Why you should align CRM stage names with the buyers journey


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Problem:  Sales process is misaligned with Buyers Journey

Let’s face the new reality- buyers can access a whole lot more about their solution options and customers are in the driver seat.  Too many times we’ll see a B2B business implement CRM and when it gets to setting up their sales process steps, it turns to being all about them.  Have they not taken buying changes into their planning for managing opportunities?  It would seem to be a smarter plan to closely tie sales with the buyers journey.  Buyers do have a process although some times this is ‘fuzzy’ and can be greatly helped by actively facilitating their buying process.  Better yet – get to know your customer well enough to anticipate their needs and be a helpful guide on their journey.

If the probability of closing a marketing lead is 28% higher for companies that let their marketers change their CRM stages, and 88% higher if those new stages are buyer stages not seller stages, why do only 24% of marketers make this change?

That was a great question that has been raised by Hugh Macfarlane in his blog article. In it, Hugh explains the Buyer’s Journey – a phrase he coined in 2003 when he wrote The Leaky Funnel 

Steps to consider in the buyers journey and which apply to marketing and sales planning in your organization:

  • Business is untroubled and unaware
  • Positioned in Category
  • Interest Established
  • Gap Acknowledged
  • Need Agreed Upon
  • Offer Understood
  • Preference Formed
  • Decision Made
  • Revenue Received
  • Implementation
  • Follow up value review

What to look for in your CRM System:

Select a CRM solution that allows you to tailor your ‘sales process’ associated with Opportunity management component of your CRM. This is easy with both Act! Contact management or Saleslogix CRM.  Also make sure the CRM you use has the ability to configure different sales processes for different types of business buyers. One type of opportunity may need to have more detailed gap analysis or Solution options then simpler buyer purchases.

Example in Saleslogix of Buyer process within a B2B sales process:


How to make your strategy more buyer-centric video by Hugh. All businesses strive to recognize the needs of buyers when developing strategies for sales success. You research met and unmet needs, teach your salespeople to understand business requirements and take pride in meeting those customer demands. How, though, can you more fully acknowledge buyers when shaping your strategy?

Check out the rest of Hugh’s videos on Youtube.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dick Wooden
CRM specialist to help you get the answers you need with sales, service, and marketing CRM software. I help mid-sized businesses select, implement and optimize CRM so that it works the way their business needs to work. My firm is focused on client success with remarkable customer experience, effective marketing and profitable sales using CRM strategy and tools.


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