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A CIO doesn’t suddenly wake up one morning and decide to buy a new CRM, or suddenly begin researching why his content isn’t driving the engagement it should.  Something has happened to push the CIO and his company into the first stage of their buying journey.

A buyers’ buying journey doesn’t just begin out of nowhere. Exploring where buyers are coming from must be the first step to truly understanding how buyers buy.  What’s happening prior to the first actions they take in their journey influences a buyer’s goals, mindset, and behavior throughout their purchasing process. As a marketer, this is a goldmine of knowledge to apply to your strategies, tactics, and content marketing.

Before a buyer’s buying journey even begins, there is an initial buyer state from which prospective buyers emerge.  In this state, potential buyers may be experiencing a latent pain they’re aware of, but they’re not sure if they should – or can – do anything about it. They may not know much about the pain point – what’s causing it, just how significant the consequences of it are, how or if it can be solved, and how to even define it. But they’re certainly feeling it. Other potential buyers in this state may be experiencing the pain but not yet even aware of it. Or others in this state may not yet be facing the pain point, but they will in the future or perhaps even know colleagues facing such issues.

Potential buyers in the initial state are not looking for any solutions or conducting research yet. But eventually there’s a catalyst that ignites their interest in learning more, pushing them to the tipping point and into the first stage of their buying journey. The catalyst may be that the pain they’re experiencing becomes too significant to overlook any longer. Or, the catalyst may be something they read or hear that they recognize is related to their pain, or that sparks their curiosity. Whatever the catalyst is, it propels them to take action.

Today’s buyers are in control of their buying process – they choose when they’re starting it and if they’ll continue it.  But marketers still have a big opportunity to influence their decision-making.  By understanding the pains and business challenges your potential buyers are experiencing in the initial buyer state, marketers can create the right messaging and content that may act as the catalyst propelling buyers into their buying journey, or that ensure your company is top of mind as the buyer steps forward and enters the first stage of their journey. This content should drive awareness of the pains and challenges and promote your brand as thought-leaders for when the buying journey does begin. Also, understanding the initial buyer state helps Product effectively build features and capabilities to address buyer pain points with specific product use cases.

Before you build your journey maps, collaborate with Marketing, Sales, and Product to define the initial buyer state for each of your buyer personas.  Once you have this, you can more efficiently and effectively start mapping your buyers’ buying journey, from initial consideration to purchase decision and finally to implementing and using.

Read our Whitepaper:
How to Create In-Depth Buyer’s Journey Maps