sales funnel stagesAre you a software technology company that invests in SEO and PPC in the hope that, once found, your website will convert users directly to a demo of your product?

To do so is an oversimplification of the customer journey. What if a user isn’t ready to sign up for a demo? What then?

This “premature demonstration” user experience approach is likely to only resonate with the less than 5% of visitors that are at any one time ready to take a demo or make a purchase decision. So what about the other 95%?

Getting found by the your target audience is a great start but are you doing anything to make them stay on your website, come back, consume more content and tell you more about themselves? Is your website screaming “Buy Me!” or is it whispering in a gentle voice: “I know you want to learn about X so here is the answer – just go to Y.”

Why it is critical to understand the customer journey

Your sales leads are likely to go through similar stages on their journey from discovery to purchase. Typically these are:

  1. Prospect is unaware and then they find your website.
  2. Interest is established – your prospect wants to gather more details on the problem.
  3. Problem is acknowledged this is the point when a prospect’s interest in action is aroused, i.e. “What steps can I take?”
  4. Looking for a solution – the bottom of the funnel stage and the perfect time to approach a prospect with the offer of a demo or trial.

The role of content in the customer journey

In order to woo your prospects to the much-desired buying decision, you need to make sure you are offering them valuable insights at each stage of their interaction with your website. This is why it is particularly important to know where they start their journey, what issues they are likely to be searching for, and make sure you are there, ready to respond with valuable content.

This is where persona development is critical. Before you begin thinking about SEO and lead generation, you need to put yourself in your prospects’ shoes!

Once a lead has taken action, you know that their interest has been established and that they want to learn more about an issue. This is the critical time to nurture your prospects by serving up the information they have been looking for. This says to a prospect that your business knows what they are looking for and is keen to offer a solution to their issue.

The importance of marketing automation

Finally, a software tech company can convert existing leads into customers more effectively by analysing and responding to each individual user, based on their actions. Your content assets are extremely critical to your success. They need to be delivered in a relevant, customer-sensitive way and mapped out to all the stages of the customer journey. Otherwise, your target leads will find the information they are looking for elsewhere and take alternative advice from your competitors.

Understanding the stages of the journey and providing relevant content is only part of the process. In order to move the lead through the buying stages you need to have the ability to analyse their online behaviour and be able to trigger the right content responses tailored to their actions.

To gain such granular marketing intelligence you can implement a marketing automation solution – it provides you with both the analytics and the event-based triggers that you need to move leads through the sales funnel and make their user journey a positive experience – from awareness to purchase.