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Demystifying your customer buyer's journey (HubHeroes Podcast, Ep. 3)

Demystifying your customer buyer's journey (HubHeroes Podcast, Ep. 3)

Ahhhh, the buyer's journey. On paper, the buyer's journey is the process by which your ideal buyers become aware of their problem, consider their solutions, and then (fingers crossed🤞) become your customer.  Sounds simple enough, right?

Well, yes ... and also no. 

The conversation around what the buyer's journey really is (and how it works effectively) changes when you look at it through the lens of marketing, sales, and service. Because understanding what the buyer's journey is and how you use it to drive your inbound strategy is so essential to your success – especially if you're just getting started with HubSpot! – we're dedicating an entire episode to the topic.

Even if you think you are a buyer's journey master, you must take notes during this episode. We not only unpack what the buyer's journey is and how it connects to all of the great content you're creating ... 

We also talk about ... 

  • What the true function of content is in your buyer's journey.  Max unpacks this in a way that reminds us that while the buyer's journey isn't rocket science, it's easy to look at it the completely wrong way with your content.
  • How the buyer's journey relates to sales and the sales process – because Devyn has a lot of great takeaways on how to use the buyer's journey to create a better strategy.
  • In my effort to always stay on-brand, I talk about the human side of the buyer's journey, because it's all about your customer, right?  
  • For you seasoned inbounders, we also spend time debunking some of the most insidious buyer's journey myths that may be holding you back.

... and we may or may not have had the first official HubHeroes disagreement? There's only one way to find out! 

Resources for this episode

Some of these we talked about, others we're adding because they're only going to make the episode that much sweeter for you ... 


Remember, you don't control the buyer's journey, your customers do. Heck, it's their journey, right? So, if you remember nothing else today, let it be this – if you're unsure if you're doing the right thing (sending that email, pushing that piece of content to someone), ask yourself, "Have I earned the right to do this?" Yes, you're facilitating the journey of your buyers, but you have to earn their trust along the way.

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HubHeroes Lampoon's Wild, Wacky, Winning HubSpot Forms Adventure (HubHeroes, Ep. 51)

In our world, where HubSpot, inbound, and content reign supreme, it's easy to overlook probably THE MOST ESSENTIAL HubSpot tool that exists. No,...

Meet your HubHeroes

Liz Murphy


Agency vet, content therapist, messaging strategist, HubHero wrangler.

Devyn Bellamy


HubSpotter, partner enabler, strategy wizard, BLACK@INBOUND.

Max Cohen


HubSpotter, senior solutions engineer, CRM evangelist, a millennial on TikTok.

George B. Thomas


HubHeroes leader, growth catalyst, guardian of humans, HubSpot expert.


George B. Thomas (01:09):

So I'm unsure how to start because I'm still giggling. Just so everybody on this episode knows, I will clip out what happened during that intro. It just put it on the internet because, oh my gosh, it's crazy. Speaking of crazy. It's funny to think about that. We're gonna have a conversation around buyer's journey or the buyer's journey today because if you've been doing inbound since 20 10, 20 11, 20 12, whenever you're like, oh my gosh, I've heard about buyers journey or the buyer's journey so much and so many times, but have you heard about it? How we're gonna talk about it, cuz we're gonna bring out some things that we don't think are stated enough or maybe even thought about. And honestly, here's where I go with this gentleman. Today is somebody's day one. Today somebody purchased HubSpot. They just learned about the inbound strategy, like the buyers. Woo. And we're gonna help 'em out right here right now. So let's start very at the top of this conversation, kind of the foundational piece, historically, when you two were training folks, and you had to talk about this framework, this methodology, the buyer's journey, how did you teach it? What did you talk about?


The buyer's journey is a tool to explain what your content should be doing

Max Cohen (02:33):

Yeah. And I'm hoping for anyone listening to this; if you haven't listened to episode two first, listen to episode two, then listen to this one. Cause we talked a lot about the idea of what you're doing and attract and the idea of what good content is, goals, challenges, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We might have even mentioned buyer personas at some point. The way that I always kind of framed up the buyer's journey is a tool to help you explain what your content should be doing? What is the change in mindset? What is your prospect's mindset, and what do you need to do with your content versus just making sure it's valuable. Cause the idea of solving a goal or a challenge at every stage of the buyer's journey. Yeah.

You want to make sure your content's doing that, but there's this mindset shift that you have to be facilitating with your content to get someone to a place where it makes sense for you to eventually say, Hey, we got this product that solves for a problem. But if you haven't already figured out that you have that problem, marketers don't have a right to say, Hey, you should buy our product. The buyer's journey is kind of like utility. You can kind of; it's like an extra layer. You can put all your content to gut check yourself and say, what am I trying to do with this content? What mindset change am I trying to facilitate? So and so forth.

George B. Thomas (03:49):

Well, and it's interesting, right? It's interesting because max, if I unpack just for two hot seconds, the fact that you went marketing and content, okay. I wanna sum that up for a second now, Devin; when you think about the buyer's journey, where does your brain go? How have you historically talked about it?

Devyn Belamy (04:08):

I usually talk about it from a sales perspective. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so when salespeople are talking about what they can do for somebody, it's like max said, a lot of times, people aren't even aware that the problem that you're solving is a problem, or they're like tangentially aware, they're aware of something that's problem adjacent. They might be aware of a symptom of the problem. They might even be trying to solve that symptom but not getting at the root of the issue, not knowing where to begin. And so having a conversation about the buyer's journey is when I'm talking to people that I'm training, I say you think of it as where you're first going to find out the awareness phase, understanding for you, understanding what the person's problem is, and then helping the other person understand what the problem is. And that happens through a conversation.

And then the consideration phase is when we're talking about the different ways you can solve the problem because, you know, we're all HubSpot fanboys here. We're gonna talk about HubSpot until we're blue in the face. But the fact is there are several different ways and tools you can use to solve your problem. And there are a lot of methodologies and different things that you can implement to get you to your goal. Of course, we, as HubSpot fanboys always say HubSpot's the best because it is. But you know, that's just our bias, professional and expert opinions. So, you know, take it for what it's worth. But then there is the decision phase. So now we've talked about and identified what the problem is. We've talked about different ways to go about solving the problem.

Now let's talk about what tool we will use to solve this problem. If you want to talk about using generic tools, you have a piece of wood that you want to Fasten to another piece of wood; that's the awareness problem. And then the consideration is like, how can I do this? I can use a hammer and nail, or I can use a drill and a drill bit. And then we talk about the decision phase where it's like, yeah, we can go hammer and nail, but you know, if we use a screw, it's gonna hang onto the wood better. So you know what? I'm gonna buy a screw that is, in a nutshell, the buyer's journey.

George B. Thomas (06:30):

So here's the thing: I love that you went max into marketing and content dev. And I love that you went into sales, and I love that. We kind of did this high overarching awareness consideration decision because here's the thing I don't talk about it either way. Like yes, it's all of those things. But when I talk about the buyer's journey, I say it's something we all do. It's not HubSpot specific, but I love to map it out in HubSpot, but it's something that we all do. It's an unconscious thing that human beings do. Let me explain, for instance: I got a couple of little stories. I like to tell you you're on vacation with your other half. You are at the beach; there's a sunset. That ocean is soft and beautiful, and it's just like beautiful.

You lean in to get a kiss. And all of a sudden, you get the Heisman. Woo. You are aware that you have a problem. That's right. Bad breath. Yes. Lord black hits again, bad breath. So what do you do? You run to the local store and consider mince, gum, or something else. But you then go to the cashier. You put the mince on there, and you make a decision. You hand them your money. Now that's a very small thing. It's like a dollar 25, $2. I don't know. Now maybe $7 for some mince pretty soon, but it's a, it's a small purchase, but you were aware, the bad breath you considered, what do I need to fix it? You decided you got your wall out and paid the same amount on an extremely large purchase. You're driving down the road.

You happen to be driving in your 1989 Toyota. And all of a sudden, you're aware that you have a problem because there is a transmission on the freeway behind where you once were driving. Now you are aware I am not going anywhere anytime soon. So do I just start walking? Do I get an Uber? Do I call the tow truck? What do I do? Also, your brain then goes into, well, do I wanna get it repaired? Do I wanna buy a new car? You're considering all of these things, and you decide, Hmm, maybe I want a new 2022 Lexus. No, I'm just kidding. I don't know what you decide you want to do, but small or large, it is about the consumer. It is about you, the human. It is a thing that we unconsciously do. So should sales be leaning into it? Yes. Should marketing be leveraging it? Yes. Should the service be paying attention to it? Yes. And by the way, I haven't even mentioned that there's an emotion you're feeling across each one of these phases that you're going through daily. I'll pause there. Yeah. Where do your guys' minds go next?


I could get gum, I could get mints, I could get toothpaste

Max Cohen (09:12):

So I think it's a good thing to remind all of ourselves, and you just illustrated it well. George is that the buyer's journey is not rocket science. It is just a blown-out version of fundamental human decision-making. And you go through probably millions of buyer journeys every day in your own life. You go, ah, something's not okay. You figure out what's not okay. You make the quick decision on how you wanna solve the problem. And then you choose the thing that's gonna do it. So like sometimes it's very fast. Sometimes certain parts are very quick, and others are longer, but all it is is a basic human decision, making those two examples of gum and buying a car. Same idea. The other is like a big thing to kind of think about here. A lot of marketers are only operating in that decision stage.

Going back to your gum example in the consideration stage, you were like; I could get gum, or I could get mince, or I could go by toothpaste; whatever you ended up choosing, that's your consideration stage in the decision stage. That's why you're saying, okay, I've decided I want to mince, but am I going to go with TAC or Mentos depending on how good the marketing and Mentos are in the decision stage? That might help you make your choice. The problem with most marketers these days is they spend 99% of their time on the content creation they're doing and the marketing they're doing. Just talking about the decision stage because we're all trained to make content, media, or whatever about how fantastic our product is and why it's better than our competitor and all this other stuff. Cuz traditionally, that's what we've been doing traditionally.

That's what, that's what advertising has been forever. The problem is the number of people already in their decision stage, where they've already figured out their problem. They've decided on the way that they wanna solve it. Now they're saying who does this specific thing, the best, the number of people already there is minuscule compared to the number of folks in your audience or potential audience that are in those awareness and consideration stage phases where they don't even know they have a problem. They don't know the way to solve it. The thing that I always kind of come back to is the idea of earning the right. I haven't earned the right to tell you my product is better than my competitors. Until I have shown you that our type, our kind of solution or product or go chewing gum or whatever is the best way to solve your problem compared to the other ways you could solve it.

And I have no business or any right to tell you that this is the best way for you to solve a problem. If I don't know, you already have that problem yet. And I haven't done the legwork to help you figure out your problem. So it's like these layers of earning the right to communicate in a certain way because people are in all different stages of it. But the vast majority are awareness and consideration, which is why you need to stop focusing on your decision stage content and shift your focus up that buyer's journey into the awareness and consideration.

George B. Thomas (12:13):

It's good. No, because I, as you're talking, imagine going into the doctor's office and the doctor's like, I think we should amputate yo, oh woo. Let's back up, doc Devin. What are your thoughts?

Devyn Belamy (12:25):

My thing is that when we're talking about, and this was something I, that I mentioned in the last episode where, uh, we're talking about not getting, you know, just focused and getting hyper-focused on the problems that you solve, but talking about the, uh, industry in general and being a thought leader on the industry. That is huge regarding awareness level content. So true. I mentioned earlier that the problems that they might be aware of are adjacent to the problems you're trying to solve. They might not be aware of the problems you solve. You might not know that you have bad breath; you might be walking around burning people's eyebrows off. And they're just too polite to say anything. The thing is, is that creating, if you're talking about content, creating content that talks about industry challenges, in general, might bring someone to a point where they're like, oh my goodness, I didn't even think about that as an issue I like to talk about.

I did, uh, a specific buyer's journey-focused campaign, uh, some years ago. And, and I'm kind of proud of it. What happened was that the goal was to get auto repair shop owners to buy this piece of software that gives these millennials access to seeing what's wrong with their cars on their phones. We could tell them, " Hey, you need to start sending out a text with PDFs of inspection reports. And they could have told me what to go do with myself. <laugh> if I'm telling them from the awareness phase is like, Hey, there's a whole new market out there of these people who were just figuring out how to get their cars taken care of and don't have the kind of one-to-one relationship with their mechanics and, and trust of a mechanic like people used to when they were older. And it's like, okay, so how can you market these people on social media?

So that was like the awareness. Here's how you market to younger people as an auto repair shop on social media. Was it the problem that we solved? No, but it was what used to be called the top of funnel content, where it was just content that made people aware of an issue. Even if it's something that's not directly related to the problem we solve, the thing is, is that what we brought it down to was the next step was, oh, Hey, you know, there are ways other ways that you can connect with these young people as well, not just using social media. So now they're considering how to connect with young people. We made the, a problem awareness that you know, there are issues connecting young people. Now we need to talk about the different tools you can use and then the decision phase; oh, by the way, this is one of the tools you can use.

Here's how it solves your problem of connecting to these people, which was the awareness that we brought up initially, which had nothing to do with what we sold. That's the path. And it worked well and made lots of money, and people came and bought stuff and lived happily ever after; the point is, is that when you're dealing with content when you're talking with people, you have to be more open-minded about what they need, what they need to solve as a problem. And yes, by leading them down the buyer's journey, by leading them down that path, you can bring them to how you're solving the problem. And then also help them become more aware of the larger picture mm-hmm <affirmative>. And they'll be grateful for that even if you're not solving the larger, big picture problem.

Max Cohen (15:54):

If I could add something in there too, you don't have to overengineer it to think that I have to have an awareness piece of content. That's like totally trying to get them to change their mind, to perfectly slot them into this arc that I have in the consideration stage, which is going to mold their brain, then go to a place where they have to buy something. You could make a piece of awareness and stage content. That's just helping someone like figure out a problem in their industry that doesn't have to directly tie this down the line selling 'em something. Again, a big piece of this is building community, building thought leadership, and genuinely educating people. So you have trust built. You don't have to say this must lead down a perfectly clean arc to a purchasing point. Mm.


Are we gonna have our first disagreement on the HubHeroes podcast?

George b. Thomas (16:37):

Are we gonna have our first disagreement on the actual hub hero's pocket? No, no, no, no. I haven't opened my mouth yet.

So here's the thing disagree. So here's the thing. So here's the thing I'll say. Yes. And because I don't like disagreements and agree with your max, sometimes it can be a standalone article. Mm-hmm, however, as a marketer, as a strategist, as a business owner, as somebody that understands the power of story for the humans that are going through a journey called the buyer's journey, there is a magic place that you can get when you start to think about content in threes, by the way, I do this with blog articles, I do this with videos. I do this with lead generation opportunities. I think to myself, how can I craft a fantastic piece of awareness content that the end or somewhere in that article links to the consideration, article the act two of part one. And once they're in that consideration piece of content, how can I get them to act three?

By the way, in act three, the happy ending is they find the princess, the prince, and the solution to the problem they're facing. And it's because I've taken the time to craft three pieces of content threaded together. Tell the entire story that they've been able to either sit and do at one sitting or bookmark and do over multiple sittings. And again, think about your lead conversion opportunities. When I talk about a pillar page, I talk about making sure you have an awareness lead conversion opportunity. Make sure you have a considerable lead conversion opportunity. Make sure you have a decision towards the bottom of the pillar page conversion opportunity because now we're mapping to their needs and where they are in the journey they're placing. Yeah. So not disagree. Not every piece has to have that, but I think people need to lean into that content model.

Now, I also am gonna backtrack off that for one hot second because Devon, you said, and I love this, and we always go in this direction, a problem they solve. I can tell you in the multiverse, there is another type of buyer's journey that I wish people would start to think about creating because it doesn't always have to be about a problem. Many times it can be about aspiration. Where are they trying to get? And what awareness problem is stopping them from getting to the mountaintop. Yeah. What do they have to consider to pack in their backpack and put on their feet to climb that mountain to what they're trying to get to? How do we get them to that decision phase now? I am a professional speaker. Now I am a business owner. Now I am 100 pounds lighter, whatever it may be. Yeah. How do we start thinking about the problem and aspirational buyer journeys we can put people through?

Devyn Belamy (19:37):

My thing is that when you start there and, and I do, uh, encourage people looking at that, one of the things that you have to take into consideration is that you can open a can of worms in a good way where you can by pointing out or setting a goal. Then what happens is that you have more goals, or if you're pointing out a problem, then you have more problems that are like a subset from this, it's like, so, okay, I want to get here. So I need to accomplish B, C, and D. Now we're back to the awareness phase on ABC and D. It's one of those things when you're doing a content exercise. HubSpot has an excellent tool for it. When you are trying to identify topics, what you can do is you can start looking at your core topic and then branching off of that topic and looking at things that are related to it.

Now the point of the exercise ideally is to identify long-tail keywords and, you know, and get into your little SEO rabbit hole and push up on your glasses. And, but what you want to do is look at what's related to the goals and the aspirations or the problems you're trying to solve, understanding that it's not a linear process. Or, uh, I heard George say, it's spaghetti. You started in one place, and then you have so many different paths you can take. And so many different things you can address just come off of that one thing.

George B. Thomas (21:08):

Yes. Ladies and gentlemen, it's spaghetti. It is spaghetti. We are all crazy, weird, unique human beings that Bob and weave and twist and turn, and it is, oh God, it is not a linear path. 

Max Cohen (21:23):

Couple things. One, I don't think you can make an honest attempt to get a good understanding of what people are searching for or concerned about within the awareness and consideration stage. If you don't do that, we discussed the idea of goals and challenges. All this comes back to building your buyer, persona people, and over-complicate buyer personas like crazy. I can't tell you how many people have been here. Here's a little template, go build a buyer persona or whatever. And they come back and say like all the information they have, like, this is how much money we think they make a year and they're this educated, and this is their job title. And their goal is that we wanna sell them software. That's the challenge. And it's like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. For anyone watching this, a buyer's like a very easy way to get started with a buyer persona.

So you can get that out of the way and start creating content is a list of goals and challenges. And that's it because that ultimately informs what people are searching for online. They have a goal they're trying to achieve. So that aspiration, you just talked about George, they're on the way to achieving that goal. They're hitting a bunch of challenges that are getting in the way. They're also trying to figure out ways that they could hit that goal faster or just figuring out what the path is. All those things would fall into awareness, stage content around getting to that goal, or consideration stage content around solving a particular challenge. So I don't think you can start touching the buyer's journey without thinking about those goals and aspirations because that should inform what they would be doing. So for example, instead of paying some marketing firm to go out and do a bunch of like research if you know, you're selling to the owners of small mechanic companies, you can probably, or mechanic companies, small mechanic shops, I don't know, auto body shops, whatever.

Let's say you sell software to auto shops. If you know that you're trying to reach the owners of auto body shops, you can probably come up with some pretty good educated speculation around their goals and aspirations. They're trying to run a successful auto shop like an auto body shop. That's like one of their bigger goals. You know, maybe some of them want a franchise. Maybe some of them just want to get cut; in general, you can safely assume they want to grow and operate as successful, whatever type of business it is from there. You can then start thinking, well, it's like, all right, what potential problems someone might face going there? Even if they don't even know that those are problems and what are some symptoms of an issue they might face trying to achieve that goal. That's where all your inspiration for awareness and considerations come from again. That aspiration piece is like; you can; I don't think you can do it without that. Like you have to have that and your, your buyer's persona or whatever you wanna call it, your ideal customer profile. Like I don't care that should heavily inform all of this from a goals and aspiration perspective.


I wanna jump in real quick. People will turn around and ask. So, so then why are the demographic questions on there? If they're not necessary, they're not necessary for the topics, but what you have to consider. But the most important thing with that content is how you say it. You don't talk to a mechanic like you talk to a doctor. And that's when that information comes into play, regardless of the person's education level, colloquialisms, vernacular jokes, whatever cultural norms may apply to this person, be it racial identity, professional identity, whatever it is. You're missing a step if you aren't solving their problems. You need to know what you're solving for before you figure out who you're talking to and how.

George B. Thomas (24:58):

Yes. Yeah, yes. And listeners fellow hub heroes. Let me just say this. We dipped our toes into buyer personas, and we're gonna come real quick back out of it because today's conversation is the buyer's journey. By the way, I flipped to our notes and hashtag strategy for the win. Next week's episode is actually about buyer personas. Who are they anyway? Where I'm going to get a chance to talk real deep about how I teach people to do personas when they're starting with HubSpot. And it's gonna be a really exciting conversation, but getting back on today. The buyer's journey, why, and all of the things we've talked about might be the answer to this, but I wanna dig a little bit more profound; by the way, this whole, almost 30 minutes conversation has been based on the, what the Harkers, the buyer. Why is it vitally important for anybody listening to this to pay attention to? Is that a question for us? Well, there's nobody else in the room.

Max Cohen (25:52):

 Well, I mean, it's a structural sort of guardrail for you to view, okay? What am I tactically doing with my content? And I think the only other thing I want to make sure I, I like to get in here is an easier way to synthesize what you should be doing when you think about these different stages. Because it's one thing to understand the definitions of each stage. And I think we've done a pretty good job about that. So far, to recap for anyone who hasn't caught it, I don't know what my problem is in the awareness stage I have, but I have symptoms. I'm trying to figure out the consideration stages. I know my problem, and I want to figure out the best way to solve it. Decision stages. I know how I'm gonna solve it. Who's gonna do it best.

It's one thing to like, know those three stages, but I've still had people know the stages but then get confused on how that should guide them. Something that I've preached about for a long time to try to simplify this is that there are two sorts of mindsets you need to be thinking about when you're using the buyer's journey. There's the mindset that your potential customer is in that's doing all this research and going through this whole phase and then knowing that there's the mindset of how you should act as the marketer when creating the content. What's the introductory sentence you can tell yourself to ensure the content you're creating does its job. So in the awareness stage, the mindset of that buyer is, I don't know what my problem is yet, but I'm trying to figure it out. So you, as a marketer, when you create content, you should be saying this piece of content should be helping them figure out what their problem is.

And if it's not doing that, that content that is gonna do that in the consideration stage, they're going all right. I know what my problem is. Who does it best? So your content as the marketer, your, your mindset as the marketer is I need to create content that helps people figure out the best ways to solve those problems. This is how you should solve your problem, not why our products are great, our category is outstanding, or how we solve the problem. And then, in the decision stage, the buyer's mindset is I know how I want to solve it. Who does it best for you as the marketer should say, this is why we do it? The best marketers are already pretty good at that. Or maybe you're not so good at it, but the marketers are the majority already doing this. They're comparing their product to other things, all that other kind of stuff. They're saying why the features are so good, da, da, da, da, all this stuff you're used to doing. So that decision stage should be pretty easy for people, but it's the mindset of the first two. It's tougher.


Learn the subtle sell, there is a way to have other people talk about you

George B. Thomas (28:07):

I'm going to jump in here for a second because I want to piggyback on something that came to my brain when you said, well, it should be the easiest because it's what you've already been doing. But since it's already what you've been doing, it's also the most accessible place to get better. And so the pro tip on this decision stage that you've already been doing is I would give these words to you please, by all that is holy learn, the subtle sell. There is a way to have other people talk about you. There's a way to say things that aren't the two-by-four moment where the customer is picking themselves off the ground going well, that didn't feel well at all. Let me see if somebody else talks about this more eloquently, customer-focused way; instead of just telling all of the features, talk about the benefits again; it is about the buyer.

It is about the ideal client profile. It is about humans. And if you position the excellent things you do in a way that is in it for me, from the human perspective, then suddenly, this subtle cell becomes much easier to pull off. Max. I love that entire section, by the way, I would say maybe that's a rewind section where people listen to that again because there's so much there. And I can't wait to get it, I'm gonna give Devin some time to unpack his thoughts on what just went down, but I wanna make sure we spend five or 10 minutes kind of debunking the buyer journey, myths that we hate. We'll get into that because I'm going to backtrack what you were talking about. And I wanna talk about how there are layers two, three, and four of what you just unpacked. So listeners rewind, re-listen to that, jot down some notes, and get ready for exciting conversations moving forward. Still, Devyn, unpack where your brain is right now on the buyer's journey conversation.

Devyn Belamy (29:56):

Cool. So the buyer's journey, Max hit it on the head from the marketing side. Let me talk a bit about it from the sales perspective. I know it's cliched as salespeople. You hear you don't ask for, uh, wedding on the first date, but so many do, and mm-hmm, <affirmative>, don't realize it because the problem is care more about what you have going on than what's going on with your prospect. And I know it seems counterintuitive because you have quotas, deadlines, and thresholds and want to get to the president's club and all that good stuff. The thing is that you have to take into consideration that this conversation isn't about you. You are here to add value. Hopefully, they give you money to add value, but at the end of the day, every interaction you need to have as a salesperson adds value.

They need to be better off after that interaction with you; when conversing about awareness, the most important thing you can do is listen and ask probing questions. Even if they tend to go on a tangent or outside of what it is that you're trying to solve, talk to them and then help them understand what's wrong and not just understand what's wrong from the perspective of what you do but understand what's wrong, period, from the perspective of your expertise, because you know what's going on in your field because you are a student of the game. You read your marketing department's content. That's how you get through with the awareness. Then consider having a candid conversation where you are not the hero of this story. Have a candid conversation where you're talking about the problems themselves and the different ways to solve them.

Your first instinct is to talk about why you're so awesome and why this thing is the best thing on the planet. Oh my goodness, you need to be doing this because this is how I make money. That's not the case. The number one place you see this done wrong is in email or going past email. Now it's InMails and LinkedIn. When some random person is going to ask you about buying a list or saying, Hey, I noticed you don't have a logo, dude. I work at HubSpot. We have a logo. I don't know what you were looking at, but you just came and told me about everything you do. And you're an accountant. You can do all of my accounting for me. You don't even know what my problems are. My problems aren't accounting. My wife graduated with a degree in finance. We have a budget spreadsheet that goes back to 2012; I met her in 2015.

No, I don't have a problem with calculating any of that. But you might have found a different thing if you had bothered to have a conversation with me instead of just bashing me over the head with all the cool stuff you do. That is an issue that I have that you can solve. Or, and this is the hard part, know someone else that can solve my problem, because the thing is is that with the consideration phase, I know now know how to solve my problem. When we get into the decision phase, even if, let's say, I'm talking about email marketing, I have several different options to choose from. I can choose HubSpot. I can also choose MailChimp, constant contact with Clavio. The thing is, talking to you in the amount of value that you've added to me, I'm gonna trust you. And wherever you're coming from is the direction I need to go. So that's why I'm going to get your service as opposed to the other ones that could solve my problems very well. Probably not as well as what you're offering me because you have given me so much value during our conversation. That's how you successfully transition from the decision phase to being a customer and delight throughout the entire process.

George B. Thomas (34:05):

There are two things that I have to unpack out of this because one is a dirty little secret that everybody needs to know. I love when they go on a diet tribe, when they just start going into left field, when they just start talking because, many times again, dirty little secret, if you let them go, they will uncover the actual problem they couldn't see. But because you're an expert, you can see swing it back into the actual conversation that everybody thought we were having and just knock it out. The park. The other piece that was just screaming in my brain was I have found historically that, especially on the sales side, if your focus is how do I help this person get one, five, 10% better from where they are right now. And you do it in a way where you're worried about their pocketbook or their wallet more than you are yours.

And you have enough self-awareness to realize what their pockets are and not sell out of your pocket. Have that ability to be like; I know this is valuable to you. I know that it's in the right place for you. And I know that it's gonna get you to where you need to go instead of, and you mentioned it Devin, the quota and the gold medallion and the ring and the what? No, no, no, no. All of that will come. If you have basic human principles in place to move you forward. All right, let's use the next like maybe five-ish, seven-ish. I don't know; minutes to talk about some myths we wish we could debunk on this episode before we send people back to their regularly scheduled days.


There's the myth that the buyer's journey is a one-way road

Devyn Belamy (35:49):

I got one. The myth is that the buyer's journey is a one-way road. We've talked about how finding one problem can lead you to another. One of the things that we didn't discuss so much is that the problem they're trying to solve isn't the problem at all. They could be trying to make iterative changes to their website. It turns out that it's not about your calls to action color. It's just the fact that your copy is horrible. It's the fact that no one knows what you do. So you can be AB or multivariate testing until you're blue in the face on your UI. But it's an entirely separate issue that requires a separate set of skills to accomplish because you're not a writer, and you have blinders on when it comes to your customers and you know what you do. And so you look at the website, it makes sense that that isn't always the case. And so that would take them as far as the buyer's journey, back to square one where we're making them a whole new level of awareness and taking them down that journey.

Max Cohen (37:03):

Again, if I had to look at something from like a mythical perspective, I can't tell you to like how many people I've seen in the inbound community who like to create content and get clicks on, oh, the buyer's journey is dead, or there are six steps to the buyer's journey. And it's called this different thing. Or its demand generation inbound is debt and like all this stuff. And then they go and explain their strategy. And it's like, literally the same thing, call this what we're talking about, whatever you want. Fundamental human decision-making will never die. It's physics that's grained just into how we all operate. We all have problems, issues, challenges, goals, whatever. We look for ways to figure out how to solve them. And then sometimes we buy something to help us do it. You can break that down into any number of steps, call those phases, whatever you want.

It just exists. Humans are humans, and they're always gonna human. As long as you're looking at it from that perspective, I don't care what you call it. I don't care about any of that. Just make sure your content supports that basic human decision-making process. And I think it's not always just a selling motion. Yeah. It's called the buyer's journey because maybe some people will eventually buy from you, but not all of 'em are; that's also just marketing. Just keep that in mind. Don't look at this as such a rigid thing. Also, don't use any of this to say, like, why I can't make that next piece of content again; get good at creating content first and then use this to get better.

George B. Thomas (38:21):

I have two that I'm gonna do. One's real short, sweet, and straightforward. One myth that I wanna debunk is that the buyer's journey is the be-all end. All, this is a great place to jump off and start the conversation. But what is the customer journey if you're not also thinking about it once they turn into a customer? And having that mapped out through the rest of your organization, which by the way, maybe customer journey and journey mapping. They might potentially keep tuning in. They might be future episodes that will talk about, but here's the thing I wanna double down and Devin, I thought you were going in this direction. I love the direction you went in, but I want to double down on where you went, but this idea of spaghetti and max circling back around to the conversation you're having.

And here's what I'm gonna say, busting the myth that it's a linear path, but the action item tip is to plan for the pivot. Hmm. Plan for the pivot. Let me explain. I wake up in the morning and make a pot of coffee. Oh, the coffee pot is broken crap. I go to let my dog out. Ooh, the dog ran away. Uh, oh, crap time to go to work. I go get to go in my car. Ooh, the car got stolen. The human being is always going by the way. If that's your morning, I am sorry. And I will pray.

But the point is the human, and God max, I love that. You said this humans are humans and they're always humans. Well, what is that? Humans will pivot. Humans will transition into the thing they are given and try to do their best with it. And so if you, as a salesperson, as a marketing person, as a service person, as a business owner, start to think about everything that we've talked about today and plan for the pivot of the human in the journey that they're on your content strategy, your sales strategy, your email strategy, your chat strategy, all of your strategies, which I hope you have <laugh> will be headed in the right direction. Gentlemen, any final thoughts before we end this episode.


Stop sending emails trying to sell me stuff, I hate it

Devyn Belamy (40:22):

Stop sending me emails about trying to sell me stuff. I hate it. If you want to have a conversation with BDRs, stop trying to book calls just to meet a quota and meet with someone and find out their needs. And if they're a good fit for the AE before you book the call and AE, stop hitting me over the head with a demo before you even get to know me. And if I haven't said it before, stop sending me InMails. <laugh> just period. Just stop. Just like no, no good comes of InMails at this point.

Max Cohen (40:52):

It kind of sounds like you're; you're reiterating the whole idea of earning the right to do those things. I mean, that's like a good thing. It's like one piece of advice I'd say is like, you know, a good, a good gut check for yourself is like, have we earned the right to tell this person this yet? If I haven't done the legwork to say this is the best way to solve it, why should I be telling you my product? So great. I think that's a big piece. I think the other thing use all these tools that we're talking about, you know, the whole idea of a track gauge delight buyer personas the buyer's journey, layer it in, in the right way, but never let it get in the way of you creating content. And that's the most challenging, fundamental, and significant shift, but use all these tactics to mold that clay. Once you've become good at making ugly statues, the more complex part is like getting that statue built first, and then you can make it better over time and more times you do it. And the more you implement these different strategies, the better over time. Don't feel like you have to do all this stuff overnight cuz it's never gonna work if you overwhelm yourself.