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    02/28/2024 |

    If You Don’t Have a Buyer Journey Map, You’re Flying Blind in a Hurricane

    After repeatedly listening to CEOs and marketing professionals across various industries express their frustrations about the underperformance of their marketing efforts, it’s evident that something is hindering even the most basic marketing executions.

    In the simplest of terms, most marketing professionals and business leaders are trying to do marketing without a map or a GPS, and it’s not surprising that they’re not getting to their intended destination.

    Instead, consider a more strategic approach, one that starts with a map of your prospects’ buyer journeys.

    The buyer journey map is a basic tool that aligns your website, content strategy, lead nurturing and sales execution with a framework that helps prospects make a safe purchase decision. This approach also shortens your sales cycle, improves your close rates and ultimately helps your company grow.

    Here’s exactly how you use a buyer journey map to improve your marketing and sales execution and install a repeatable, scalable and predictable revenue generation system.

    Understand All the Stages of the Buyer Journey

    One of the major mistakes many companies make today is underestimating the complexity of their prospects’ buyer journeys. It’s not their fault. Most people are still using the old-school sales funnel that was created in 1898.

    People don’t buy like they used to.

    Instead of the three or four stages included in this old-school sales funnel, today there are eight stages that you need to consider when you start building out your marketing and sales execution strategy. These stages have been captured in the framework we use with our clients, the Cyclonic Buyer Journey™.


    Some prospects don’t know you exist. They have the specific pain, issue or challenge that you help with, but for whatever reason, they don’t realize solutions are available. Since they’re not aware, we call this stage Pre-Awareness. This is important because account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns are specifically designed for people in this stage.


    This is the stage when people start paying attention to potential solutions. It’s when they might be open to information related to their issue, pain or challenge. In the Awareness stage, they are still reactive and not yet proactive, but they are tuned to notice educational content that tweaks their issue or challenge.


    The next phase is education, and this stage is when prospects start proactively looking for information or research around the possibility of doing (or buying) something different from what they’ve been doing (or buying).


    Eventually, prospects have to start narrowing down their options. They discover what they like and don’t like, and what they need and don’t need. When they have narrowed down the potential solutions to just a few, they enter into the Consideration stage, where they start to look more closely at their selected handful of options.


    Now that the prospects are serious, the hard work of evaluation begins. Most of their questions were handled by the website but now require one-on-one conversations. This stage is typically where sales get involved.


    This stage is where prospects ask the tough questions: When do you expect me to see a positive return on investment (ROI)? What are your payment terms and are they flexible? Your prospect has already emotionally decided on you as a viable option but now needs to develop a rationalization for their decision. Resolving these questions is usually a hurdle, so your sales process needs to be buttoned up and remarkable.


    Even after officially making the decision, the buyer still has to talk about contract details, agreement terms and other legal aspects of their new working relationship. It’s not final until the paperwork is signed.

    Ongoing Delivery

    The end game is not getting a new customer but rather getting a new customer to realize the benefits they signed up for when they met you. Your goal is to create a customer so happy that they tell everyone about you, buy more from you and continue working with you into year two. Delivery ensures your customers are an active advocate for your company.

    Get Intimate With How Your Prospects Feel at Each Stage

    People make ALL purchase decisions emotionally and then rationalize those decisions. This means you need to know how your prospects feel at each stage of their buyer journey and be actively working to make them feel safe.

    Consider your initial conversation with a new potential provider for any services. You’re cautious and reserved. You might be a little anxious and even be aloof in your behaviors. It makes sense, because you don’t know this person, the company or how they do what they do.

    As you get to know them, you get more comfortable. If they do a good job helping you make a good decision, you start to trust them and like them. You might even let your guard down and share more information with them about your project, company or decision-making process.

    Ultimately, if you’re going to get the deal, the prospect has to know, like and trust you. They have to feel like you’re the safe choice for them.

    The better you map and measure how you think the prospect is feeling at each stage of the buyer journey, the more proactive you can be about moving them from stage to stage and doing it better than your competitors.

    Use the Stages To Deploy Marketing and Sales Content

    Once you have this mapped out and you can apply it to each stage of the buyer journey, start collecting a list of questions prospects typically ask at each stage.

    Prospects ask different types of questions at each stage of their journey, and knowing these questions helps you to create content that answers these questions.

    Marketing deploys content that answers questions in the Awareness, Education, Consideration and Evaluation stages. Sales should be armed with content that can be used during the Evaluation, Rationalization and Decision stages. Marketing and sales should be working together on content that is used to target people who might be in the Pre-Awareness stage. Customer service should have content for customers during the Ongoing Delivery stage.

    The better you are at aiming this content, creating this content, deploying this content, tracking this content and optimizing this content over time is directly related to how well you’ll do at generating leads and turning those leads into sales opportunities and ultimately new customers.

    Measure Performance Across Those Stages

    We’re making good progress, but now you need to make sure you can track the performance of your leads as they move across the buyer journey. This means tracking the conversion rates for each stage. This also means tracking the performance of the content you’re deploying at each stage.

    When it comes to measurements, there are usually a few places to look for these numbers. First, the CTA buttons on your website. These could be graphic buttons like Click Here or they could be links, but either way they should be tracked for click rate. Google reports that CTAs across the board typically convert between 2% and 5% of the visitors.

    HubSpot has a great article on ways to improve CTA click-through rate check it out.

    Next, you need to look at the landing pages these CTA buttons or links send people to. These should be measured for their conversion rate or the rate at which people fill out the forms and submit their information. Google reports that landing pages typically convert at around 2% to 10%, but we’ve seen a well-designed landing page do upward of 20% or higher.

    The other area to look for data is in the emails your sales reps are using to move people from stage to stage in their buyer journey, and part of those emails should also be content offerings.

    Track open rates and click-through rates on these emails. Stats on this are going to vary, so instead of measuring yourself against others, measure yourself against your benchmark performance and work to improve your numbers month over month.

    It’s easy in tools like HubSpot to create a buyer journey conversion stage dashboard so you can see your progress in all these areas in just one dashboard.

    For help with HubSpot, metrics and setting up dashboards that uncover insights like these, click here for to learn how we help companies with HubSpot.

    Optimize the Execution Over Time

    The last part of the story here is ongoing optimization of everything you’re doing to work on the buyer journey experience.

    I see so many marketing people start campaigns and set up nurtures, landing pages and content offers only to leave them running and neglected due to other competing priorities.

    One of the secrets to marketing program performance is ongoing optimization, experimentation, testing and updates/upgrades to what you’ve been doing.

    Typically, these efforts should cycle on a monthly basis. Review the results, uncover the insights, set a series of adjustments, optimizations, experiments or tests and then let them run. Keep tabs on the tests but let them run for at least two weeks until you consider making any changes. After the month is over, rinse and repeat.

    Adding this part of an ongoing systematic approach to marketing is how you start building a revenue generation system for your company.

    Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist headshot
    CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

    Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

    Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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