Mapping the B2B Customer Journey

Best Practices for Mapping the B2B Customer Journey

Business-to-business customer experience managers have a unique advantage. They have mountains of customer comments at their fingertips and account managers who practically live with their customer contacts. But often, they need a complete picture of the entire customer journey. That’s why creating a journey map is essential. It provides a clear overview of the whole customer experience.

Understand your buyer personas

In B2B customer journey mapping, you need to understand your buyers. Using buyer persona profiles, marketing can work hand-in-hand with sales to align messaging that resonates with each of your buyer personas.

A buyer persona profile should include essential information like goals and challenges—what do your buyers want to achieve, and what problems are they trying to solve? How do they make decisions? What language do they use? Communication preferences—what is their preferred method of communicating with businesses, and how do they access relevant content? Adding emotional profiles is also helpful. Focusing on emotion when mapping the customer journey might seem strange, but even business leaders and company stakeholders experience emotions when researching, buying, and using products. Once you have all this information, compile it into an easy-to-use template for your teams to reference and utilize. This could mean posting it on your intranet or distributing it to staff members who directly interact with customers (sales, support, marketing). Use this as an opportunity to create a shared language and better educate all departments about their audience and how they interact with your brand.

Create a customer journey map

Creating a customer journey map is the first step in understanding your customers and designing an experience that will keep them returning. Getting as much qualitative data as possible is essential, whether through surveys, interviews, testimonials, or feedback from customer relations teams. These groups have a good perspective on areas where your current customer journey is not meeting expectations and are great resources for collecting ideas to make improvements. It’s also helpful to think of your map from your customer’s perspective rather than from your firm’s point of view. This will help you identify any pain points or information gaps that can be addressed with a change in strategy. It’s best to start with a simple map and gradually add new touchpoints over time as you understand what your customers are experiencing. You can also use an online whiteboard to create your customer journey map, which allows team members to collaborate simultaneously and leave virtual sticky notes to pinpoint specific areas of concern. Then, you can easily see and analyze the results of your completed customer journey map.

Conduct primary customer research

To create an accurate customer journey map, your business needs firsthand data from the source. This can be accomplished through primary research, which involves collecting original data directly from prospects and customers. It can be more complex and costly than secondary research, essential to a successful marketing strategy. A common way to collect primary market data is through surveys, which can be conducted online or in person. Surveys can provide various information, from basic yes/no answers to open-ended questions that allow for thematic analysis. Many survey software solutions offer a range of templates and customization options to meet your company’s specific needs. Other methods of conducting primary research include focus groups and observational research. Observational research involves watching and listening to participants, which can help you gather valuable insights that you might not get through other research methods. For example, a company may observe customers responding to two different drink packaging designs and then choose the design that attracts the most attention. This could be a great way to increase sales and customer retention, an essential component of the customer journey.

Analyze your current customer journey

It’s essential to monitor and adjust your customer journey based on the results of your research. This includes looking for moments of truth, channel transitions, and high and low points. It’s also helpful to look for areas of frustration, such as failure to set expectations, unnecessary or prolonged steps, or a lack of support after purchase. In a B2B world where digital journeys increasingly mimic a B2C buying experience, it is crucial to identify the key touchpoints where buyers rely on each other. For example, it’s common for B2B buyers to download ebooks and join webinars in the awareness stage while evaluating solutions on their own before they ever contact sales. It’s also essential to review the journey map with all stakeholders so that everyone has a clear view of the entire process. Many times attendees at a journey mapping workshop will react with surprise when they discover that their department needs to handle a particular aspect of the journey more efficiently. In these cases, a new, more effective approach may be needed to avoid causing frustration.

 Make adjustments

Once you’ve mapped out the entire customer journey, making any necessary adjustments to optimize your business processes is essential. This can include identifying and addressing where customers need help finding what they need or where content doesn’t align with the buying process. An excellent way to do this is to run a workshop where you gather representatives from each functional area in your company, including frontline employees, day-to-day management, corporate teams, and HR departments. Having these different voices in one room can give you valuable insights and perspectives you wouldn’t get from data analytics alone. For example, if your workshop participants reveal that your warranty returns process isn’t as effective as possible, you can use this insight to create new, more efficient processes. This will benefit your buyers and your business in the long run. It’s essential to make these adjustments regularly as your buyers change their behaviors and needs. Keeping your map up-to-date will ensure you’re constantly improving your customer experience. This will help your business thrive and keep your customers happy!

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