Basically, all marketing efforts can be sorted into three phases: finding, winning, and keeping a customer. In literature, you will find different models and frameworks on how to structure your marketing. The common ground is to focus on the customer journey. Naturally, the journey starts before the purchase, followed by the purchasing phase, and ends after the sales were made. The "before", during" and "after" phase of a purchasing decision has three stages:
- Before the Purchase: Prospect
- During the Purchase: Lead
- After the Purchase: Customer
This basic principle is also true for B2B marketing. Although there are severe differences between B2B and B2C Marketing, this basic principle holds true for both types of marketing. Each phase is marked by distinct start and end criteria. Therefore, the targets, strategies and tactics are also different for each phase.
Your marketing plan needs to cover all three phases that build the backbone of your strategy.