Today’s B2B buyer journey is far from linear. In fact, I'd say it looks more like a maze drawn by Dr. Seuss than it does a straight path.
Throughout the B2B sales process, it’s important to keep in mind that buyers are not static – their needs, criteria, and behavior can (and likely will) change over time. To maintain positive momentum with your sales cycle, it’s critically important to keep your messaging fresh and relevant to the pain points your prospects are experiencing and where they are in the funnel. With this in mind, we’re going to take a look at the different pain points buyers are experiencing at each stage and how to shift your messaging to resonate with your prospects.
Top-of-funnel buyers (Awareness stage)
Buyers at this stage are just getting a sense of the landscape, they may or may not have their specific goals and KPIs defined, and might not yet know what success looks like. One important thing to note here is that some prospects may be feeling overwhelmed by the task they have to complete or the solution landscape overall. This is key because we want to avoid overwhelming them with information, which can lead to a prospect simply choosing to do nothing rather than deal with the headache of tackling their difficult task. Top-of-funnel pain points might include:
- Knowing they have a problem, but don’t know exactly how to solve it
- Being overwhelmed by the solution landscape
- Not knowing how to define their goals or what success looks like
- How will this affect their organization’s revenue?
Examples of top-of-funnel pain points:
- “Our website analytics platform doesn’t tell me anything about our target audience.”
- “I’m having trouble tracking my prospect’s journey.”
- “None of our technologies integrate with each other, and we are tired of using so many platforms.”
- “We need to drive more demand, pipeline, and revenue.”
- “We spend too much time doing administrative or repetitive tasks rather than revenue-generating activities.”
Your messaging for top-of-funnel buyers should focus on consulting the prospect and guiding them through what may seem like a daunting task for them.
- Providing resources about your solution and the overall market landscape.
- Helping them define their problem and what success looks like in their industry.
- Empowering them with the right information to achieve their goals.
- Painting the big picture and end results of the implementation. Not focusing heavily on features.
Types of content buyers may find useful:
- Blog posts
- How-to videos
- Checklists or tipsheets
Middle-of-funnel buyers (Consideration stage)
Buyers at this stage of the funnel have a good idea of who the major/minor players are in the space and likely have a list of the companies they are researching and considering. They may already be talking to some companies – shopping around, getting pricing quotes, etc. In addition, buyers at this stage probably have their specific goals and KPIs in mind. Some mid-funnel pain points might be things like:
- Prioritizing capabilities that are requirements versus those on their “wish-list”
- Establishing the criteria for success
- Integration into their current systems and processes
- Comparing cost and benefits of yours and other possible solutions
Examples of middle-of-funnel pain points:
- “I’m having trouble convincing my executive team to move forward with this.”
- “What do onboarding, implementation, and customer success look like?”
- “What capabilities are available with each vendor?”
- “Will a new platform integrate with existing systems/platforms?”
Messaging for buyers in the consideration stage should focus on the features and benefits of your solution.
- Information about why your solution is the right choice for them
- Include more nuanced criteria of selecting a vendor
- Comparison tools for prospects to evaluate your solution over others
- Why other companies (like theirs) have purchased your solution and the value they're receiving
Types of resources buyers may find useful:
- Case studies
- Comparison guides
- Free trials
- Customer reviews/testimonials
Bottom-of-funnel buyers (Decision stage)
Buyers at this stage of the process have only a couple of companies on their shortlist, and they are likely deep into talks with them. At this stage, the prospect will likely choose whichever company and technology they deem the best fit for their needs. Some common bottom-of-funnel pain points are:
- Getting budget approved
- Determining the ROI of a solution
- Implementation strategy
- Redlines from the Legal department
- Struggling to achieve buy-in from key decision-makers
Examples of bottom-of-funnel pain points:
- “Our finance department says we do not have the budget for this at the current price.”
- “We’re going to wait till next quarter/next year.”
- “One of our existing platforms now offers this feature as an add-on.”
- “What is included in the setup cost? On-boarding? Training? Support? etc.”
Messaging for bottom-of-funnel buyers should be centered around justifying your solution’s cost and empowering your internal champion to sell for you. This could include things like:
- Showing real-world ROI for your solution
- Enticing prospects with extended free trials, discounts, multi-product bundles, etc.
- Increasing company loyalty by sending product, or company swag, or direct mail
- Highlighting additional capabilities, use-cases that could be accomplished with your solution
Types of content buyers may find useful:
- ROI calculations
- Extended free trial
- Case studies
Understanding where your prospects are in the buying cycle and how their organization flows to get decisions done is the key to personalizing your messaging to speak directly to their pain points. When done properly, this will not only make your messages more engaging and powerful, but it will also make you come across as more knowledgeable and empathetic to their specific needs. This will allow you to become a trusted advisor to them – giving you the air of authority in their buying decision.
If you’d like to learn more about using first-party intent data to understand where your website visitors are in their buying process, check out our article on Account Scoring.