This week I will begin a summer blog series on the Buying Process. This series is based on my eBook Understanding the Buying Process. The goal of the series is to show you how to obtain and apply buying process knowledge to improve your lead conversion.
Marketing Funnel versus Buying Process
A typical marketing organization organizes their efforts around the marketing funnel. The marketing funnel defines how marketing intends to move a prospect towards a purchase. Typical stages in a marketing funnel include:
Marketing funnels tend to be inwardly or organizationally focused. They show how an organization divides up marketing activities to support the sale.
On the other hand, the buying process represents how a prospect works through his/her own process to arrive at a purchase decision. The focus is all about the buyer and his/her needs.
Why Should I Care About the Buying Process?
The buying process is like a roadmap for buyer behavior.
Let's say you were going to take a trip to grandma's new house. You use your favorite on-line tool to map your trip. What would happen if the results had chunks of directions missing along the way? If you followed those directions, you might get lost. It might take you a lot longer to reach your destination. You might run out of gas along the way. You might not ever get to grandma's house.
By using a buying process to direct your activities supporting prospective buyers, you
- Know what the buyer needs to complete their decision/purchase process
- Use that buyer knowledge to minimize buyer abandonment
- Accelerate the buyer's process by anticipating their need
Knowledge is power. The buying process encapsulates your knowledge and experience of successful prospect purchases. It enables you to replicate and improve those successful purchases.
8 Steps of the Buying Process
I use 8 steps to detail the deliberated buying process. A deliberated buying process is one where a buyer gathers information, researches, and evaluates his/her purchase.
- Recognizing a Need
- Framing that Need
- Researching the Need
- Defining Decision Criteria
- Narrowing the Alternatives
- Selecting an Alternative
- Making the Purchase
- Reevaluating the Decision
In upcoming posts, I'll introduce each stage of the buying process. I'll discuss how that stage works for the simple case of a single prospect.
However, we all know that many purchases are more complex interactions of multiple influencers. At the end of the series, we'll talk about how to apply the buying process principles to a multi-person purchase decision.