Understanding your customer and where they are at in the customer buying journey allows you to make the best possible decisions on how to proceed with an opportunity or lead. It also ensures that your marketing strategy addresses each stage which in turn leads to a higher conversion rate and long-term customer loyalty. Many sales deals fail to close because the salesperson is so focused on the aspect of closing a deal that they fail to appropriately diagnose where their clients are at in the buying journey. Since buying decisions are emotional, not rational, it is important to be cognizant about building relationships throughout the entire customer journey.
6 Stages of the Customer Buying Journey
There have been many articles written and much research done regarding the stages of the customer buying process. No matter what the stages are called, they all represent similar ideas. For the sake of this article, we will be referring to Microsoft terminology and how they define the Customer Buying Journey.
Here are the six stages of the customer buying process.
The Explore stage is the first step of the customer buying process. In this step, the prospect realizes they have a problem that they need to solve. This is often thought of as the most important step – realizing they have a problem. The customer is looking for the best solution to their problem. It might be that they’ve seen an ad that has sparked their interest. Maybe they have talked to someone who has recommended you or they know of someone who has had a similar problem in the past. Any customer that contacts you should be nurtured and treated as a prospect. Since customers are researching you before they contact you, it is vital to constantly update and improve your website and make sure that your expertise is evident. 72-94% of buyers are B2B buyers and are researching online.
How Dynamics 365 Helps During the Exploration Stage
Use Marketing Automation tools like ClickDimensions to manage social media posting, review page clicks, and evaluate engagement on your website.
Link webforms to Dynamics 365 for automated lead creation.
Use ClickDimensions Campaign Automations to deliver unique branded content to explorers visiting your website.
In this step, the customer is evaluating whether or not you are the one who can provide the best solution to their problem. They will likely research you a bit more than in the exploration stage. They will examine your website. They might read your blog entries or download a whitepaper. They might want to attend a webinar or set up an in person or on the phone meeting with you. They will likely read (and hopefully identify with) your testimonials. This is why it is so important to have a professional website that establishes you as an authority and an expert in your area. SEO is also extremely important at this stage. You must know what keywords they used to find you. You want to know what keywords triggered their search, as well as what brought them to you! About 3/4 of consumers have completed most of their research and have their buying decision made way before contacting sales.
How Dynamics 365 Helps During the Evaluation Stage
Contacts, leads, and opportunities can easily be tracked in Dynamics 365.
Phone calls, emails, communications can be documented in Dynamics 365. This gives your clients a personalized experience. You always know where you left off with a certain client, what was discussed, and recommended.
Never miss following up with a prospect or client! Follow up reminders can be set up in Dynamics 365.
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