One of the most challenging factors of providing an exceptional sales experience is knowing how and when to approach your prospects. Each prospect may require a different level of engagement before they can move onto a purchase decision.
In fact, it can take 8+ touchpoints before a purchase takes place, and each of these touchpoints can be mapped to different stages in the buyer journey.
But what are the best touchpoints to incorporate in your buyer’s journey? How do reps know when to reach out to the buyer and when they are ready to take the next step?
We’ll go over these questions and share practical tips for mapping your own touchpoints below.
Learn how you can map journeys according to buyer behavior with Bigtincan.
What are sales touchpoints?
Touchpoints are the moments when a buyer interacts with your brand, whether it’s via your company's website, by email, phone call, LinkedIn, demo, or some other type of outreach. Touchpoints in the buying journey typically follow a trajectory that occurs in stages: awareness, consideration, and decision.
Sales touchpoints in particular outline every point of contact the buyer has with your sales reps, from the discovery call through the closing of the sale.
Because "there is no set definition in terms of the steps within the customer journey, as this will most likely vary between industries and even companies (source)" the chart above is left largely blank to serve as a broad template to be filled in as you map customer journeys.
Some tips on sales touchpoints for sales teams:
- Sales teams should focus on the touchpoints within the consideration and decision phases, since Marketing typically covers the awareness stage.
- No journey will be exactly the same, but after a while there will be recognizable patterns for different customer profiles, especially when you identify and find more buyers within your ICP (ideal customer profile). You may have longer or shorter journeys, and they likely will not be so linear.
- To add a level of personalization, incorporate relevant content and resources to your touchpoints that are beneficial to your prospect and keep your brand top of mind.
- In the consideration stage, each touchpoint should include at least one CTA. The primary goal of these touchpoints is to move them into the decision stage.
- In written communications, add a link to book a meeting, add your contact info, or link to redirect scheduling a demo.
Get a framework for effectively leveraging content during the buyer journey in Strategic Content Operations: The Heart of Consultative Experiences.
Why is buyer journey mapping necessary?
Meeting buyer expectations
Most buyer-facing teams recognize they are not meeting buyers' expectations and it reflects in their revenue performance.
Today's buyers have higher expectations of the sales teams they face. Sales teams must retire their traditional funnel-based strategies and adapt to their buyers’ current needs.
Organizations failing to lead buyers to a purchase decision risk falling behind their competitors.
In our study with Heinz Marketing, only 32.5% of respondents believed they were effective at delivering a competitive buying experience that exceeds buyers' expectations
So how do we improve their experience? By mapping out the buyer journey and accurately placing touchpoints at necessary steps.
But keep in mind each prospect is a unique human being, so have some flexibility. It’s good to have a map, but be open to detours when letting the customer lead the way.
Mapping each touchpoint that occurs in your buyer's journey allows your sales and marketing teams to learn more about your prospects and qualify them further.
It may help to start mapping with a generic template or playbook, but make sure to study your customers and use the data to customize touchpoints according to their behavior.
The more data you have, the more precise you can get. And the more precise you get, the better the buying experience is for the customer.
You can improve your buyer retention by delivering the right messaging and supplementary content at the right time.
Is your prospect in the consideration stage?
Then touchpoints should be focused on further product or service education and competitive differentiation and include case studies, whitepapers, videos, and one sheets.
Reps practicing guided selling should also use touchpoints in the consideration stage to assess what buyers learned in the awareness stage and build upon that foundational knowledge.
Properly mapped touchpoints also enable more efficient sales conversions. You can assist the buyer in their journey by creating a pathway of least resistance.
This is where historical data and past buyer engagement help new buyers make better purchase decisions more quickly.
Methods of outreach
For B2B sales outreach, the main focus of your outreach should be during the consideration stage.
Consideration stage touchpoints:
- Phone calls: This is the oldest and longest lasting touchpoint. Modern buyers are less inclined to pick up or interact with cold call outreach efforts, therefore phone calls should not be your first touchpoint, they are most effective in the middle to end of your touchpoint map.
- Email: This is a great way to follow up with your prospects. Whether they are inbound or outbound, using email as a follow-up to form fills or resource downloads adds a great avenue to get in touch with your prospect with a more personalized approach. Attaching relevant content pieces to your emails will resonate with buyers even more.
- LinkedIn: Scattering LinkedIn InMail messages or post interactions between phone calls and emails enables you to reach your prospects through a potentially underutilized channel. Encourage your sales team to develop a digital presence that will instill more confidence in the prospect when they see your InMail. These touchpoints should be shorter than your emails, and the main CTA should be to schedule a call or demo.
Sellers are in a constant battle to be at the top of their prospect's inbox. To avoid overwhelming prospects, timing and organizing your outreach is key.
Adjustments must be made to accommodate the modern buyer. They are overloaded with brands every day, and your touchpoints must be delivered at optimal times for them to have an impact.
Some tips on timing for sales touchpoints:
- Focusing most of your touchpoints on the earlier stages of the buyer journey will enrich the lead quicker. This will speed up the sales process and prepare your buyer-facing teams with all the lead info they need.
- Every organization will have a different range of touchpoints based on the type of product or service they provide.
- Use past data to guide your timing strategy, including the average number of touches before someone converts to MQL, SQL, and Closed Won/Lost. This will serve as a good baseline to start with and help you understand how many touches should be used and the timing between each one.
A starting point for your own map
A common starting point for sales is 10 touchpoints, all using a variety of channels.
Planning how many touchpoints will assist marketing in preparing relevant content to pair with each touch.
Instead of calling a prospect 10 times in a couple weeks, space out your touchpoints and utilize different channels. Ex: 3 phone calls, 2 LinkedIn InMail, 3 emails, over 5-6 weeks.
Creating different outreach cadences for different buyer types can help with timing and segmentation.
Categorizing your prospects based on industry can help you create personalized cadences. For example, your approach to a prospect in tech will be different to someone from a manufacturing company.
Attach respective content to each cadence topic to incorporate a deeper level of personalization in your touchpoints.
- Knowing how and when to utilize touchpoints effectively can positively impact your sales efforts. Using the right touchpoints for the right buyer will speed up the buying process and paint a clear picture of the pathway to a buying decision.
- Mapping your buyer journey provides insight into the timing and number of touchpoints you should use for specific industries, personas, or products and services in your company’s portfolio.
- Although every prospect is different, if you include complementary content in your touchpoints, you are that much closer to enhancing your brand presence and moving to further stages of the buyer journey.
- Using an engagement tool can help optimize touchpoints for individual buyers by analyzing their behavior and providing insight to sellers.
- Every touchpoint with a prospect reveals a new opportunity to put your brand in front of them and gain deeper trust each time in hopes of converting them to a purchase.
See how your reps can reach more customers using data in Bigtincan Engagement.