Plenty of research shows the impact the Internet has made on commerce. Besides the ability to buy just about anything online, today’s consumers do their own online research before making a major purchase, and, in fact, use the internet to find answers to their pains and problems before even considering a purchase.
When making a major purchase, buyers tend to follow a predictable pattern that usually starts with an online search, but varies according to their buyer’s journey.
The Buyer’s Journey
Most visitors to a company’s website do not want to make a purchase; they’re aware of a problem and are simply looking for information to help them answer their question.
Some know what they need and are considering possible solutions to the problem they face.
Others have decided on a solution and are selecting for a vendor to help them implement it.
The trouble is, by the time a prospect is in their Consideration or Decision stage, their opinion is likely solidified and the options are limited for sales reps to be competitive. This fact has forced a change in the sales conversation where successful sales reps aim to have the most influence over a sale by connecting with buyers earlier in their buyer’s journey.
Inbound Marketing and Sales Alignment
In this new, Internet economy, the roles of sales and marketing have become more aligned. Businesses are recognizing that their websites have been underutilized. They realize that a simple “About Us” page or “Contact Us” form does not generate enough leads. Successful companies are turning to inbound marketing strategy to attract visitors, convert leads and close more sales.Fortunately Inbound Marketing aligns perfectly to the buyer’s journey.
If we visualize the buyer’s journey as a sales funnel, Inbound Marketing attracts visitors in their Awareness stage at the top of that funnel. Using keyword-rich blogs, SEO, social media, as well as digital and traditional advertising, the inbound methodology gets a company website found by qualified visitors that are looking for helpful information.
Most other marketing campaigns just leave it at that and point to website visits, social media shares or a number of ad impressions as measures of success. But inbound marketing converts those anonymous visitors into qualified leads in the Consideration stage at the middle of the funnel by providing valuable downloadable offers in exchange for a visitor’s contact information.
An inbound marketing campaign continues to provide valuable content to leads in their Decision stage at the bottom of the funnel, nurturing their decision and automatically gathering lead intelligence to identify the most qualified leads for a sales rep to contact and close.
In today’s inbound economy, consumers do their own research online, often well before they are ready to make a purchase. What would it mean to your business if you connected with your customer earlier in their buyer’s journey?