Unlocking the Secret to B2B Marketing ROI: Mastering the Path to Purchase

Are you struggling to maximise your B2B marketing ROI and navigate the ever-evolving SAAS marketing landscape? Understanding and optimising the path to purchase is key to unlocking higher returns on your marketing investments. 

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn how to demystify the path to purchase, leverage customer research, and amp up demand generation for B2B growth. Discover the ultimate showdown between path to purchase and customer journey, and explore the benefits of customer journey mapping software for creating brilliant path to purchase diagrams. Packed with actionable tips, this blog post empowers you to supercharge your SAAS marketing strategies and boost ROI by mastering the path to purchase. Don’t miss out on this goldmine of information—dive in and start optimising today!

This diagram shows the Path to purchase showing awareness, consideration, conversion, and evaluation as the stages.
Source: KMPG

 

Demystifying the Path to Purchase: What’s the Buzz About?

 

The path to purchase can meander across multiple channels and touchpoints, impacting how consumers decide on making their first purchase. These channels can vary and may include apps, search engines, social networking platforms, emails, loyalty programmes, websites, forums, and review sites. Pinpointing these channels will help brands provide top-notch information throughout each stage of the purchase decision-making process.

How to Optimise the Path to Purchase for Brilliant B2B Marketing ROI

  1. Awareness: Awareness is a critical factor in customer decision-making and purchasing behaviour. A recent study by HubSpot revealed that 81% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase. If customers aren’t aware of a product or service, no sales can occur. Therefore, sky-high brand awareness is essential for achieving sales and market success in the realm of SAAS marketing and demand generation.
  2. Consideration: When consumers are gearing up to make a purchase, they typically compile a mental list of their top 3-5 brands. The key for brands is to showcase their expertise, knowledge, and product superiority. By being the brand that genuinely cares and solves problems, you’ll increase the chance of making it onto that coveted list. For instance, when purchasing a car, most owners buy a new vehicle every three years. They’re unlikely to respond to any offer during this period but will be building their consideration list based on the information they’ve gathered about the car market leading up to their purchase. Prospective customers actively searching for a product or service to purchase will already have a solid idea of the brands they want to evaluate. To be considered, brands need to ensure they’ve provided comprehensive sales materials that outline the benefits and technical specifications of their products.
  3. Conversion: Conversion is the finalisation and closure of the decision that a consumer takes. The customer decides during this stage where and when to complete the purchase. A seamless and straightforward sales journey is crucial at this stage for customers. A guided check-out process that accepts multiple payment types and boasts simple, intuitive web pages that are a breeze to navigate provides a fantastic experience for customers.
  4. Evaluation: – Positive customer experience is vital in improving loyalty and repeat purchases. Whilst the evaluation phase might be the least important in the path of purchase, it’s linked with repeat purchases, customer referrals, and advocacy, which can impact brand perception, sales, and long-term profitability.

Supercharge Your SAAS Marketing: Tailoring Strategies for the Path to Purchase

 

In the past, there were various limitations on advertising channels. Today, however, there’s an explosion of channels and information sources that consumers use to make informed decisions about their purchases. Brands need to contemplate the implications of these alternative information sources and craft a stellar strategy to optimise the path to purchase across forums, influencers, review sites, PR, search engines, and traditional advertising channels.

According to a study by Nielsen, 83% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than other forms of advertising. This makes it crucial for brands to capitalise on word-of-mouth marketing and social proof in order to establish credibility in the ever-growing sea of options.

Moreover, consumers are more sceptical than ever due to the proliferation of fake news and the emergence of the ‘deep fake’ trend. The number of options for purchasing goods has increased exponentially, and since customers often buy directly online, they cannot inspect the quality firsthand (this is obviously less of a concern if the business provides a service).

To tackle these challenges and truly supercharge your SAAS marketing, consider the following tips to tailor your strategies for the path to purchase:

Embrace multi-channel marketing: Make sure your brand has a presence on various channels, such as social media, email, blogs, and search engines. This ensures that your target audience encounters your brand at multiple touchpoints, reinforcing your message and making it more likely that they will consider your product or service when making a purchase decision.

Leverage customer research and data analytics: Use customer research, data analytics, and customer journey mapping software to understand your target audience’s preferences, behaviours, and needs. This will help you create targeted, personalised marketing campaigns that resonate with your audience and improve the effectiveness of your B2B marketing efforts.

Focus on building trust and credibility: In an age of increasing scepticism, brands need to establish trust and credibility with their audience. This can be achieved by sharing genuine customer testimonials, showcasing industry certifications, and partnering with influencers or thought leaders in your niche.

Create valuable content: High-quality, informative content can help establish your brand as an expert in your industry. By providing valuable insights and solutions to your audience’s pain points, you can build trust and credibility, ultimately influencing their path to purchase.

Optimise for mobile: With the majority of consumers using mobile devices for research and online shopping, it’s essential to ensure that your website and marketing materials are mobile-friendly. This will help provide a seamless user experience across devices, making it easier for potential customers to engage with your brand and make a purchase.

Source: MOZ

 

Customer Research Goldmine: Pinpointing Your Target Audience in their Daily Adventures

 

With so many channels and platforms that customers can browse, brands must target the locations that have the biggest impact on their purchase decision-making process and where they are spending the most time.

Consider:

  • Email campaigns
  • TV ads
  • Social media ads, communities and content
  • Print ads
  • Content marketing (video content, blogs, newsletters and more)
  • Native advertising
  • SEO content and website
  • Refreshing creative ads frequently
  • Consumer-driven review sites
  • Media reviews
  • Forums
  • Social media influencers
  • Bloggers

It is essential for brands to have accurate and up-to-date information online while keeping their consumers engaged. Brands should refresh creative ads to avoid shoppers becoming “banner blind” (where the creative is familiar and just blends into the background).

Personalisation

Website personalisation is an excellent way for brands to track previous visitors’ behaviour. Personalisation ensures that customers see content and product recommendations that apply to their browsing behaviour and previous purchases.

Provide more information

For more considered purchases that have a longer sales cycle, consumers need more information before they purchase. Include more information and data about products and services to give potential buyers a complete picture of what they are considering purchasing.

Include visual content

Visual content plays a major role along the path to purchase. Entice customers with a visual delight by showing high-impact visuals of the product. According to a study by Insivia, video has eight times more engagement than text-based content, so making sure that video is in the content strategy is vital for B2B marketing and SAAS marketing success.

Amp Up Demand Generation: Influencing the Path to Purchase for B2B Growth

 

Leading brands are working hard to optimise their marketing around their prospective customer’s path to purchase. Brands often lack insight around their customer’s path to purchase, which can harm sales performance (especially in highly considered markets such as auto and B2B marketing). It is crucial that brands ask relevant questions and connect with digital consumers in innovative ways. Consider thinking beyond mass marketing and embrace various touchpoint opportunities.

Path to purchase example of buying a book. It is crucial to remember that the path to purchase is not always linear.
An example of a customer’s path to purchase when buying a book online. It is crucial to remember that the path to purchase is not always linear. Source: Ingram.

 

An audit of how, when, and where consumers encounter and engage with a brand is a brilliant way to assess the path to purchase performance. Ponder these questions:

  1. Where did consumers first encounter the brand? What were the consumers’ first impressions?
  2. What role do forums, social media (Facebook) groups, and consumer review sites play in the path to purchase?
  3. How much impact do bloggers, media reviews, and social media influencers have along the path to purchase?
  4. What information influences customers along their path to purchase the most?
  5. Does the design of the product interest or repel consumers, and how does product design compare to the competition?
  6. Does the packaging provide a superior on-shelf experience, as well as a delightful “opening experience”?
  7. Is the personality and voice of the brand consistent and captivating?
  8. Does the brand personality consistently show at every touchpoint?
  9. Is the brand creating experiences for consumers to engage more with the products?
  10. Where are people going once they encounter the brand online? Is the website optimised?
  11. Is purchasing on the website easy and seamless?
  12. Does the brand have enough call to action along every touchpoint? For example, are customers invited to buy or trial, or is it simply broadcasting a pushy sales message?

The key to successfully optimising marketing programmes to align with the path to purchase lies in building a clear picture of how buyers are engaged across each touchpoint. Optimising content to meet the target customer’s needs at different stages of the journey will improve marketing return on investment.

Path to Purchase vs Customer Journey: The Ultimate Showdown for B2B Marketing Success

 

When it comes to B2B marketing success, understanding the distinction between the path to purchase and the customer journey is essential. While both concepts involve the progression of a buyer through various stages, they focus on different aspects of the purchasing process.

The path to purchase outlines the steps buyers take from initial awareness to the final purchase decision, encompassing various channels and touchpoints that may be outside a brand’s control. According to a Gartner study, B2B buyers spend only 17% of their buying journey with potential suppliers, indicating that understanding the path to purchase is crucial for B2B marketers to engage customers effectively.

On the other hand, the customer journey focuses on the experiences that consumers have within a brand’s owned or controlled channels while purchasing a product or service. Research by McKinsey & Company reveals that B2B companies with outstanding customer journeys achieve 10-15% higher revenue growth and 20% higher customer satisfaction. Thus, optimising the customer journey is vital for brands to create a positive experience and build lasting relationships.

To maximise B2B marketing success, it is critical to align both the path to purchase and customer journey. By utilising customer journey mapping software, brands can create comprehensive path to purchase diagrams that consider all relevant touchpoints. 

Customer Journey Mapping Software: The Secret Weapon for Brilliant Path to Purchase Diagrams

 

Customer journey mapping software has emerged as a game-changer for creating insightful path to purchase diagrams. These tools empower marketers to visualise the entire buying process, identify pain points, and optimise touchpoints for a seamless customer experience.

A Forrester report reveals that companies that excel in customer experience grow revenues 5.1% faster than their competitors. By leveraging customer journey mapping software, brands can ensure they deliver tailored experiences that resonate with their target audience, ultimately boosting revenue and customer retention.

Some key benefits of using customer journey mapping software include:

  • Comprehensive insights: These tools allow marketers to capture a holistic view of the customer’s journey, uncovering gaps in their marketing strategy and revealing opportunities for improvement.
  • Data-driven decisions: Customer journey mapping software can integrate with various data sources, helping marketers make informed decisions backed by customer research and real-time data.
  • Collaboration and alignment: The software enables cross-functional teams to collaborate on a single platform, aligning their efforts towards a unified customer experience strategy.
  • Continuous optimization: As the B2B marketing landscape evolves, customer journey mapping software allows for ongoing updates to path to purchase diagrams, ensuring that strategies remain relevant and effective.

Investing in customer journey mapping software is a smart move for B2B marketers seeking to enhance their path to purchase strategies, drive demand generation, and achieve a competitive edge in the ever-changing world of SAAS marketing.

Top SAAS Marketing Hacks: Actionable Tips to Enhance Your Path to Purchase and Boost ROI

 

To excel in SAAS marketing and drive higher ROI, it’s crucial to focus on your path to purchase. Here are some top actionable tips that will help you enhance your customer journey and boost your B2B marketing performance:

  • Leverage content marketing: According to a report by Demand Metric, content marketing generates three times more leads per dollar spent than traditional marketing. Create engaging and informative content that addresses the needs of your target audience at each stage of the path to purchase.
  • Implement marketing automation: Marketing automation helps you streamline and optimise your demand generation efforts. A study by Marketo found that companies using marketing automation experience a 14% increase in sales productivity.
  • Utilise social selling: Social media plays a significant role in B2B marketing. Focus on building relationships and providing value to your prospects on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, where decision-makers spend their time.
  • Optimise your website: Your website is a crucial touchpoint in the path to purchase. Make sure it’s user-friendly, mobile-responsive, and SEO-optimised to attract and convert more leads.
  • Experiment with interactive content: Interactive content, such as quizzes, surveys, and calculators, can boost engagement and lead generation. DemandGen Report reveals that interactive content generates twice the conversions of passive content.
  • Test and iterate: Continuously monitor your marketing performance and adjust your strategies based on data-driven insights. This iterative approach helps you stay ahead in the ever-evolving SAAS marketing landscape.

B2B SAAS Examples of Winning Path to Purchase Strategies

 

Case Study 1: Trello’s Streamlined Success
Trello, a project management SAAS tool, faced challenges in attracting and converting customers with their existing marketing strategy. They decided to optimize their path to purchase by using customer journey mapping software to identify and improve touchpoints. Focusing on content marketing, SEO, and demand generation, Trello was able to increase its customer base and solidify its position as a go-to B2B project management platform.

Case Study 2: Freshdesk’s Customer-Centric Growth
Freshdesk, a customer support software provider, aimed to acquire more enterprise clients but found their generic marketing tactics limiting growth. To resonate with their target audience, they conducted comprehensive customer research and utilized path to purchase diagrams to tailor messaging. By targeting key touchpoints in the customer journey, Freshdesk effectively expanded its user base, gaining a competitive advantage in the SAAS market.

Case Study 3: Marketo’s Data-Driven Expansion
Facing a saturated market, Marketo, a marketing automation platform, sought to improve customer acquisition and retention by optimizing its path to purchase. They leveraged customer journey mapping software to analyze and personalize their marketing campaigns. By employing data-driven SAAS marketing strategies, Marketo increased customer satisfaction, acquisition, and retention, reinforcing its reputation as a leader in B2B marketing.

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About James

James is an award winning digital strategist with over 20 years experience helping challenger brands and market leaders (Unilever, Diageo, MasterCard, HSBC) launch and scale their data-driven sales and marketing. Connect on Linkedin

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