We provide the methods and tools to deeply understand a specific market’s end-to-end Buying Journey. We decode what we call the Buying Journey DNA, including the steps, key activities, players, decision making approaches, value drivers and all the factors that can cause friction to slow or stop this process.
What’s in a Customer Buying Journey?
The Customer Buying Journey is the sequence of activities that anyone takes when acquiring and utilizing something they purchase. Sometimes this journey takes minutes, sometimes years, sometimes it even slows, stops, and loops back on itself. It could be a few keystrokes or it could be a trip across country. It may involve multiple players, decisions and much work, or it may be very simple. And when we refer to the Customer Buying Journey, we not only consider all the surrounding influences, but the complete end-to-end journey that includes the adoption and use of the purchase beyond simply acquisition.
Over the past two decades, we have spoken to thousands of buyers purchasing a wide spectrum of offering: multimillion-dollar software licenses, computing equipment, medical devices and services, elective orthopedic surgery, assisted living for elderly patients, fertility services, disc drives, semiconductors, food, construction projects, financial services, insurance. The list indeed goes on, but we used every opportunity to learn more and more about how people buy.
The Customer Buying Journey DNA
While some buyers might have a hard time describing exactly what their journey entailed, we can say with certainty that buyers in a specific market, when buying a particular offering, will have a remarkably similar buying process. And it is this buying process, or Buying Journey, that can be decoded and mapped resulting in the enlightening array of the Customer Buying Journey DNA.
We determined that the Buying Journey DNA can be decoded into six strands; six defining elements that are shared amongst buyers within a specific market. We even now submit that “Buyers who buy in a similar way and share the same Buying Journey DNA” is the very definition of a market. It then follows that if you can decode the buying journey DNA for a particular market, you can then manage that Customer Buying Journey, and do so in an informed and proactive manner because you will know what is happening, you will know what is down the road.
The event or activity that would give rise to a Buying Journey, as opposed to simply gaining the interest of someone in a particular offering.
Steps, Activities, and Touch Points
The discrete steps that comprise an overall Buying Journey. It should be noted that these steps may be completed in very different elapse times by different customers, and some of these steps may be started and then stopped. Also, a buyer may jump backwards and forwards through the process, but ultimately it will be found that the Buying Journey will comprise the sequential steps of an optimal buying process. Each of the steps of the end-to-end Customer Buying Journey comprises a number of Activities in which they would engage. Some of these Activities are concerned with them requiring, requesting, or needing information from, or consultation with, a prospective supplier. Such Activities are then referred to as Touch Points.
The days of a decision being made by a single decision-maker are now in the past. Buying decisions are now made by a dynamic network of decision influencers. The Key Players are all those roles and positions that are likely to play a part and influence the overall Buying Journey.
When individuals approach a buying decision, they do so with a series of pre-conceived notions of what they want, who they may buy from, and how they will approach their buying decision. Market-Partners Inc. has developed a proprietary model for mapping these dynamics to effectively align sales and marketing to the buying style known as the 4Q, or Four Quadrant Buying Style.
The value drivers are the tangible – or intangible – benefits, experiences, or rewards that the individuals engaged in the Buying Journey perceive that they, or their organization, will gain because of the potential acquisition.
As the various players navigate the Buying Journey, they may develop a number of concerns, anxieties, questions, and fears. These can be very real, or they may be of an emotional nature. These Buying Concerns all serve to slow down, or even stop, the Buying Journey. They are not always expressed and shared with others and they could be the concerns of only a few, or even a single individual. It is these Buying Concerns, however, that cause the friction that occurs in the overall Buying Journey. Market-Partners Inc. research has discerned nine specific categories of concerns.
It’s All About Your Customers Buy… & Why They Don’t
Gone are the days when marketing simply blasts out its messages to the world. Gone are the days when sales people can just turn up with their highly polished presentations and ROI logic. It is time to embrace the very real and practical management of the Customer Buying Journey. In today’s world the singular role for sales and marketing must be to help the customer navigate, and to positively impact their end-to-end buying journey. The imperative for any company wishing to create and keep customers, is to decode their target market’s Buying Journey DNA. And from that, formulate an overall Market Engagement Strategy that will align their resources and investments to impacting and managing that buying journey to its mutually beneficial and profitable destination.