The Ins & Outs Of A Potential Buyer's Research Process Before Purchase
“I’ve got too much data coming in from too many different places and I need to find a way to integrate all of my marketing tools.”
“I’m not sure if the data I’m collecting is being analyzed correctly because it doesn’t incorporate data from specific sources. What do I do?”
The following statements could have been made by marketers from across industries and backgrounds. In fact, I’ve heard these phrases from more than a couple seasoned professionals. Their problems are increasingly common throughout the sales funnel stages, since the average marketer uses at least 5-6 separate tools each day to collect data. Yet what these two marketers are expressing is that they have a specific problem. They know what it is and they can define it. They are now considering or are searching for a solution to this problem.
In our previous blog posts we discussed how the inbound approach to marketing differs to the outbound approach at the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey and the implications of this. To reiterate, the buyer’s journey is “the active research process a buyer goes through leading up to a purchase, “ and is essentially the progression of how a buyer moves through the sales funnel stages. This is the definition set forth by the team at HubSpot. Now, we’ll take a look at the next stage of this journey to see how these methodologies differ and where value can be added.
Sales Funnel Stages: Consideration
During the “Consideration Stage” of the buyer’s journey, a potential customer has now realized what their problem is and is currently researching possible solutions. He is, at this stage, looking for proof that a particular solution is right for him and that it works. In the case of the marketers mentioned above, they will most likely be looking for a solution that combines or integrates various tools into one dashboard or area and that can integrate the related data. In short, they’ve identified their problem and are now looking for the proper solution.
Researching the Solution: Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing
What are the specific options or opportunities that the “overwhelmed marketers” might have when deciding on a solution? Do they need a solution that deals with a few specific tools? Does it need to be within a particular price range? Is there budget? These are all questions that both the inbound and outbound marketer should be cognizant of when reaching out to their potential buyer at the consideration stage.
However, the potential buyer will be approached differently in each case. The marketer following the outbound methodology may place pop-up ads on YouTube videos relevant to his potential buyers. They may place advertisements on popular websites where some of these overwhelmed marketers “hang out”, hoping that they will stumble upon this solution as they do their research This is a great approach for some buyers because it helps find them “on their turf” and generally speaking, it takes time to find and interest a potential buyer. This happens sometimes, but the potential buyer again needs to be in the right place at the right time to see the ad. As we said, this can definitely be effective in drawing your buyer in. So what makes the inbound marketing methodology different?
Inbound marketing requires a greater investment before any ROI is seen. The inbound marketer will be ready with the information that the “overwhelmed marketer” needs yet he will have it before it’s needed. In fact, that information will have been made available to the potential buyer once they’d expressed interest by filling out their details and taken advantage of an offer. The inbound methodology focuses on nurturing that lead at the consideration stage by offering a free trial or an explanatory webinar so they can learn more about the solution. The potential buyer’s trust is gained because a conversation is started between the company offering the solution and the potential buyer. This allows the buyer to learn more about the different solutions for themselves. A conversation is started but the inbound marketer is listening to what his buyer is saying rather than just giving him a list of possible solutions or calling to sell to him directly. Trust is again built on the information being offered in addition to the approach.
We’ve now looked at how inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing at the awareness and consideration stage of the buyer’s journey. In our next blog in this series, we’ll discuss how various marketing methodologies influence the buyer at the decision stage. Stay tuned…
Are you using a specific marketing methodology to reach your potential buyers? Why have you chosen that approach? Let us know by leaving us a comment below.