Well, that’s sort of the issue with touchpoints in marketing: not everyone agrees with what they are - and this blog post will explain exactly why that is. Generally speaking, a touchpoint is a point of contact between you and a potential customer. Some organizations only consider in-person interactions to be touchpoints, others count every single time they’ve had anything to with do the potential customer, whether it be text, email, attending the same party, carrier pigeon, message in a bottle, anything.
Sales people want to know how many touchpoints it takes to make a sale, because if you know how many touchpoints it takes to make a sale, you can know if you have done enough to get a potential customer’s attention, or if they have become a lost cause and you shouldn’t devote any more resources toward pursuing them.
In the past, we’ve said that it takes 28-62 touchpoints to make a sale. We stand by this as a good general number, because we’re also big believers that 57% of the Buyer’s Journey is over before anyone ever speaks to a salesperson in your organization. We believe this because we also know that according to Hubspot data (2015), “57% of the Buyer's Journey is over before anyone ever speaks to a salesperson in your organization.” That means if your product has a considered buying process - your prospects are already doing research online about it. So wouldn’t you want to make sure that you have content there to help them through that first 57% of their Buyer’s Journey?
Touchpoints in Marketing Differ Between Industries
Now there are many other sources which say you need between 5 and 20 touchpoints to make a sale. 20 touchpoints definitely suggests a considered buying process and thus the need for content marketing - but what about sales which close in 5 touchpoints?
The thing is, not only does everyone’s definition of a touchpoint differ, but the number of touchpoints you need to make a sale varies widely depending on your business.
For example, it’s going to take fewer touchpoints to convince someone to buy a burger from a franchise than it would to convince them to buy the franchise itself.
The key to knowing how many touchpoints it takes to close a deal depends on whether or not you have a considered buying process. That is: can people quickly say “yes” to buying your product or service, or is it something that takes time? These factors come from many things you already know about, like:
- Price point (products under $500 are usually more easily made)
- Competition in your space (“I should do due diligence before I buy.”)
- Urgency (“I need you now because my garage door is broken and I can’t move my car!”)
- Frequency of opportunity (“I don't have to decide now, the offer will come around again.”)
But if you really want to know how many touchpoints it takes to close a deal in your organization you need to start tracking it.
To get started, you need to first define what a touchpoint is for you and determine whether or not you have something to sell which takes a prospect time and research before they can make a decision.
Warning: Making a Sale Takes More Touchpoints Than You Think
Here are some rules that hold true no matter whose definition of touchpoints you’re going by.
In our research, we’ve consistently found that no matter how you count your touchpoints and no matter what industry you’re in, making a sale or gaining a new client takes more touchpoints than you think.
Want a geeky reason why? We remember fewer touchpoints being required due to something called hindsight bias; it’s where the brain perceives past events as being easier than they actually were because we have the benefit of knowing how things turned out in the end. For example, hindsight bias makes us believe that our past successes with customers took fewer touchpoints than they actually did because, in the end, they became our customers. How hard could it have been?
Another reason we expect touchpoints to be low in number is that we are often fearful that we’re scaring off potential customers by bothering them too much. We assume if we had over-marketed to them, they would not have purchased. But this is generally an unfounded fear, because if a customer genuinely was annoyed by your marketing, they would unsubscribe, or tell you in no uncertain terms.
Instead, most people make an inquiry on your website and then disappear simply because they got swallowed up by other jobs and processes. When you get them on the phone, or let them know you’re not going to keep following up, they often express how glad they are that you did follow up. And then that old cycle repeats itself, as “the one phone call” or “the one email” appears to be the clincher - instead of all that content in between which kept them engaged and confident in your capacity.
So whatever your definition of a touchpoint is, remember that you’ll probably need more than you think you do...
What About the Ability to Track Touchpoints?
If you’re a HubSpot user, you’ll be able to follow each customer’s stops on their buyer’s journey. This will make doing your own research on your custom touchpoints easier. If you’re not a HubSpot user, you can try it for free.
Having all the data collected in one place will give you the advantage of seeing how people react to your marketing content, track their interest, automate and schedule the delivery of relevant content to them at the right time (based on actions they took). Soon enough you won’t even need articles about touchpoints, because you’ll know exactly how many of your touchpoints you’ll need to make a sale.
When Tangible Words sets up inbound marketing growth plans for its customers, the strategy always explains how to move a potential customer along the buyer’s journey - and to keep track of the journey using HubSpot’s tools. There is also a plan to help your sales team better use this infrastructure to work more efficiently and effectively. Having a team of experienced copywriters and Smarketers on your side can do a lot towards streamlining your lead follow-up and providing you with real-time data on how well your sales team is performing.
Do You Want to Attract More of the Right Audience and Set Logical Touchpoints Up for Them?