Every great B2B lead generation strategy begins and ends with a keen understanding of the buyer’s journey. From the moment a potential customer realizes they have a need, to the second they sign on the dotted line; this journey presents a window of opportunity for you as a marketer to make an impression. Whether that impression ends up being good or bad ultimately depends upon whether you truly understand where your customer is in their decision-making process—their buyer’s journey.
There isn’t an official template which you should be using… simply because no two customer journeys are the same. Depending on the business, product, or service which is being mapped, best practices and design may vary. This means you have a great deal of freedom to explore and be creative – so construct your basic customer journey map using the following steps, and then go ahead and embellish it all you want.
Perfect your Buyer Persona
The first step in creating a journey map is understanding who your customers are.
As you do this, keep in mind that it isn’t sufficient to have just one buyer persona. People at different buying stages will behave differently and interact with your business differently, so it’s worth distinguishing between someone who has been doing market research for a few months and is ready to make their purchase, and someone who has only recently begun thinking about solving his/her particular need (by trying your product/service).
Understand your Buyer’s Goals
Once you have your buyer personas built, the next step is to dig deep and understand what each of them hopes to achieve as they go through the customer journey.
Think about what your customers’ ultimate goals are in each phase (and remember that these may change as the process unfolds).
Some examples might be:
- Researching the different options that are available
- Ensuring that s/he is paying a fair price
- Seeking reassurance that s/he has all the necessary information about the product
A great way to go about doing this is to first identify the paths that your visitor may take on your site. If your visitor is a member or pre-existing customer, the first thing that they might do is to log in. Other activities include browsing, searching for products, comparing products, and more – once you’ve nailed down a full list of these activities, you’ll be able to identify all your touchpoints and the goals associated with each touchpoint.
Map your Buyer’s Touchpoints
A “touchpoint” refers to any time a customer comes into contact with your brand – before, during, or after they purchase something from you. This also includes moments that happen offline/online, through marketing, in person, or over the phone.
Some touchpoints may have more impact than others. For example, a bad check-in experience at a hotel can taint the entire stay.
You’ll want to take all potential touchpoints that occur between your customers and your organization into account. That way, you won’t miss out on any opportunities to listen to your customers and make improvements that will keep them happy.
Prioritize and Fix Roadblocks
If you look at it from a micro perspective, here are some questions you can ask yourself: What needs to be corrected or built? Is there a need to break everything down and start from scratch? Or are a few simple changes all that’s necessary for a big impact?
For instance, if customers frequently complain about how complicated your sign-up process is, it’s probably time to revamp it and make things easier.
After you’ve identified these roadblocks, take a step back and look at the big picture from a macro perspective. Recognize that the end goal is not to optimize each step or touchpoint just for the sake of optimizing it, but so that you can push your customers down the funnel, and bring them one step closer to converting.
At the end of the day, you want to be getting more conversions. So everything you tweak in each customer touchpoint should all be contributing to that one goal.
Update and Improve
Your customer journey map shouldn’t be left to gather dust on the shelf once it’s completed. Because your customers are constantly changing and evolving, your customer journey map should be doing the same as well. Consider it a living document that will continue to grow and develop.
If possible, test, update and improve your customer journey map every 6 months or so. In addition, customer journey maps should also be tweaked accordingly whenever you introduce significant changes to your product/service.
We’re entering an age where businesses are all about the customer experience.
By shifting the focus to the customer’s perspective, brands can better understand consumer wants and needs. This allows them to create more effective and satisfying experiences for their customers.