The 1-2-3 of B2B

The Buyers’ Journey


Business buyers often have complex buying processes. But if you think that what they do is complicated, take a look at what they think!

Firstly, they start off untroubled and unaware – even complacent. At some point though, they become troubled.

Once they’ve acknowledged their problem, they decide what they need to solve that problem. They then make their preferences, receive proposals and, ultimately, select a vendor, sign a contract and engage.

We call this the buyers’ journey™ and wrote about it in The Leaky Funnel.

But here’s the key: the stage labelled ‘acknowledge pain’ is critical.

Sales and Marketing Plan

If your customers can’t clearly identify what will happen if they don’t buy, they won’t.

And it gets worse.

A buyer with a need will spend time. They’ll come to your seminar, download your white papers and accept your meeting requests. Sounds good, right?

A buyer with a problem will spend money. Still sounds OK.

But here’s the other catch: A buyer with a need – and not a problem – will spend time, but NOT money.

Your team must understand the problems your business solves better than your competitors. And your tactics must bring these problems to the forefront of your buyers’ minds. Your problem choice affects your strategy as well:

  • Who most has this problem (because that’s who you should be selling to)?
  • What most fully solves this problem (because that’s what you should be selling)?\
  • Who can best uncover this problem (because that’s who you should be selling through)?

Hugh's video blog on the buyer's journey at the end of 2013 also explains why naming the stages in your CRM and MAP according to the buyer's journey improves the quality (and closability) of your leads.