We’d all like to think that our customers’ buying cycle is easily visualised. They’re made aware that they need a product or service, they research the ways to get it, they compare the options, and they buy something. It makes a nice flow chart for marketing textbooks, and to be fair, it’s largely true.
Except that it’s a dangerous oversimplification.
The diagram below from this report makes a start on nailing down what really happens.
What this does reinforce is that it’s going to be rare now for customers to look up a supplier, call in a salesperson, and buy the product. Even when they appear to have done that, they probably did all sorts of research and selection before getting in touch. In a recent survey of industrial buyers, fewer than 10% said that the quality of a supplier’s website does not impact their decision. We cannot put too much information online.