The B2B customer journey highlights all the touchpoints a customer has with a B2B company. From discovery to purchase and beyond, it’s important to have a bird’s eye view of the entire customer experience.
This is where a B2B customer journey map comes in. It helps businesses better understand the path a customer takes during their decision-making process and how they ultimately become customers.
Throughout this article, we will talk more about a customer journey map, how to create your own, and share three examples you can use for inspiration.
A B2B customer journey map visually represents each customer journey stage from end to end. It covers the moment the customer realizes they have a problem to the customer discovering your business as the solution.
Above is an example of a simple customer journey map, where we see seven total stages: awareness, research, decision-making, onboarding, usage, support, and renewal.
This helps us remember that the customer journey doesn’t end with a purchase. Other touchpoints include the customer using your product or service, potential customer support requests, and the hope of a renewal/retained customer.
Creating a map of the buying journey helps you identify each place where a potential customer might come in contact with your business.
This allows you better prepare your sales, marketing, support, and other customer-facing teams so they can generate more sales and retain more customers.
We’ve created a 7-step journey mapping process to help you get started:
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of each of your customer segments. It helps sales and marketing teams better identify your target audience to reach more potential new customers.
These are typically drawn up into a visual customer profile, like in the example above.
Create a separate buyer persona for each particular segment of your audience. For example, you might cater to both the sales department and the support department of a company. But those buyer journeys will differ, so you must create separate personas.
When building out your buyer persona(s), you’ll need the following customer data:
You can interview existing customers to help gather some of this data or use what you already know about your customers to build out each buyer persona.
The next step is to identify all customer journey touchpoints—where do your customers come into contact with your business throughout the buying process?
There are five main stages of the customer journey that these touchpoints will fall into:
Pinpoint the touchpoints your business offers so you can include them in the customer journey map.
Customer research is crucial for mapping the customer journey. You can only map what you know, so you must conduct proper research to gather accurate data.
There are a few different ways to do this:
Depending on your budget and the amount of research you need, each of these outlets can be an excellent way for B2B businesses to conduct customer research and ensure they have the exact customer journey straight from the horse’s mouth.
We’ve covered the five most popular customer journey stages, but that doesn’t mean your business has to be married to those stages.
You might decide to stick with four stages: awareness, consideration, decision, and retention. Or, you might have six stages in your customer journey: discovery, evaluation, purchase, usage, bond, and advocacy.
For the most part, these stages break down like this:
You can easily align your customer journey with your sales funnel so that each stage of the funnel and customer journey go hand-in-hand.
Are there any bottlenecks in the customer journey that are causing difficulties or pain points? You should be able to identify this as you map out your customer journey. If there are any areas where your touchpoints aren’t aligned or you don’t have a team member properly monitoring the channel, it can cause disruptions.
Consider creating an omnichannel strategy that enables all channels to work together and makes a seamless customer journey.
By incorporating the right tech stack (and the right CRM), notes about each customer touchpoint can follow them through the journey, working to eliminate pain points throughout the process.
At this point, you should have a grasp on the overall customer journey for your business—from discovery to purchase to retention and (fingers crossed) advocacy. Now it’s time to put together an action plan for building out the map, ensuring that all touchpoints are covered, and any necessary improvements can be made.
First, create stakeholders for each touchpoint to ensure no customer is left behind. This should remove potential bottlenecks and ensure someone is always available.
Next, look into any improvements you can make throughout the customer journey.
Are there any touchpoints you can add? Chatbots or live chat options can improve customer service. Cross-selling or upselling can improve customer retention. Video chat for both sales and customer support can build a more personalized customer experience.
Look back at the surveys and customer research you conducted. Did customers mention any potential issues? Start by fixing known issues that your customers have told you about first. Then move on to any other improvements you might want to make.
The last step is to monitor and improve your customer journey continually. Continue to gather feedback on the customer journey from new and existing customers to see if there are any other changes you need to make. Monitor your analytics to see if there are areas where customers consistently fall out of the sales funnel.
A few customer success metrics to keep track of include:
Use the formulas to track them or monitor your most important KPIs using an analytics tool. Customer journey mapping tools and other tools that can help you map and monitor include:
Keeping an eye on your customer journey will help you discover if anything changes. Your map and overall customer journey strategy should be fluid, with the ability to adjust or change based on new data you might get from your customers.
We’re not going to leave you to create your customer journey map on your own. We’ve got four sample B2B journey maps that you can choose from as a starting point for your own map.
Keep it simple with a customer journey map template like the one above. Focus on the most important stages of the purchasing process and list each potential touchpoint.
This basic flowchart can help you map out your ideal customer journey by listing each touchpoint for every stage. Download the above template and easily adjust the placeholder text with your touchpoints.
Use a customer journey map that details your touchpoints and other information, like which teams handle that stage, what metrics to track, opportunities, barriers, and more.
Recent Gartner research discovered that, for the most part, the B2B customer journey isn’t linear. B2B buyers loop around different stages multiple times before making the right purchase decision.
Use a customer journey map template like this to depict a nonlinear customer journey that your B2B buyers might be taking, from contacting your brand to reading case studies to checking out your social media content.
Finally, you can use this B2B touchpoint map that highlights the main stages in the customer journey to identify which team is responsible for each step easily. This makes it easier to delegate tasks and collaborate with other departments.
Map out your B2B customer journey so you can connect with your audience at every touchpoint. Improve the user experience and improve customer retention in one fell swoop.
A SaaS Content Marketer and SEO from New York. I work with global brands to create content that establishes authority and drives sales.
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