Generating sales and revenue is the lifeblood of any business. Regardless of industry, whether that be product or service based, it all starts with establishing your brand within your particular niche.
A business won’t be able to really take flight without customers, regardless of what products or services your company offers. Therefore, it is vital for any business to be found to begin the process of growing your business.
This is an important aspect that we will dive into here today. How can you be discovered? And once you are, what steps should you make to ensure you are helping your leads turn into customers and eventually make a sale? Once sales are made, what steps should you take to ensure that your customers come back to you for more and provide you with a steady stream of income and profit for your business?
The Growth Manager’s Angie Martin was recently invited to be a guest on a podcast episode by Holistic Vision Business & Marketing Consultancy’s Ameeta Gangaram to talk about Consumer Sales Journey, and how it can be your business’s marketing’s best friend.
What is a Consumer Sales Journey?
The meat of the podcast was centred on the Consumer Sales Journey and why it is your business’s marketing’s best friend. Angie shared that there are a lot of people who are embarrassed to ask what a Consumer Sales Journey is because they feel they should already know it.
A Customer Sales Journey is simply the interaction you and your potential customer have that begins the moment they find you to the moment they make a purchase/s or engage your service/s. But it doesn’t end there. A consumer journey extends beyond purchase, which we will discuss further down below.
A consumer journey is all about creating a full experience for a lead that evokes all cognitive, affective sensory, and behavioural consumer responses throughout all stages of the consumption process.
The underlying goal is to ensure a positive mental and physical experience for clients, which ultimately leads to a sale, and if you don’t stop after the sale, it can also help you in creating a loyal target market.
The Stages of a Consumer Sales Journey.
Each potential lead embarks on a journey that may ultimately lead to purchasing your product/s or service/s. Angie enumerates that the goal of most businesses is to make a sale. With consumer journeys, you have to plan one out and create a strategy for it.
There are five stages to a consumer stage journey, as Angie shared in the podcast, namely:
- Awareness stage – This stage is where a user first encounters your brand. They may have discovered you through marketing, information gathering, or when they are simply looking for clear messaging that caters to their initial needs. It’s important to remember that the user is not yet looking to purchase at this stage.
- Pre-purchase stage – Your lead is considering the pain points and looking at your offerings on how they can help alleviate what ails them, but still don’t know where to go to help solve it.
- Review stage – They already know the solution to their problem but are now in the stage where they are mulling options, and perhaps comparing your offerings with that of your competitors.
- Purchase stage – At this stage, they have already decided which product or service provider they will go with. Ensure you leave no gaps or voids between this stage and your first contact. Duly acknowledge them and guide them along their journey to move them into the next stage.
- Post-purchase stage – Here is where many businesses fail. Getting feedback from customers is vital on how your solution made their lives easier, as well as providing you with insights on how you can improve your offerings further.
It’s also at this stage where you can upsell more of your offerings that will enhance what they already purchased from you. And it is also the stage where you can build and keep that relationship going by giving them added value to what they already have.
Whatever kind of business you run, it doesn’t matter. Each stage or phase of the journey brings with it its own set of challenges. Your goal is to help guide your customer through each stage towards your ultimate goal, and which is to make a sale.
The exercise helps you break down the actual process of how you take your potential customer through and ensure a positive and pleasurable experience at each stage of the journey.
The point is to make sure that you understand your target customer, what their mental and physical needs are, and their experience with either working or buying something from you. By having a well-mapped and clearly defined customer sales journey, you will be able to create a loyal target market that will keep on buying, or be a word-of-mouth ambassador for your brand and business.
Why is a Consumer Sales Journey Important?
Ameeta asked Angie, why is a Consumer Sales Journey important for businesses to understand. Angie stated that it’s a matter of business growth and making sure that you’re attracting and nurturing the right consumer to help you build your business.
A consumer journey helps to ensure you are onboarding the ideal consumer in such a way that your efforts appeal to them, builds trust that ultimately creates loyalty, and make them rave about how amazing you are.
Sales can be a scary exercise. But, if you understand who it is you are targeting or selling to, the easier the process will be. A happy customer is the best prospect you can have that leads to brand loyalty, and may even become advocates or promoters for your business through word-of-mouth. They are the best people your marketing money doesn’t have to buy.
As business owners, it is only logical to be thinking about profit and sales when we are putting ourselves out there. It is practically what we need to be able to expand and grow. It makes it so much easier when we factor in the next step, putting them in place, and leading them towards the path you want your consumers to take.
How can a Consumer Sales Journey be Incorporated into your Marketing?
Asked how a Consumer Sales Journey can be incorporated into your marketing strategy. Angie responded that having a sales journey in theory is great, but it’s pretty much useless if it is not activated and implemented. She adds that marketing and sales should work hand in hand, you simply can’t have one without the other.
She clarifies that you can, but you’ll not be reaping the benefits to their full extent. Angie elaborated further on the different stages of a sales journey. Do note that customers’ expectations are crucial and that 80% of customers consider their experience/s with a company as important as its products or services offerings.
In the awareness stage, the use of social media is highly beneficial along with any lead magnets, email marketing, free resources, blogs, etc. These are all viable marketing tools you can use at the beginning stage of the consumer journey, where you need to capture their attention.
Most of your introductions are done through your content creation with your marketing, and through your website, Angie adds. And as soon as they come to your website, that’s when you begin to open doors for them as they begin their exploration of what products or services you offer. They might have enquiries by filling out an enquiry form, calling, or emailing you. They might even sign up for your newsletter database to get a promotional code or sign up legitimately to consume your content.
At each stage of the journey, you give them a sense of who you are, and what you can offer that sets you apart from your competitors. You also get what pain points they want to be resolved, and it is also where you can offer help to support them.
Here, your marketing comes into gear and nurtures that relationship through ongoing sales marketing and email marketing. This stage is also where your sales strategies work by conducting sales calls and/or sales emails.
But it’s not over once the customer finally makes a sale/purchase. You still have to continue marketing to them and build on that relationship with email strategies, ensuring they get the best experience, so they have the incentive to come back for more.
Steps to creating a Consumer Sales Journey.
The expectations of customers are constantly changing. You need to figure out how to meet these ever-changing expectations in order to maintain a smooth customer journey.
Understanding and optimising the customer journey is an excellent way to understand and improve the customer experience. Thus, you can ensure that you are interacting with your customers at every stage of their journey.
As a business owner, mapping out the customer journey assists you in gaining insight into your customers’ pain points. It will be possible to deliver optimised and personalised experiences to customers with these valuable insights. It is also where you find at what stage they bounce out, giving you the opportunity to adjust your strategy accordingly.
In order to deliver a seamless experience to your customers, you should be able to reach them through multiple channels and touchpoints. Your customers will inevitably have questions, and you’d want to provide them with the answers and reassurances they need to commit to a purchase. You must learn to walk in your customer’s shoes to be able to map out their customer journeys effectively.
In this section of the podcast, Ameeta asked Angie for some practical steps to help business owners through each of the stages of the consumer sales journey. Angie relayed the following steps you need to complete when creating a consumer journey:
- Know your audience – Know what it is they are looking for. Know what their pain points are, and know how these pain points affect the way they live.
- Understand and know what it is you are offering – This not only covers knowing about your product or the service you do but how your offerings can impact and change your consumers’ lives.
- Know the stages in your strategy of your consumer journey – Break it down to at least the three basic stages, the awareness, consideration, and decision stages to take your target consumer through every single step of the way.
- Optimise your consumer sales journey and automate it – This is the part where you come in, but you don’t have to manually do any of this. You have to optimise and get everything automated. This includes email automation, social media messages, website automation, the use of bots, and many more. By automating and optimising, you won’t have to do the work manually each and every time.
- Future stage – Your engagement with your customer should not end once a purchase has been made. Incorporate a process to nurture and continue that relationship to have them come back. Offer them discounts or birthday vouchers. Upsell items that would complement their previous purchase. Whatever you do, make sure to keep that relationship going even after purchase or engagement.
How can you start creating your Consumer Journey, today?
Creating a Consumer Sales Journey, regardless if you’re in a product-based or service-based industry, can be accomplished by first understanding your target consumer, Angie shared in the podcast. Targeting those who are already in the mental mindset to buy would be easier to work with. And laying out your offer in a clear and well-defined way will make it much easier not only for you but more importantly for your consumer.
By following the steps presented above, you would be able to create a loyal following and a target market that will keep coming back, over and over again. And best of all, they can turn into your own word-of-mouth ambassadors.
Angie added that in whatever you do, with your sales, marketing and your strategies for business growth, to always be consistent. The more consistent you are in focusing on your business, the more consistent you’re going to see growth.
For a more detailed approach to how you can best start creating your own consumer sales journey, we invite you to go to The Growth Manager’s website. Where we have a free resource on the five steps to building a consumer sales journey. This free resource can help you a great deal with creating your own consumer journey strategy, succeeding, and enhancing your professional and personal lives. Get found online and grow your business, today!
If you want to have to listen to this great podcast with Holistic Vision Business & Marketing Consultancy’s Ameeta Gangaram and The Growth Manager’s Angie Martin, please follow this link to the podcast.