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Understanding 5 Steps To Customer Decision Making Process For Better ROI

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Consumers worldwide rely more on software solutions to solve their user-specific pain points. Based on the variety of options customers face, they make several decisions before making a purchase.

Each decision is complex and is shaped by various influences. While tracking every influence is impossible, businesses must observe customer behavior to understand what their customers need and keep up with their dynamic requirements.

Learning how the customer decision making process works to help your sales and marketing team formulate the optimal strategies to target your audience, guide them through the sales funnel, retain customers for longer, and drive up your ROI.

What is Customer Decision Making Process?

The customer decision making process is the complete cycle a consumer goes through when purchasing a particular product or service. The process can be simple or involve complex thinking before customers finally decide where to invest their money.

While buying groceries or clothing can be done quickly, businesses require thorough evaluation and research to optimize their strategies and meet the goals they want to achieve using your services.

The customer decision making process gets complicated when you have to factor in variables such as the individual pain points your audience wants to find solutions for, personal opinions based on existing knowledge, and the various alternatives they must consider.

Understanding the process can enable sales and marketing teams to develop campaigns that effectively reach out to prospective clients early in the customer journey and influence them to join your sales funnel so that they eventually convert.

Successfully guiding your prospects through the buyer’s journey helps you drive more revenue faster.

5 Stages of Customer Decision Making Process

The customer decision making process involves a customer identifying their requirements, gathering information about the product or service they need, researching the alternatives, making a purchase, and evaluating their purchase.

Let’s dive deeper into each stage and understand how they can inform your marketing strategies:

Need/Problem Recognition

The first step of the customer decision making process involves customers reflecting on their wants and desires to identify if they are facing a particular problem for which they need to look for solutions in the market.

In this stage, the consumer is unaware of a service that can fix their problem, but they know they are missing something that could uplift their living standards.

Real or psychological requirements inform needs and can be divided into internal and external stimuli. Internal stimuli are needs created from basic impulses such as thirst, hunger, etc.

customer decision making process

External stimulus is informed by psychological drives and is not necessarily related to survival, such as processed food in advertisements.

Marketers can leverage external stimulus by developing effective campaigns for user-specific requirements that push their brands as the best option to satisfy a particular need felt by the consumer.

Businesses must create a “need” for their product or service to gather more leads and move them through their sales funnel.

Research/Searching and Gathering Information

Once consumers understand their needs, they gather more information about the various products that promise to solve their pain points. Consumers are cynical, and they need complete knowledge of your product before they make a purchase.

Buyers usually consider the benefits, potential drawbacks, and cost-effectiveness of services before investing their money. The searching stage makes up the top of the funnel for B2B businesses wanting to increase brand recognition.


They can acquire the necessary information from searching about the product, listening to word of mouth, or researching the terms and topics related to the particular industry they want to buy the product from.

Here are the key sources of knowledge for customers:

  • Commercial sources: Advertisements, digital media, displays, newsletters, and emails can provide consumers with relevant information about the products that influence them to make a purchase.
  • Close contacts: Customers are more likely to believe the experience of friends and relatives when deciding on what to buy. They are more likely to follow the advice of close contacts and their word of mouth as they are primarily unbiased opinions.
  • Previous purchase experience: Personal experiences that a particular customer went through in their prior use of a product can enable them to choose whether they want to repeat a purchase from your organization.

Marketers and sales reps need to create an effective content strategy that provides a prospect with all the necessary information they could require in a single location so that you can build trust and ensure they decide to purchase from your company.

Evaluating Alternatives

Once consumers are aware of their needs and have researched thoroughly on the products, they will start looking for alternatives in the market to gauge their prices and benefits to get the most out of their investments.

customer decision making process

This stage is also the most crucial one as the buyer has to decide and make a final decision based on the product features, reviews, and pricing of all your competitors. A few criteria customers take into account include:

  • Features and benefits missing from a particular product when compared to others.
  • Lower price points incentivise consumers to choose your product for the best value for money.
  • Positive feedback from verified users assures them of the quality of products they will buy and improves brand loyalty.

Marketing material that succeeds in convincing your customer that your service is the superior choice instead of your competitors helps you acquire more clients in the long run.

Making a Purchase

customer decision making process

By this stage, the consumer has identified their needs, researched the product background, and finally considered all the alternatives to make a purchasing decision.

While it might seem like the end of the customer journey, several factors could potentially turn a seemingly closed deal into a failed purchase. Marketing teams need proper follow-up and re-engagement strategies to retain customers for longer.

Post-Purchase Evaluation

Finally, we come to the stage after a customer has made a purchase, and they get to test it to reflect on their decision. The consumer’s behavior toward your company will be based on the overall application and satisfaction derived from the product.

customer decision making process

If your customer feels like they have purchased a valuable product and met their expectations, they can become repeat customers who buy more products or services. You can increase your ROI while decreasing the cost of customer acquisition (CAC).

While there are several ways to implement the knowledge of the customer decision making process into your sales funnel, it is essential for your marketing and sales team to keep track of where your prospects are in the funnel to ensure they go through the various stages faster.

Reaching out to prospects that fit your ideal client profile (ICP) is crucial to develop meaningful business relations and make the most of a client’s lifetime value (LTV).

If you waste time searching for prospects or finding the correct contact information, you risk losing out on significant marketing opportunities.

Swordfish AI can help you bypass the hassle of looking for accurate contact information by automatically giving you a list of prospects with all the required data to establish connections with high-value clients early in their customer journeys.

Swordfish AI: Find Prospects Faster To Close More DealsFind Prospects Faster To Close More Deals

Swordfish AI is a comprehensive and powerful contact finder tool that lets B2B business users automatically search and gather verified prospects from their lists or social media platforms, giving your teams more time to nurture sales-ready leads and close more deals.

Swordfish AI provides verified contact information for over 3.1 billion profiles, including names, email addresses, residential addresses, social profiles, etc., enabling you to reach prospective clients early in their customer journey and convert before your competitors.


  • Swordfish AI collaborates with 200+ data partners to update our databases in real-time. Using our Chrome Extension feature to forego manual clicking and add contacts directly to project lists, you can find prospects in bulk from online platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook


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You can prioritize your data requirements by specifying contact information as a “must-have” for phones, email addresses, etc. Swordfish AI charges you based on the responses we provide for must-have results. If we fail to give you the must-have data, we don’t charge you.

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Swordfish AI offers custom pricing plans based on the informational needs of individual teams in your company working on different stages of the sales pipeline. Our services integrate seamlessly into your workflows and CRM/ATS to provide accurate contact information.

Sales and marketing teams can waste less time gathering data on sales-ready leads or reaching out to the wrong contacts and connecting with prospects early in the customer decision making process to move them through the sales funnel faster and convert them into paying customers.

Contact us to test our features with a free trial, and tell us about your personalized lead generation strategies so that we can tailor the perfect package for your organization.


The customer decision making process includes several stages where your prospects make decisions that influence them to make a final purchase and decide if they want to be returning customers.

Waiting for prospects to go through your sales funnel to convert is risky. They can change their minds and purchase from your competitors if they feel your solutions do not address their pain points.

To help you reach out to prospects and reduce the chances of failed cold calls, Swordfish AI provides accurate contact information for billions of profiles so that you can connect with prospects early in their customer decision making process and nurture them into sales-ready leads.

Contact us to test our features risk-free, and talk to us about your personalized data requirements so we can tailor a pricing plan that suits your needs perfectly. Revolutionize your outreach and follow-up strategies to drive more conversions with Swordfish AI today!

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