Lead Generation: How to Map Buying Stages

What kind of content do you want to send to your persona and when? It is crucial to send the right piece of content at the right time. This is why you want to map your organization's buying stages.

Someone who is just learning about your company isn't ready for a case study, so don't send him one. Conversely, a prospect may not want another educational asset if they are ready to buy. The idea is to move each prospect down your buying funnel with content.

Typically, most companies have buying stages that look similar to the following list:

  • Early stage: Your prospect has not yet indicated any buying intent or preference for your company. He most likely has just started the research phase. The content you send your prospect in this stage must be educational in nature and relevant to your prospect's interest.

  • Mid stage: Your prospect may have indicated some interest in either your company or your product/service. The content you offer at this stage is geared toward helping your buyer differentiate your product from the competition so the right purchasing decision can be made. For instance, you want to offer buying guides, ROI calculators, and other content very closely related to your core product or service.

  • Late stage: Your prospect has indicated strong interest for your product or service. She is well on her way to purchasing, and you should offer her pricing sheets, datasheets, and customer case studies. This is where you include your product-specific content assets. Sales may also be engaged at this time.

The following figure shows an example of content that is mapped closely to each buying stage. As the buyer gets closer and closer to purchasing, the content narrows to become more specific.

Buying stage mapping.
Buying stage mapping.

Depending on how many personas you created, you may want to create separate buying stages for each persona. For instance, if you have a CMO and a practitioner persona, they might have two completely different buying processes. Consider documenting each. This can help you segment and target even further.

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