One of the biggest challenges for marketers is to generate quality leads. In fact, according to Hubspot, 61% of marketers consider this to be their biggest challenge. Before starting a lead generation strategy, I like to start by studying the consumer’s journey through his decision-making process from the moment they realize they have a problem and need a solution to the point of purchase.
Because if the consumer isn’t on that journey, there’s not much point in trying to target them. So to know how to deploy the best strategy to reach this potential customer at the right time, it is important to understand your consumer’s decision-making process.
Discovery and awareness
The decision-making process is triggered when a need for a given solution is recognized. Often, the consumer is already using another solution for his problem, probably one of your competitors, and may not realize that there is a better solution. If your solution is innovative or disruptive, it may be up to you to educate your potential customers and initiate awareness.
For example, a marketer has been using the same content creation process for the company’s social network accounts for a few years now. She writes the first version, which is then edited by one of the technical people on her team. The content is then published and managed by her. She acknowledges that this is not optimal, but this process has been working for several years.
During a marketing conference, she discovered a small Montreal-based company that uses artificial intelligence to not only generate content ideas by analyzing visitors to its Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages but also automatically generates the first version of the content. She then realized that content creation has been becoming difficult lately. As the company is growing, she has less and less time to devote to it, and the people who used to help her are now busy elsewhere. She is now aware she needs a better solution to content generation.
Search for information
Once the problem has been recognized and the decision to seek a solution has been made, the consumer will seek information on the different types of solutions that can solve the problem.
Usually, this starts with a Google search or talking to friends or colleagues who have the same problem. They will evaluate the different solutions as a whole, the different brands, etc.
Our marketing manager will start with a small Google search on the different ways to generate and manage content more easily. She will come across different options: a tool that allows her to manage her calendars better and offer version-control, a firm that offers to write the content for her, a multitude of small businesses that promise to generate content automatically, etc.
Evaluating the choices
Once she has decided what kind of solution suits her best, she will assess her options in more depth. She will look for much more precise information, i.e., by visiting the website in more depth to better understand all the technical details, ask for a demonstration of the different tools, try a free version, call to ask more precise questions, visit the store, etc.
Here, the way you organize the flow of information on your website is crucial. The visitor’s path through your website should lead your potential customer directly to your conversion goal.
At this stage, the client decides to make the purchase. She decides where she will buy – on the company’s site, on a third party’s site, in a store, etc. The absence of a distributor, a bad experience with the sales staff, and a long check-out process are all good reasons to miss sales. Therefore, this step should be as smooth as possible so that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.
Post-purchase behavior depends on the satisfaction of the need. A satisfied customer will be likely to buy again and tell his friends or colleagues about it. An unsatisfied customer can be detrimental to your company and its reputation. In B2B, if your customer is bigger than you are, this can translate into extra costs to deal with this unpleasant situation.
I highly recommend spending time to identify what is the consumer decision-making process and to go through it yourself step by step. You’ll better understand how to build your lead generation funnel and how to create the best marketing strategy to achieve your objectives.
Interested in learning how you can generate quality leads by learning more about your customer’s journey? Book your free consultation here.