Believe it or not, it takes multiple marketing touch points to convert a suspect into a prospect. Even more sales touch points are needed to turn a qualified prospect into long-standing and loyal customer. Most modern marketers adopt a three-step process to better understand what drives demand. By understanding the buyer’s journey, you get more from your marketing dollar while better understanding what results you can expect from various programs. For complex technology sales, including IT Managed Services, Advanced Networking, and Cloud Services, the buyer’s journey can be equally complicated. Let’s explore a possible path in the buyer’s journey for Managed Services, Telecom Services and Cloud Services.
Understanding the Three Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
Let’s adopt a three-stage framework:
- Awareness: The buyer identifies a problem or requirement
- Consideration: The buyer researches options to solve the problem or meet the requirement
- Decision Stage: The buyer chooses a solution or service provider
Amplify Visibility to Increase Marketing Touchpoints
During the awareness stage a buyer may have recently read about a security breach, or worse, realize they had a security breach. Perhaps they are expanding their business to new locations and need additional networking for their communications needs. Maybe they have an outdated application and want to migrate to a new solution. Or perhaps they are searching for an additional point solution, such as a VoIP phone system, to upgrade their applications and infrastructure.
In all of these cases, the buyer may turn to Google or other search engines to find research, white papers, or specialists to help educate themselves on what can be done. Depending on how well known your brand is, you may be top of mind as a resource to educate at this top-of-funnel stage. If you have a solid list of contacts you reach out to through various marketing touches–direct mail, list call down, or monthly email newsletters– you may be top of mind as the trusted resource. Having a solid referral network will put your company in touch with prospective buyers when the time comes.
Statistics show 50% of your website activity will come from prospects searching for your company name in Google and other search engines. Does your company name come up to the top of the search engine result? If so, does it include your phone number? It should, because 50% of that traffic will be on a mobile browser. Why not make it easy to get the phones to ring? If you have a company name that is highly competitive, consider raising your visibility with using Google Business (formerly Google Places). If you have a physical address, Google will display directions to your offices at no extra charge.
Sharing Knowledge to Shorten the Sales Cycle
Once the buyer moves to the consideration stage they will need a variety of information to help make a decision. Educating themselves on the benefits of Managed Services or various technical options for networking (e.g SD-WAN), migration strategies for the Cloud and more, will help move a buyer along. Once someone finds your website, consider having a variety of educational and informational offers to help establish credibility and answer important questions about your services to help shorten the sales cycle. Consider white papers on Cloud Migration Strategies, blog articles on Preventing Cyber Attacks, tools to calculate cost of system downtime, or quoting engines, as ways to find networking options. You may even consider a network assessment to nurture the buyer along their journey. Having different “calls to action” brings prospects back while educating them at different phases of the buyer journey.Ultimately, this shortens your sales cycle — giving a sales team more time to follow up on opportunities.
Creating Impact at the Bottom of the Funnel
A prospect familiar with your brand, and who has educated themselves on your products and services, is ready to qualify themselves as a sales opportunity in the decision stage. Consider including quoting engines in your process to gain valuable insights that help you qualify the opportunity. Offering a price quote Call to Action is a good way to determine opportunity size, buyer urgency, industry segment, and other technical information that helps you prioritize your sales activities.
Other comparative information on features and functional capability, planning documents, and other content to aid in the decision process, can differentiate you from the competition.
Understanding the stages of the Buyer’s Journey help you structure your content marketing and sales processes. For more information on taking advantage of Buyer’s Journey for Managed Services, Telecom Services and Services contact firstname.lastname@example.org.