The modern buyer’s journey has changed. Research shows that only 18% of buyers rely on a salesperson as a source of information when making B2B purchases. This is one of the main challenges sales reps face today: Due to the proliferation of marketing material on the internet, the modern buyer is no longer dependent on salespeople to access information to make purchase decisions.
But we can track prospects’ activity on our company websites. So from both a business opportunity and predictability perspective, sales reps need to understand website traffic in relation to where those visitors are in the modern buyer’s journey so we can provide targeted advice that’s relevant to what our buyers are looking for.
How to Tell What Stage of the Buyer's Journey Your Prospects Are in Based on Their Website Visits
Buyers in this stage will: Visit your blog, interact with your social content.
How to tell your buyers are in Awareness mode: When buyers are in the Awareness stage, a salesperson’s job is to identify and connect with them. The vast majority of your website visitors are in this phase, as most Google searches and social media interactions are conducted by people still in the research phase.
These are people that have shown interest in key areas of what your business does but are early in their buyer’s journey. People visiting your blog and interacting on social are typically looking for answers, resources, education, research data, opinions, and insights.
Categorize the content on your website by the specific persona types it’s intended to serve. Then, using technology that tracks visitors’ website activity, you can keep track of the number of interactions they have and areas they have shown interest in. This serves the purpose of understanding what their interest area is and the amount of interactions are important to understand how engaged they are. Then, define trigger events you consider to be valuable and reach out when they happen.
Example: Let’s use the company ThaiShake as an example. The prospect, a woman in Thailand who wants to start her own business. She’s a vegan and knows a few things about nutrition, and is looking for business opportunities in that field. She researches online about business opportunities in this field and finds a blog post about being a Herbalife distributor.
After reading the post, she shares it on Facebook and asks if her social network has any opinions about this opportunity. This is a trigger event for us as she’s clearly engaged with the content, even though she hasn’t necessarily expressed any sort of commitment or clear interest in becoming a distributor herself. So while she is most likely not ready to make a decision now, it would be a good moment to connect, thank her for the share and provide her with additional content to help with her research. The actual content you provide in your outreach should be different based on the specific pages or posts that your prospect visits and shares.
If you don’t know who is visiting your company’s website or interacts with your social media, don’t worry -- you’re not the only one. HubSpot Sales makes tracking this activity possible.
Buyers in this stage will: Visit your product pages, benefits or features pages, and “About Us” or area of expertise content.
How to tell your buyers are in Consideration mode: Your website visitors are not equal. They are leads, customers, or complete strangers. Some will be engaged and qualified, while others will be engaged but a bad fit for your business.
As in the awareness stage, we are keeping track of our website visitors that have shown interest in our area of expertise and solutions we provide. For most organizations, the amount of these website visits will be significantly less than Awareness visits. However, you can still segment pages into interest fields and personas to help you craft a personalized response. For some organizations, the trigger event is the website visit of a product page itself, while others might require a minimum of five such interactions before considering it a trigger.
Example: Let’s revisit the ThaiShake example. As the woman moves down the funnel, she might open a few nurturing emails and do more research into the specific benefits of the Herbalife product. The company should start sending her more specific educational content based on what she’s reengaging with on the site.
Buyers this stage will: Visit pricing pages, case studies, and “Contact us” pages.
How to tell your buyers are in Decision mode: Buyers who spend time examining your pricing page and case studies aren’t just looking at general information -- they’re determining exactly what it would take to become a customer. Buyers in decision mode are a salesperson’s low-hanging fruit since they’re the most likely to buy soon, meaning that your response speed and personalization are of even greater importance.
Example: The final step of our example is the prospect visiting ThaiShake’s “become a Herbalife distributor” page. This isn’t general educational or informative content -- she’s no longer simply researching the vegan nutrition space. If she applies, a sales rep should reach out as soon as possible with a closing sequence, but if she only visits the page a few times without applying then she needs to be nurtured further.
If you can segment and report on the different types of website traffic, you can create a funnel-type dashboard to see your entire pipeline segmented by buyer’s journey stage. Adapting your outreach to this information has several benefits:
Tailoring outreach from the first email to your prospects builds your credibility as a trusted advisor.
Focusing your sales efforts around targeting the buyers furthest down the funnel will increase your effectiveness.
Your forecasts will become more accurate because you’ll be able to map your buyers’ journey stages against your average sales cycle length and better anticipate when and if deals will close.
How do you determine what stage of the buyer’s journey your prospects are in? How do you use this information in your sales process? Let us know in the comments below.
Originally published Jul 12, 2016 6:30:00 AM, updated August 29 2017