A B2B customer journey map is an efficient way to capture and share how customers move through their buying decision-making process. Building it with rich and trustworthy data and insights, it is an invaluable tool in creating a customer experience that drives growth.
High quality customer research helps you understand the steps customers take, their concerns and motivations at each step, and how they prefer to get information. A complete and insightful customer journey map goes beyond the buyer journey to include onboarding and the ongoing customer relationship. It can guide sales and B2B marketing strategies, communications campaigns, customer service programs and more, driving sustainable growth.
What are Customer Journey Maps?
Customer journey maps put you in your customer’s shoes to see their experience and understand who, what, when, where, why and how they interact with your product and B2B brand. By formally mapping out the information, all customer-facing departments can easily see how they play a role in interacting with customers and can plan accordingly.
What are the typical stages of the B2B customer journey?
While each customer journey is unique and depends on your industry and your business, your B2B customer journey map will likely include some or all of these stages:
- Awareness: Shorten the sales cycle and narrow the decision set by ensuring potential customers know about and understand your product. Research to find out:
- Who is the customer?
- What are their needs, concerns, and priorities?
- What is the best way to reach and influence them?
- Consideration: Your sales team has engaged with the customer and has established that your product may address their needs. Research to discover:
- Who is involved in decision-making?
- What are the priorities of people in different roles in the buying process?
- How can you get the details you need to build out buyer personas for the decision team?
- Decision: Supporting each person on the decision-making team to facilitate closing deals. Research to:
- What information does each person on the decision team need at critical times to keep deals on track?
- Purchase and delivery: The B2B customer journey does not end with a signed contract. How you deliver, integrate, train and onboard users lays the foundation for a lasting relationship. Use research to:
- What user expectations contribute to a strong first impression?.
- How can we deliver and go beyond the expected to delight our customers?
- How much should you invest in UX research?
- Support and retention: With a strong UX, your customer is more likely to renew or reorder. It is more profitable to keep an existing customer than it is to find new ones. Research into:
- How can we improve customer service?
- What will strengthen customer loyalty?
- Growth and expansion: Happy customers are the best source of new business. You have the chance to upsell or cross sell. You can expand their relationship into new areas. Research into:
- How can we encourage positive word-of-mouth?
- What are the most effective ways to promote introductions to new customers by direct introduction, testimonials, or case studies?
- What is the best way to track brands to build a stronger reputation?
Types of B2B customer journey maps
You can build your customer journey map from several perspectives, depending on how you plan to use it.
The B2B buyer journey maps out the customer experience as it exists now. It is useful for identifying areas that need to be improved and where opportunities might lie.
This type of journey map lays out the ideal scenario that efficiently moves customers through the steps from awareness to purchase to advocacy.
This approach places the customer journey within a bigger context across the industry and includes thinking about macro-trends. If your company wants to be seen as a consultant and thought leader more than seeking transactions, the B2B buyer journey map can be invaluable. With good research, you can unlock valuable growth opportunities for your business and your B2B clients.
A tactical customer journey map offers a more day-in-the-life view and considers the daily activities, routines, and processes your customer undertakes. This journey map is helping in looking at the details of the user experience.
Trustworthy data is the lynchpin of the effective customer journey map
Regardless of what type of customer journey map you want to build, you need in-depth and trustworthy information. That isn’t always easy when it comes to capturing the specific insights from every buyer persona in the decision process for your product.
It all starts with talking to the right people. Precision matters when building your B2B customer journey map. You need to work with a B2B market research provider who can search out people for each role in the decision team of your potential customers. They need to effectively recruit them, verify that they have the role, experience and information you need, and then engage them in getting answers.
A B2B customer journey map can inform the strategies, tactics, and activities of every customer-facing and innovation-producing part of your company. Investing in rich, relevant, and trustworthy market and customer data is your key to driving growth and profitability today and into the future.