Leads have existed as the heart of the sales pipeline for decades. However, prospects enter the sales funnel at different stages with different knowledge — carrying different needs. Treat them the same way and your ROI will likely decline.
Buyer intent marketing is the paradigm strategy designed to manage each lead based on its individual characteristics, delivering timely solutions that increase the chances of converting them to paying customers.
Buyer intent represents a customer-centric philosophy driven by search data and behavior observance — that enables the mapping of a prospect’s position within the buyer’s journey to determine message targeting.
All sales begin with the search for the solution to a problem — The Observing Stage
Observing and identifying buyer intent begins with a change in the way we approach the sales cycle. Instead of starting with the product as the focus, the needs of the prospect take center stage. Whenever a buyer accesses the internet for information, it’s typically to solve a challenge or answer a question.
While this might sound like a basic concept, the influence that this shift in thinking has on the way your company delivers its product or service can be gigantic. Instead of the product or service being the solution, consider your company’s offerings as a conduit to the actual solution for the prospect’s needs.
Placing the customer first means customizing your approach to marketing and communications based on a variety of factors. Clues these factors — collectively considered buyer intent — might include such elements as search behavior, content engagement, and social media behavior.
Gathering and prioritizing buyer intent data for strategy creation — The Analyzing Stage
The results gathered from observing buyer intent should be used to create strategy going forward. It’s time to make connections — connections between prospect need and the marketing messaging used to fill those needs. Remember that customization is the key that will make each prospect feel as though you’re delivering exactly what they want, at exactly the right time.
Creating a map of the sales cycle with sequential activities that help recognize buyer intent can provide a holistic view of the process. Cyclic examination also encourages team buy-in, with input coming from a variety of stakeholders within your department:
- Customer Service
- Product Management
K&A Tip: If data analysis just isn’t your thing — or it is, but you just don’t have the bandwidth — a specialized marketing agency can provide in-depth reporting and summary of the critical information that drives decision-making.
Buyer intent is injected across multiple customer touch points — The Channeling Stage
Once you’ve gathered buyer intent marketing data, performed metric analysis, and created a driving strategy, it’s time to shape your marketing efforts to match the needs and knowledge of your prospect. This is the time for the customization of messaging and solutions that demonstrate your understanding of your prospects.
The primary building products channels that lend themselves to buyer’s intent include:
- SEO. Because buyer intent is a search portal-based element, optimizing microsites and landing pages for various funnel segments leverages “measurement proof” data
- Keyword Optimization. Again, search is king — optimizing and prioritizing keywords based on buyer intent can reduce your PPC costs and maximize your ROI for your primary as well as long-tail bids
- Sales Copy. Anticipating buyer intent can empower you to create compelling messaging for squeeze pages and landing pages based on where your prospects are in the sales cycle
- Content Marketing. Build massive, responsive email lists of prospects by creating the type of content your audience is searching for — content that answers their most poignant questions
- Lead Generation. Qualifying leads can also have an optimal effect on your ROI — not to mention powering targeted advertising and marketing automation that manages each prospect individually for intent
Remember that just because a strategy is put into motion, it’s responsiveness that wins the day. By examining real-time campaign data and results, your business products firm can make adjustments that maximize ROI.
Managing the prospect who’s not intending to buy right now — The Nurturing Stage
Despite the governing principles of buyer intent, there are occasions when leads simply drop out of contention, for whatever reason. Rather than toss this action up as a lost cause, consider it an opportunity to re-engage at a later date through lead nurturing. Lead nurturing refers to the process of providing periodic information to a prospect to incent incremental engagement within the sales cycle.
Some of the activities that lend themselves to nurturing a construction and building products lead include:
- Topic Education. Covers any building product technique or process that might be a focus of your prospect or their customers
- Product Reviews. Examines the latest new products and services that are currently out or are on the horizon
- Industry News. Changes in regulation, legislation, or governing rules that influence the ebb and flow of the industry
- Company Updates. An opportunity to keep your building products business news on the minds of potential customers
The best part about lead-nurturing is that it’s one of those passive marketing activities that can be placed on autopilot with the potential for a big payoff down the road.
K&A Tip: Creating an autoresponder campaign — whether it be email- or newsletter-driven, is a smart way to nurture a lead while still keeping a finger on the pulse of intent.
Kleber & Associates can examine your customer lifecycles and decode the buyer intent of your prospects. With our strategies and resources in place, we’ll provide you with the insight you need to fine-tune your ad campaigns and earn the highest ROI on every marketing dollar you invest.
Kleber & Associates (K&A) is an Atlanta-based marketing and communications firm that focuses exclusively on building materials manufacturers and building products. Our integrated marketing spirit specializes in brand development for clients in the home and commercial building products marketplace. For more information on our capabilities, please call +1-770-518-1000 or visit http://kleberandassociates.com/contact/.