B2B Buying Persona's & Journeys - Sharing Best Practice
I have experience in B2B buying journey research for several major companies. I would like to share some of that experience here. But I'm mostly interested in your experience, as I currently only have my own point-of-view. I would also be willing to present on this topic if people are interested.
1. Workshop with sales and marketing Maybe also involve customer care or other internal people that engage with your customers and prospects. Indentify the potential buying stages (not sales stages). Start with something generic like: - Possible problem - Committing to change - Exploring potential solutions - Committing to solution - Justifying the decision (internal sales to colleagues or managers) - Making the selection (long list) (or RFI) - Narrowing the selection (short list) (or RFP) - Proof of concept (or demo) - Making the choice - Legal negotiations For interview or implementation purposes start with a simple model like (Awareness, Consideration, Closing). Also try to think about the potential decision making unit (e.g. Finance Manager)
2. Preparing and processing prospect/customer interviews Use the workshop results to set up a survey. Include recent customers as they have recently completed the buying journey (also include closed lost opportunities). The goal of the survey is to verify the buying stages and......to discover what the key questions for stage are. Examples: - How can I convince my manager this product is the desired solution we should further investigate? - Or what do I put in a request for proposal? - Or how can I show my Finance Manager this product's ROI?
3. The buying journey stages, Adding the DMU (decision making unit), Questions per stage per DMU After the survey you can create a grid. Horizontal all buying stages. Vertical all decision makers and influencers. In each field you mention the key questions, if any (e.g. A finance Manager is not in the first stages).
4. Internal research for content that answers the questions Start a project to investigate which content you have (briefings, whitepapers, videos, case studies, testimonials, recorded webinars, articles, press releases, and so on).
5. Matching company content and the buying journey, results in a content to-create-list. Now start matching your content, as answers to the key questions in your buying journey grid. You will find blind spots, where you don't have answers to your prospects questions. Make sure you prioritize this list, as creating content is a big job (P.s. I have some ways on how to properly do this).
6. Matching the sales process with the buying journey (and marketing and sales alignment) So now you know who has what questions and which point in time, and you have the answers for it (content): now what? In order to sent the right content at the right time, you need...... MARKETO! Dive into lead scoring strategies (or use other tactics) to determine a leads buying stage, based on its buying signals. Also start simple (just 3 stages! and 2 DMU personas). Now you can create proper nurture programs that match the buying journey, and support the sales process with the right content at the right time.