“Maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also lift revenue by 15%, while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%”
– McKinsey, The Three Cs of Customer Satisfaction
The Purpose of a Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map is a visual diagram of the different ways customers interact with your company as you move them along a path (or down a funnel) in the hopes of guiding them to to a specific point, such as buying your solutions. The purpose of a customer journey map is to better understand your customer’s experience as they interact with your brand across the various channels you use, from SMS and email, to landing pages, websites, social channels, chat, messaging and beyond. The goal of a customer journey map is to ensure no prospect is left behind. Moreover, mapping your customers’ path to purchase allows you to “see” where they are experiencing friction in their journey, which allows you to smooth bumps along their road and create a more rewarding experience for you, and a delightfully seamless experience for them.
The B2B Customer Journey
The phrase “business-to-business” (a.k.a. B2B) can be a bit misleading when it comes to customer journeys because it fails to remind you that your business is not actually selling products and services to another business, but to people. According to Gartner, “The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers‚ each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently.” The good news is; this same research found that everyone involved in a B2B buying journey engages in the same steps, which we have listed below:
- Identify the Problem – “We need to do something.”
- Explore Solutions – “What’s available that can solve our problem?”
- Determine Requirements – “What do we need the purchase to do?”
- Select a Supplier – “Is this vendor reputable, capable and trustworthy?”
- Validate Findings – “We think we know the right answer, but we need to be sure.”
- Create a Consensus – “We need to get everyone on board.”
As you develop your customer journey map, it will be important to reflect upon these questions that your buyers are seeking answers to because it will help you create a more informative and intuitive journey. Understanding what your customers and prospects need as they make decisions is just as important as providing products and services that solve their problems.
Steps to Mapping Your Customer Journey
Here are five steps you can take to build a more effective map for your customer journeys:
1. Identify Your Target Market
Before you can understand your customer, you need to be clear on who your target audience is. Ask yourself who is most interested in buying what you have to sell. Then, define what that audience looks like demographically (age, education, job title, etc.), firmographically (company size, industry, annual revenue, etc.) and geographically (city, state, sales territory, etc.). Compare the list you develop with the demographics, firmographics and geography of your best customers and note any differences, as these variations may connote untapped markets for you to pursue.
2. Create Ideal Customer Personas
As we noted earlier, there are typically up to 10 people involved in making a B2B buying decision and all of these folks will have different motives, perspectives and objectives in pursuing your products. In this step, you want to ask yourself what your ideal customers look like. A helpful exercise is to write a description of this imaginary person and include their background, product needs, frustrations and any other factors that influence whether or not they purchase your product.
3. Monitor Journey Checkpoints
As your customers progress down the sales funnel, going from awareness to consideration and ultimately arriving at purchase, be sure you track their interactions. It’s important for you to know where they are in their journey and what they are experiencing at every stage. Create a list of the actions you want them to take in their journey, and note whether or not the actions you desire at each stage are being taken. For example, when a customer visits your landing page did they download a whitepaper, see a demo, or sign up to attend a webinar? If they didn’t complete the actions you set up for them, it’s time to investigate why.
4. Eliminate Roadblocks
Your customer journey map should help you understand why a certain percentage of customers is or is not taking a step. When customers don’t take action at the various waypoints in their journey, you need to look for and find any issues that might be making it difficult for them to follow through on the actions you desire that they take. Make a list of the issues they experience, diagnose problems you need to fix, and prioritize solutions. Your goal is to make their journey a highly enjoyable and friction-free experience.
Below are questions you should ask a sample population of your customers to identify what is and isn’t working in your current customer journey:
- How did they hear about your company?
- What problem(s) led them to look for a solution?
- What attracted them to your brand?
- Why did they decide to make a purchase?
- Why did they disengage?
- What are their goals?
- What do they expect from your company at this point in their journey?
5. Make Adjustments
Good marketers create well-planned customer journeys. Great marketers go on that journey first before sending customers down the path. The only way to know for sure what your customers are experiencing is to walk a mile in their shoes. When steps aren’t working it’s time to recalibrate. You may have to keep tweaking until you get it just right, but it’ll be worth it for you and your customer in the end.