In a previous post, I introduced the concept of a Buyer Journey Decision Framework. In this post, I’ll dive deeper into the framework that I like to use the most, which is one that was introduced to me by SiriusDecisions/Forrester Research as part of their product marketing & messaging practice.
As I mentioned before, this buyer journey framework is NOT the same as the Waterfall Lifecycle or Sales/Marketing Funnel. The former is a framework that represents the decision-making process that a prospect will go through when evaluating and buying a solution, while the latter is a methodology for tracking the sales and marketing process. These two are not the same thing. Thus, a key point to consider is that the Buyer Journey Framework should be written from the POV of the persona and NOT from the POV of the company, while the sales/marketing funnel is where in the sales cycle the company believes the prospect is in.
Below is a graphic that shows how the buyer journey framework aligns the messaging across your buyers to your offerings.
A lot of companies have a pretty good idea of the benefits of their products and respective value propositions. They may even talk about their products and offerings in terms of solutions to use cases or jobs to be done. Basically the left side of the graphic above. And, if they've done their research, they probably have a good idea who their target market and audience is on the right side of the graphic above. They've done some homework on who their ideal customer profile is, the type of companies that they're trying to sell into. And, many probably also have a pretty good idea of who their target personas are, the buying center personas, i.e., who are the decision makers, end users, key influencers, economic buyers, etc.
Now what sits in the middle is how you connect these two ends, your target audience and the products and solutions that you're trying to sell. And how you do that is by understanding what kind of messages to put in front of those people because you want to offer the right message to the right target at the right time. And "right time" should be specific to where that particular prospect is in their decision making process as described along this buyer journey framework.
The purpose of this framework, therefore, is to provide a better understanding of the pain points and challenges faced by a particular persona, and their decision-making thought process to arrive to a decision to solve for that need. Applying this framework is foundational to establishing the proper messaging for each persona across their decision-making process.
Once the Ideal Customer Profile (the type of company to target) and Persona (the type of person to target) have been identified, the next step is to develop this buyer journey framework for each Persona & ICP segment so that we can have a deep understanding of what drives that particular Persona to make a purchase decision.
There are six stages to this Buyer Journey Framework from SiriusDecisions. They are as follows:
As we can see, arriving at the decision to buy is a process that each persona needs to go through, and different personas care about different things. Thus, we will need to identify the key thoughts or ideas – “value statements” in this framework – that the persona needs to understand at each stage in order for him/her to progress to the next stage. This critical component of identifying the value statements is how to then take all the hard work spent on understanding the ICP and Personas into developing specific messaging that can be applied across the buyer journey.
An example of how this applies is with SDR outreach sequences. Prior to applying this framework, a common pattern in SDR outreach messages is simply to introduce themselves, the company’s product offerings, perhaps list a few well-recognized customer names, and then ask for a very sales-oriented call-to-action such as “let’s schedule a live demo or discovery call”. This type of message may be perfectly fine IF the prospect is already at the “Exploring Possible Solutions” stage, but if the prospect isn’t there yet then that message will fall on deaf ears. Instead, the messages sent by the SDR for prospects at earlier stages of the buyer journey should be focused on reinforcing the pain point, challenging their status quo by painting a picture of old vs new, creating a sense of urgency, etc.
In the next post, I will talk about next steps you can take to operationalize the Buyer Journey Framework.
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