Houston expert: Why you need to align your strategy with your buyer's journey
Creating a successful go-to-market strategy involves several crucial steps that help define a company’s target market and potential buyers, as well as the differentiators, the competitors and the value that a product or service brings to the market.
CEOs of middle market companies know what a GTM strategy is although they may not often use the terminology. It is the sales and marketing strategy and how the company will acquire new customers, and thus grow revenue for the business.
Understanding the buyer's journey is crucial. In a nutshell, this refers to the different stages a potential customer goes through before finally making a purchase. First, there's the awareness stage, where the customer realizes their need, and starts researching possible solutions.
Next is the consideration stage, where customers weigh the pros and cons of various companies, comparing features, benefits, and pricing. Finally, in the decision stage, the customer decides on a specific solution based on the input they gathered along the way. By understanding and effectively utilizing this framework, marketing and sales teams can customize their strategy to promote trust, establish credibility, and meet revenue goals.
Understanding the journey step by step helps the marketing and sales teams to be very intentional about strategy.
Identifying an ideal customer profile (ICP)
A good way to approach this is by looking at the existing customer base for any common traits by conducting revenue analysis. Likely, there will be trends in the customer data that can be very informative on ways to target new customers. Look at data points such as duration as a customer, growth in revenue per customer, industry, region, etc. to define customer personas that may be ideal for the business.
Once the targets are determined, think about ways these potential buyers get their industry or professional information. Who do they follow? What do they care about?
Examining market trends and doing competitor research will lead to the creation of customer personas that may be outside of the current customer base.
Doing market research is critical to understanding the size of the market, so companies can determine their market share. Once a team really knows the target audience, it can create more effective content and digital marketing strategies that resonate with a company’s ideal customers and ultimately lead to higher conversion rates and revenue growth.
Catering to the buyer's journey
The potential buyer is going to need different things from marketing and sales at every stage of the journey. During the awareness stage, potential buyers are just starting to recognize that they have a problem, or a need. They aren’t ready to buy but they want information to better understand their situation. Show them content that addresses their pain points and provides a solution. Blog posts, e-books, whitepapers, and webinars are all ways to do this.
Once a buyer understands their problem better, they will actively search online for solutions. There is a lot of comparison going on now. Buyers in today’s market expect more transparency from B2B companies than in the past. To capitalize on this stage, a company needs to have detailed product information and case studies that demonstrate the value of a service or solution. Some companies will produce comparison guides to show their differentiators from the competition.
At the end of the journey, a buyer has narrowed down their options and is ready to make a purchase. They may need a little more information, or reassurance that their decision is the right one. Customer testimonials and reviews as well as interaction with the sales team will help to move a customer over the finish time.
Tailored messaging for different decision-makers
In complex B2B sales, there are usually multiple decision-makers involved, with stakeholders from various departments weighing in on the decision. Therefore, it is vital to have a different message tailored to each decision-maker, built into the overall messaging.
There is never going to be just one decision maker, especially if it’s a high dollar product or service. Finance is going to weigh in. The user is going to want a say. Communication to stakeholders across multiple departments in the company is key.
Prioritizing highly converting marketing tactics
An underappreciated element of any Go To Market strategy is prioritizing marketing and sales tactics. With limited resources and budget, identifying the most highly converting tactics is essential. And as with everything else, it also requires a deep understanding of the buyer.
For example, a company may prioritize trade shows as their most highly converting tactic because decision-makers and buyers in their niche market attend these events. Some companies may benefit more from paid advertising, while others may prioritize content creation or email campaigns. Tactics will be dependent on industry, target audience, and goals.
Companies should focus on tactics that are most likely to generate the highest ROI.
Both the marketing and sales teams need to understand the buyer's journey and focus on their needs and pain points at each step. This means adopting a customer-centric approach. By doing so, businesses can create a cohesive revenue team that works together to identify the most effective tactics and improve revenue growth.
At Craig Group, we have seen first hand that companies who implement a comprehensive go-to-market strategy, track their progress and adjust their approach as necessary, have a higher chance of meeting their revenue targets.
This approach is very effective if the necessary effort and resources are dedicated to the process. The strategic guidance and support of the right team can help develop and refine a GTM approach that is tailored to the company and aligned with its goals.
Libby Covington is partner at Houston-based The Craig Group, a strategic digital marketing solutions consulting firm. Her specialty is in understanding how sales and marketing work together effectively.