All companies have some buying process in place, but companies with high growth margins and fast scalability focus in the early days on perfecting the buying process and acquiring as many potential customers as possible.
The buying cycle (also known as a purchase cycle) is the process a customer goes through when purchasing a product or service. Customers move through a sequence in the cycle, and with each stage, they move closer to making a final buying decision.
By mapping out the buying journey that your customers go through, you can process your key messages per stage and persona. The usual buying cycle goes like this:
Awareness is the first stage of the buying process. Potential consumers notice they have a problem that needs solving and try to figure out what options exist. It’s also the stage where companies tend to invest the most in their marketing budget.
When consumers become aware of your product or service and how it can solve their pain, they go to the next stage of the cycle: consideration.
This is the stage of information search where consumers search for information about the options that will solve their problems. This stage is where your sales team takes it forward and provides detailed information about the product to the consumer of the solution.
Once customers are convinced, they need to buy a solution for their problems—whether from you or your competitors—they move to the next stage: intent.
The third stage is intent when consumers get in touch with vendors to request further information about the solutions available and pricing for desired solutions. The consumer will choose the solution based on what makes the most financial, logical, or emotional sense. Your sales team role in this stage is to convince the customers that your solution is the best one out there to solve their problems.
Every customer will be able to pull the purchase trigger eventually and proceed to the next stage: purchasing.
To some business owners, this is the last step, but to others, this is another opportunity to cross-sell and develop strong relationships.
In this stage, it is essential that you schedule follow-ups or reminders after the customer purchase, depending on your product.
This stage will determine if all the effort in the prior stages was worth it. Getting a customer to buy maybe somewhat easy, but getting them to purchase for the second, third, and fourth time is the real challenge.
In this stage, what matters the most is taking customer feedback and turning it into a plan for continuous improvement.
Optimizing every stage of the buying cycle will help turn those leads into buying customers.