooner or later, you know, everyone gets customers that are kinda like, you know, raving fans. And to go back and talk to those people, and ask them, you know, tell, tell me about your buying process on this. How do you, how do you, you know, I’m in software, how do you buy software? How do you buy, you know, seven up? You know, just whatever. And they’ll tell you, and it will just open up, “Oh, that’s really interesting.”

CAROLINE: Right.

LANCE: I didn’t know you didn’t know what to do.

CAROLINE: Yeah. Yeah. Whenever in doubt, I think asking is the best tool ever. Just ask, ask your prospect, that’s your customers.

LANCE: They, they will, they will typically tell you, you know, I think, customer advisory boards are kinda good for that type of thing. But you just wanna understand how, you know, and I’m a business to business software guy. But you just wanna understand how your ideal customer profile, how your, you know, personas, you know, do things cause it’s get burnt, you know, depending on the role that the person has in the purchasing process.

CAROLINE: Right. Exactly. Exactly. Well, thank you Lance. I think it was really helpful and yeah. Thank you for participating.

LANCE: It’s been fun being here and I can’t, can’t wait to, to hear it, and hear other ones that you’ve done as well.

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