In 1904, an article by Frank Hutchinson Dukesmith appeared in Salesmanship Magazine outlining the four steps of the buyer’s journey that would later be nicknamed “AIDA”: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Salespeople were responsible for driving the buying process and bringing prospects from attention to action.

A century later, the sales process has changed dramatically. The new buyer’s journey -- Awareness, Consideration, Decision -- differs from AIDA in two crucial ways.

First, the journey is problem-specific, not product-specific. Because buyers aren’t being dragged into a sales process by a particular company’s rep and are instead defining their business pain and independently seeking solutions, they don’t start with a product, but instead by educating themselves on how best to solve their problems.

Second, the journey is buyer-driven. Instead of placing the sales rep at its center, the modern sales process is focused on the buyer -- a natural result of a problem-specific approach and the fact that buyers are more informed and independent than ever.

What does this mean for sales reps? The infographic below highlights some of the major changes in the buyer’s journey, and how reps should adapt to stay relevant.


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Originally published Dec 15, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017


Buyer's Journey in Sales