As most salespeople already know, individuals usually flow through three relatively distinct stages.
Those in sales and marketing have named these lifecycle stages:
- the awareness stage
- the consideration stage
- the decision stage
When a company understands the lifecycle stages of a buyer, it can improve its lead nurturing strategies, build conversions, and increase its revenue.
But, though these steps toward the final decision for the buyer are present, salespeople can use these stages to make a conversion; continue to offer additional relevant choices; collect content that meets their needs, and challenge the customers' mindset along the way. The end result is, in most cases, the sale.
On the other hand, each step of the buyer’s journey is aligned with two areas of the marketing and sales funnel. Its lifecycle stages are as follows:
- marketing qualified lead (MQL)
- sales qualified lead (SQL)
It is both the buyer's journey, and the stages of the marketing and sales funnel that must work in tandem to create conversions.
In the first stage, the buyer has a problem and begins to research the likely solution.
WHO IS A SUBSCRIBER?
This person has asked for information from a company, such as signing up for the business' blog or requesting a newsletter. This individual should be nurtured at this critical first stage of the sales process. This customer can be guided down the funnel if information, education, and content are available to the individual.
WHO IS A LEAD?
Once the contact shows more interest, he or she may download premium content from the business. The company can nurture this next level of interest by offering the lead content and strategies that match his or her awareness stage with offers such as:
- how-to videos
- educational webinars
Hold back on showering the potential customer with in-depth request forms. The lead is not ready to share his or her personal information. If necessary, keep the questions simple and to the point until the client is more engaged.
In this stage, the contact is renamed as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). The buyer is now at a point where he or she has evaluated solutions to the problem at hand.
WHO IS A MARKETING QUALIFIED LEAD (MQL)?
This lead is now very interested in the company's service or product. This person is indicating that he or she is genuinely interested in the company's brand.
WHO IS A SALES QUALIFIED LEAD (SQL)?
An SQL is recognised by the sales team as a qualified customer who is ready for a directed approach and is also a likely buyer.
Consideration stage contacts should receive nurture in the form of:
- case studies
- product and service webinars
- demo videos
- data sheets
At this stage, it is not only acceptable but is also necessary to get the potential buyer's phone number and email. Now is the time to tailor the company's conversion conversation and build compatibility with the buyer.
Potential buyers who have reached this stage are probably considered potentials or customers. Usually, this is the moment that the buyer feels he or she has found the solution to his or her problem. The customer is ready to consider a particular brand or a specific solution supplier.
WHO IS AN OPPORTUNITY?
When a purchaser is in an active conversation concerning a sale and is a potential revenue source, the sales and marketing team refer to her or him as an opportunity. The only details left are communicating with the opportunity and working out details that need to be addressed before the sale.
WHO IS A CUSTOMER?
A customer is a customer. Still, this is not the time to set your client adrift. Existing customers are the most natural buyers you have. These customers need to be nurtured so they will tell others about the company's brand. To do this, they need education, timely content, and encouragement. Offer the customer:
- live demos
- free trials
- an estimate or a coupon
- consultation or assessment
During this moment of the buyer's journey, the customer should be asked to supply detailed information to assist the sales and marketing teams to do a better job on demos, consultations, and more.
When a company understands the lifecycle stages of a buyer, it can improve its lead nurturing strategies, build conversions, and increase its revenue. Every business and company can draw much from understanding the "buyer's journey." Find out more about inbound marketing.