Understanding the buyer’s journey is at the center of every content marketing strategy. With the proper marketing strategy, your company can attract and develop relationships with prospects that ultimately become paying customers. While there are ways to accelerate the funnel process, it's crucial to understand the road map to nurture your prospects every step of the way.
The average B2B SaaS Buyer’s Journey can be broken into 5 Steps: Awareness, Evaluation, Decision, Retention & Advocacy:
To reduce funnel friction and anticipate a prospect’s needs, put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Pay attention to the questions and concerns of the buyer in each stage and identify content you can create to align with them.
Step 1. SaaS Buyer’s Journey: Awareness
At the very top of the marketing funnel, the buyer is recognizing a challenge or problem they’re facing and decides to find a solution. The prospect now begins to explore their problem, and takes the first step toward understanding how to solve it.
When understanding customers in the Awareness stage, ask yourself the following questions:
- How and where will the buyer research this problem?
- What words will the buyer use to define their problem?
- What “symptoms” are they experiencing?
Creating content for a buyer in the awareness stage, try creating the following content about their pain points, struggles and solutions:
- Educational blog posts
- Analyst reports
- Industry research
Step 2. SaaS Buyer’s Journey: Consideration
A buyer in the consideration stage has now clearly defined their problem and are actively seeking a solution. Now, the buyer is trying to understand what type of solutions meet their needs, what’s too much, and what’s not enough.
When anticipating their needs during this stage, ask yourself these questions:
- What words will the buyer use to research for solutions?
- What pros/cons will they weigh when evaluating alternatives?
- How will the buyer educate themselves on different options?
Content for the consideration stage should answer the above questions and should take the form of:
- Webinars and videos
- Expert guides
- Product site pages
Step 3. SaaS Buyer’s Journey: Decision
In the decision stage, the prospect has weighed all the alternative solutions and is ready to commit to one provider. The buyer is now compiling a list of available vendors or products, and is researching the unique attributes and benefits of each.
When anticipating a buyer’s needs for this funnel stage, ask yourself these questions to put yourself in their perspective:
- Why pick you over a competitor?
- How easy or hard is it to make the purchase?
- What else does the buyer need before they can start using the solution?
Content for this stage in the funnel is aimed at convincing the prospect to buy your product or service over your competitors, so this content should be:
- Case studies
- Demos or trial downloads
- Vendor or product comparisons
- Product literature
What are things specific to B2B SaaS vs. other buyer journeys?
While most marketing funnels end once the product has been purchased, the SaaS buyer’s model has two additional steps: Retention and Advocacy. Because SaaS has a recurring revenue model, it’s not just good enough to win the customer over once -- you have to keep them and ultimately use them to generate more leads and prospects to enter your funnel.
The relationship with the buyer, and the most important part of their customer experience, has just begun.
Step 4. SaaS Buyer’s Journey: Retention
Now that the customer is paying, it’s all about holding on to them - and perhaps encouraging additional purchases or higher tiered services. You keep a client by keeping them happy - and this takes research.
In order to retain your current customers, ask yourself the following questions:
- How does your customer use the solution?
- Where is your solution falling short?
- How do you communicate with your customers?
- Where are your users getting the most value?
To get this insight, ask your customers questions and find out how they’re using your solution, conduct interviews, send satisfaction surveys, or use email outreach. You can also check the service tickets for each customer, and talk to your customer service team about the use cases your clients bring to them for support.
Because you want to continue educating your customers, email marketing is vital in this stage of the buyer’s journey. Reinforce your value proposition, highlight unique features and share other benefits you provide and remind them why they picked you.
Content for customers in the retention stage of the buyer’s journey should take the form of:
- How-to guides
- Email newsletters and campaigns
- Product updates
- Training courses
- Support and documentation
- NPS Surveys
To learn more about retention with SaaS models, check out this webinar on B2B SaaS Pricing to determine pricing strategy to optimize retention.
Step 5. Saas Buyer’s Journey: Advocacy
By properly nurturing and educating a customer through the first 4 stages of the buyer’s funnel, they will arrive at the final stage: Advocacy.
An advocate promotes your solution to others and is a word-of-mouth true believer -- a brand advocate of your solution. These customers are more valuable than any marketing dollars. A genuine recommendation from a real user is powerful, and can support all of your content in the other 4 stages.
Make the most out of your brand advocates by asking yourself:
- How and where are advocates incentivized to spread the word?
- How easy is it for customers to spread the word to peers?
- What about the customer makes them such a good fit for my solution, and can I target a new type of customer I haven’t previously targeted?
- (ie, referral programs, discounts, promotions, etc)
Make sure you’re leveraging these advocates by providing content that includes:
- NPS surveys
How to improve the buyer’s journey?
Understanding the road map of a SaaS buyer will help you guide them down your funnel with the right content and messaging. You can improve the Buyer’s Journey by “making things easy” for them along the way -- anticipating their needs, and giving them the answers to their questions easily.
Do this by asking key questions from the buyer’s point of view and answering them honestly. Ask yourself:
- How do you compare to your competitors?
- At which point might a buyer be lost along the journey?
- Which steps in the journey need the most improvement?
Above all, make sure you’re creating a positive and engaging experience with your customers -- it’s important to attract and engage with new customers, but the real value is in your existing customer base.
To keep improving your B2B SaaS buyer’s journey, learn about how to accelerate the funnel process, reduce friction and metrics for measuring your funnel’s effectiveness.