You’re already familiar with the idea of the buyer’s journey, yes?  This is separate from your sales process, but should be used as a basis for customizing how you sell to reduce friction & increase alignment with your buyer.

The buyer’s journey really is your sales process.  And it starts without you!

According to SiriusDecisions, the typical buyer’s journey is made up of six phases:

  1. Loosening of the status quo
  2. Commitment to change
  3. Review of options
  4. Commit to a solution
  5. Justification of the decision
  6. Make the final decision

Most companies engage and focus on the last four.  This is your active sales process.

Ideally, a significant portion of your content strategy is focused on the first two.  These have everything to do with the buyer’s situation and little to do with what you sell.  It’s all about identifying and quantifying a problem that needs solving, clarifying an outcome that is desirable but not yet attainable.

Great content strategies combine your understanding of the target buyer, mapped to these buyer journey stages, to put the right content in front of the right prospect at the right time.

But if you follow that too closely, you will miss out on a critical seventh stage – a stage that overlaps the whole journey, and includes opportunity to engage before and after.

That stage is simple: it’s all about earning and keeping the prospect’s attention.

Attention can be earned in a number of ways.  Yes, it can be earned precisely by an active buying stage-specific piece of content.  But your buyers are more interesting, more diverse, more curious than that.

For example, let’s say you’re an amazing B2B sales & marketing consulting firm.  You’re target audience is B2B sales & marketing professionals who need help growing their pipeline.

Your content probably covers – well, elements of the pipeline.  It points out gaps in your prospect’s current strategy, changes to the market that could require adjustments to how they sell or drive leads, etc.

But if you know the audience well enough, you also know they struggle with productivity.  They want to learn from each other.  They’re curious which technologies are worth checking out.

Some of these and other topics may lightly touch on elements of the formal buyer journey, but they also work well to earn and keep the prospect’s attention.

If everything you share is about work, you will limit the number of times prospects want to hear from you.

Your prospects care about results.  But they also occasionally care about nachos.