Align to Buyer’s Journey then Flip the Switch for Marketing Automation

I recently read another great post on the Marketing Automation Software Guide.  The article entitled, Close the Gaps to Close More Sales with Marketing Automation, was written by Sharon Drew Morgan who has written and spoken passionately about the need for new sales models and processes. The central theme to Sharon Drew’s article is that marketing automation systems (when used properly) enable companies to align their marketing and sales efforts to the buyer’s journey. This in turn improves conversion rates and sales effectiveness. Ms. Morgan made another insightful point that I want to comment on later.

But first, the best-practice of aligning marketing and sales to the buyer’s journey isn’t new. It was creatively exposed  in 2003 in  Hugh Macfarlane’s book, The Leaky Funnel. Yet the majority of B2B companies still don’t get it, which Sharon Drew clearly points out in her post. I come face to face with this reality when I coach companies on how to align sales and marketing. Oddly enough the concept of aligning one’s revenue-generation engine to the buyer is  foreign to most companies, but slowly smart sales and marketing executives are “getting it”.

Once sales and marketing processes are aligned to the buyer’s journey then it’s time to turn on the marketing automation system, integrate it with CRM, develop the content strategy, and go into action.

Sharon Drew emphasized that sales and marketing managers must work together to identify the real buyer and get the entire decision-making team on board at the prospect company .

I was reminded when reading her article that marketing automation systems make it possible to offer and efficiently deliver role-specific content to everyone on the decision-making team. Marketing automation systems can even aid the sales team in identifying buyer roles by tracking what type of content they consume.

A check list.

  1. Identify the buyer’s journey.
  2. Align marketing and sales processes to it.
  3. Intelligently use marketing automation integrated with CRM to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time with the right frequency.
  4. Identify and bring to the “table” all of the buyer’s team.
  5. Leverage the marketing automation system to drive a lead scoring process that turns over leads that are ready to engage with you.
  6. Measure. Measure. Measure.
4 replies
  1. Mark Stonham
    Mark Stonham says:

    Charles, a great message and one I’ve been ‘championing’ for over a year now, and I know Sharon Drew Morgan has for considerably more years.
    For many people running start-up and smaller businesses AIDA is simple and also represents progress. Medium and larger companies will have a more sophisticated model.
    Process mapping, streamlining and automating the repetitive low-value steps is also progress, and creates quick wins.

  2. Judy Seiler
    Judy Seiler says:


    Ironically, I just heard someone else talk (in a Webinar) about the need to identify and align with the buyer’s journey.

    On the surface it might be easy to assume this is the same as the ‘traditional’ marketing model:

    Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA).

    But I think the buyer’s journey is more than this – for one the purchase process is more complex today. How? Buyers (especially B2B) want proof of your product claims. So right there the AIDA marketing model warrants a new step — let’s call it evidence.

    Updating the Marketing Model:
    Awareness, Interest, Desire, Evidence, Action (AIDEA)

    Still is Awareness, Interest, Desire, Evidence, Action essentially the buyer’s journey?

    Again, I think the buyer’s journey is more than this formula. The buyer’s journey takes into account touch points, channel preferences, mindset, knowledge level, influencers, and even loops and skips in the process. To name a few factors.

    So what does this mean? How do you decipher the buyer’s journey?

    One viable step to consider is developing detailed target profiles that account for more than just demographic (firmographic) information. Profiles that help discern the buyer’s journey could include:

    > The buyer type: Economic, Technical, User
    > Budget & Authority level (rate on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10)
    > Demographic or firmographics
    > Requirements, needs (relates to pain points)
    > Knowledge level and gaps; product perceptions
    > Motivators
    > Channel preferences (which likely will vary by the type of
    information desired so grid this out)
    > Goals (primary, secondary, tertiary)
    > Decision influencers & validators
    > Competitor product awareness, perceptions
    > Pain points
    > Activities, attitudes
    > Barriers (loops in the process that result from roadblocks)

    Discerning the sales process from the buyer’s perspective can take some time. But it’s worth the effort because in the end it’s not about the company’s process — it’s all about the customer’s process. That is the buyer’s journey!

    Judy Seiler

    P.S. I would love to hear about other tools and tips that help marketers plot the buyer’s journey.

    • Charles Besondy
      Charles Besondy says:

      Judy, try these basic stages of the buyer’s journey. Nothing sacred about them, but it’s a good place to start.
      Untroubled and unaware
      Gap or pain identified
      Need for solution agreed
      Offer understood
      Preference stated
      Decision made
      Solution implemented



Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] never get beyond stage two. Why not? There are plenty of tips out there that focus on mending the leaks in your sales funnel, but I’m not going to discuss incontinent marketing processes […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *