Part of improving sales and maintaining a strong customer focus is being aware of the buyer’s journey and how it aligns with your sales process. Once your sales team is able to connect the two they will be able to improve the buyer experience, increase win rate, and move prospects more quickly through the sales funnel.
But how do you do that? In this blog, we go over the buyer’s journey and give you a step-by-step guide on how to align your sales process with your buyer’s journey.
What is the Buyer’s Journey?
As your sales team progresses through the stages of the sales process, their prospects and customers are on their own path—the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, consider and evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service. Your buyer’s journey will be unique depending on the solution you provide and your team’s marketing strategy, but most can be generalized as having 3 stages:
- Awareness Stage
- Consideration Stage
- Decision Stage
Steps to Align Your Sales Process with the Buyer’s Journey
Step 1: Start with an Investigation
When a sales rep acquires a lead, their first step should be to begin investigating. This thorough research should be the first stage in any sales process, as it allows a sales rep to gather all available information on leads upfront. Once the investigation step is complete, your reps will begin initial sales conversations and should adapt their communication approach to match the prospect’s buying behavior style.
Step 2: Identify Where the Prospect is in the Buyer’s Journey
Through the questioning stage, your sales professionals can determine where the prospect is in the decision-making process. Is this a cold call, or a follow-up? Is the prospect actively seeking a solution? Are they comparing options?
Sales leaders should coach their sales team to ask the right sales probing questions to uncover pain points and other relevant information. When a salesperson asks these questions, they can determine where the prospect is on the buyer’s journey and identify any competitors the prospect may have experience with.
Step 3: Move the Buyer Backwards (if necessary) to Make a Collaborative Diagnosis
Most buyers today go through a large portion of the buyer’s journey before ever coming in contact with a salesperson. In a perfect world, your prospect and salesperson would work together to collaboratively diagnose the issue – making it easier for your rep to present their solution as the best choice. If the prospect has already self-diagnosed their issue, coach your reps to raise thought-provoking questions.
A question like this can immediately position the sales rep as a strategic advisor in the buyer’s eyes. It can also move the buyer back in their buyer’s journey to a place where the rep is more in control—and able to add value to your company’s product or service. From this point, your sales rep and the prospect can make a collaborative diagnosis of the challenge—giving your rep a greater chance of closing the sale. They can focus on selling value, instead of responding to a request for a quote.
The Importance of Aligning Your Sales Process with the Buyer’s Journey
Aligning your sales process with the buyer’s journey helps your reps better connect with potential customers and establish trusting relationships. If your reps are able to achieve alignment between the two, they’ll better understand how buyers make decisions and will be able to quickly qualify or disqualify prospects—so they don’t waste time chasing the wrong type of business.
How Can We Help?
Recruiting takes a lot of time and effort. At ebs/growth, we use a 7-step vetting process to uncover the behavior insights needed to excel in a sales role. Please contact us if you’d like help finding the right talent.