Everyone loves data these days. And it comes in handy when you’re trying to understand buyers (the key to influencing their decisions). However, data is just the beginning. To approach audiences based on their needs, not what you think their needs are, you have to dig a little deeper than measurable actions (data) and understand the psychology behind what people do. You need to understand the buyer’s “Why?”.

Understanding and influencing the buyer journey means actually talking with a reasonable number of customers to find out how and why they chose you. A pattern will emerge that gives you invaluable information to help you craft effective marketing messages and perfect your sales processes.

This “soft” research can be completed in a number of ways. The most common methods are surveys, interviews and focus groups. You also can search for product/service reviews online to see what people are saying about products like yours, but that method leaves you with generic information that may or may not apply to your own products. Your own company’s reviews or testimonials likely only give a surface analysis of buyer needs and behavior.

It’s good to control of the questions you ask buyers in a survey or interview and be able to follow up with a second and even third layer of questions as needed to gather more details.

Key Areas for Buyer Journey Interviews

There are five key areas your interview or survey questions should cover to help you acquire the deeper psychological information you need about your buyers’ state of mind during the buying process:

Priority initiatives. These are insights into why the buyer decided to pursue this type of product.

Sample questions: What was happening in your life that made you realize you needed a product like this? Please describe the moment you decided to look for this product – what was the trigger for you? 

Success factor. Understanding what went well during the buying process helps you identify what you may be able to repeat to appeal to new customers.

Sample questions: What did you like best about working with us to purchase this product? What do you feel went well about the buying process?

Perceived barriers. If you can identify areas where the customer was NOT happy or could see room for improvement in your processes, it can help you make changes that avoid alienating new customers going forward.

Sample questions: Where did you feel our company could make improvements in the buying process? What did you like least about working with us to purchase this product?

Decision criteria. Every buyer has a mental or even written list of criteria they use to decide which vendor or provider to choose. If you know the list most people use, you can make adjustments to ensure your product or service fits.

Sample questions: What criteria did you use to decide who to purchase from? What were the non-negotiables that had to be in place with any company you bought this product from?

Buyer’s journey insight. This is where you ask the buyer to narrate the entire story of their purchase, from identifying their own need for a solution to choosing a provider/vendor and completing the purchase.

Sample questions: Please describe the story of your purchase with us from beginning to end – from the moment you decided you needed this product through your decision-making process to the final purchase.

yorCMO uses a very specific, formulated process to conduct buyer interviews. It is designed to efficiently and comprehensively gather all the insight you need into the psychological journey of your own buyers. The result is a “buyer persona,” like this sample, that you can use along with applicable data to achieve greater success with your marketing and sales processes. Ask us for more information, and let’s get you started!

About the Author:

Suzie is an accomplished Marketing professional with 12 years of broad exposure developing and leading strategic marketing efforts in support of company goals and brand growth.

Whether at a small business or a Fortune 500 company, Suzie is known for helping local and national organizations tell their stories in ways that generate results. She creates value through a disciplined strategic planning process that is built upon communication and accountability.

Prior to joining yorCMO, Suzie worked with a variety of industries including real estate, retail, higher education, pharmaceuticals and technology. She is a hands-on marketing executive who is skilled in positioning, analytics, messaging, branding, targeting and digital marketing. Suzie also brings the added advantage of a strong creative background including design, writing and art direction.

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