Do you understand your buyer’s purchase journey?

January 11, 2021

Customers don’t just make purchases willy nilly. Save of course for impromptu purchases. As an executive in charge of sales, relying on impulse buying may not be the best strategy. This is especially important if your product or service costs more than a few hundred dollars. A lot of research has gone into trying to map out how customers come to a purchase decision. Given his experience working in business development at Google, Uber and now at Elephant Healthcare, Clinton Obura shares a few tips on how to effectively map your customer’s purchase journey.For starters, you must understand at what stage of the purchase funnel your customer is at, as this will dictate your sales pitch and path to converting that prospect into a customer. Remember these 3 acronyms; TOFu, MOFu and BOFu.

  1. Top of the Funnel (TOFu)
    This is where the buyer is still doing extensive research on the particular product. Software products for instance cost a lot of money so any one putting their products out there makes sure that they also put out as much information as possible on the product for the buyers to consume.
  2. Middle of the Funnel (MOFu)
    In this phase the buyer may or may not be aware that you exist. If they are aware they are looking to have a conversation with you. Here they may be deciding between you and your competitor. You need to be ready to showcase how your valuable proposition is better than the competition.
  3. Bottom of the Funnel (BOFu)
    This is the decision phase. Here the consumer maybe wants to go through a trial phase. They may request for information from you. Here the buyer is trying to find more reason for their final decision. This is a critical stage, where your role is to alleviate as much fear of buyers remorse as you can, and give the client confidence to make the purchase. Things like return policies, trial period, proof of concepts etc work well at this stage.

Here’s something most sales people rarely consider. Once you get the customer ready to make the purchase, how do you qualify them for the purchase? This is the point at which you decide if the customer is truly a worthy sale for you or not. Remember, sometimes walking away from a bad sale is just as important if not more important than closing the sale.

Different companies go through different process for qualification and one popular one is BANT. This stands for:

  • Budget: does the buyer have the money for the product that you are selling and are they willing to buy it at your desired price?
  • Authority: is the person you are talking to a decision maker in that particular organization or are they willing to connect you to someone who is? If not then you are talking to the wrong person.
  • Need: you have to know if there is a clear need for the product or service you are selling to that business. If there is none then closing that sale could lead to reputation damage or affect future prospects of contract renewals.
  • Timeline: there has to be a clear time frame for the purchase. Some clients will keep you in pending state for so long eventually the sale is a loss maker for you.

Last but not least, in the case of high value purchases such as software products or heavy equipment, the sale doesn’t end with the client saying yes. Keep in mind these steps that most clients will still require you to go through before they sign that dotted line.

  • Business Case Evaluation – This is where you give them the numbers of how your product could improve their business to enable all stakeholders to come on board.
  • Technical Evaluation – here the buyer evaluates if the product truly meets their needs
  • Negotiation – assuming that the buyer has made a decision to take on your product. Here is where you talk about the pricing and you meet favorable terms for everybody.
  • Close – A deal is agreed upon and your prospect turns into a customer.
  • Renewal – in most B2B business they run on contracts. So after stipulated time you might have to go through the whole buying process or start in the middle.

Final words. Companies change with time, as an executive, it is wise to note the significant changes, be ready and innovative. The tip here is to build something and be flexible enough to change with the times.

Clinton Obura was a facilitator at Un.thinkable masterclass (our quarterly 10X Growth Leaders Workshop) in July 2020. Click here to apply for membership in Un.thinkable.

Subscribe For Our Event Updates and Weekly 10X Newsletter