The B2B sales cycle is long and involves multiple touchpoints as customers research and compare solutions. You might easily lose a lead along the way and not know why they stopped responding or reaching out. Adjusting your strategy and trying again might solve the issue but can waste time and resources. Instead, use customer journey mapping to take the guesswork out of customer interactions and pinpoint specific areas for improvement.
Use this guide to create your customer journey map for IT and optimize your strategies to maximize your resources.
- Customer journey maps are visual representations of a customer’s interactions with your business
- You need a customer journey map to see where you can improve your customer journey marketing and sales efforts
- Build each customer journey map for a specific purpose and around an individual that represents a customer persona
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What Is Customer Journey Mapping?
Customer journey mapping records your interactions with customers and their touchpoints with your product. These records create a visual representation of a customer’s experience.
Marketers use a customer journey map to identify strengths and weaknesses in the customer experience, which might keep customers from purchasing from your business. When you improve a customer journey experience, you can increase your overall satisfaction rate by 20% and grow your revenue by 15%. You can also cut customer service costs by 20%.
A customer journey map includes:
- Social media engagement
- Interactions with your emails
- Customer service connections
- Visits to your website
- Content marketing interactions
- Digital content downloads
- Customer emotions and barriers
Because a customer journey involves so many different channels and interactions, one of the most efficient ways to understand it is by laying those interactions out in a visual diagram called a customer journey map.
How Tech Marketers Use Customer Journey Mapping
Customer journey mapping improves your customer care and provides essential data for your sales and marketing processes.
By recording how you interacted with a client in the past, you can ensure you aren’t repeating information or ignoring concerns they already voiced. You can also use your knowledge of past touchpoints to know what types of content and information potential customers are most interested in to guide your future interactions.
These personalized interactions improve the customer experience, which 80% of buyers say is as important as the products or services they purchase. In addition, 66% expect businesses to understand their needs, and 52% expect customized offers.
How To Create a Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map isn’t a straight line from start to finish. Instead, it branches into multiple directions causing it to backtrack and take parallel journeys to different destinations. While you can use various means for visualizing this journey, there are a few basics your map must include.
1. Choose a Purpose for Your Map
The method to map the customer journey depends on your purpose for creating a journey map. For example, mapping customer interactions to develop personalized account-based marketing strategies will look different from mapping the customer’s journey to analyze your content marketing processes.
2. Identify Stops Along the Way
A good customer journey map not only includes touchpoints that customers interacted with, but also recognizes the stops along the way that they missed. Before mapping a customer’s journey, list all the potential interactions or touchpoints a customer might have, including your social media channels, website, email, and contact channels.
Knowing what channels customers aren’t interacting with will alert you to ineffective strategies or potential barriers in other channels that keep customers from reaching those different touchpoints. For example, poor website navigation might prevent customers from filling out your contact form.
3. Collect Customer Data
You need to migrate customer data from your sources into your customer journey map to fill out the stops along the way. If you don’t have much data, consider investing in data collection platforms to gather and manage customer data so that it’s easy to search and organize on your map.
Your customer data includes who your customer is, their past interactions and actions, and their touchpoints with your business and competitors.
4. Generate New Data
There is some information that artificial intelligence can’t gather from people’s online activities. This includes a customer’s emotions and motivators behind their actions. A comprehensive customer journey map involves reaching out to customers and asking questions about their experiences.
Consider sending out a survey asking how they heard about your company, why they purchased or didn’t purchase, and direct questions about their experience.
5. Target Your Customer Journey Map
While analyzing your data and research, pick out the most relevant customers to represent the buyer’s journey. These are the customers you will map. You might pick out a customer for each persona if you have several personas. For instance, an enterprise tech buyer will have a different customer journey map than a self-employed individual who uses your software.
Mapping the journey of every customer is very time consuming and not necessary. Targeting your maps for a few personas will save you time while giving you the information you need. You may even map several customers within each persona for a more comprehensive look at the customer journey.
6. Visualize Your Data
Identify relevant information for your customer journey map’s purpose and lay it out in an easy-to-read format that highlights the most critical parts of the customer journey. Visual representations let you look over the map and identify patterns.
For example, customers might add products to their cart and then leave. The data from customer surveys you added to the map tells you they aren’t satisfied with your prices. Piecing this information together helps you connect that their abandoned cart is from realizing the high cost and gives you an idea of a pain point to address.
If you aren’t sure how to lay out the customer journey, go through the journey yourself and experience the touchpoints. This will give you a better idea of the path customers take and help you identify the flow and roadblocks of the customer journey.
Customer Journey Map Template
Use this customer journey map example to get an idea of how to map your customer’s journey. In this template, you create columns for each customer stage. Then, within the columns, list their interactions with your company or competitors and their feelings along the way.
If your purpose is to understand your customer better, consider changing the columns from customer journey map stages to times of the day to visualize a day in your customer's life. This is effective for account-based marketing, where you must gain a deeper understanding of their challenges and mindset.
Instead of using the column template, you can also visualize the journey using a spreadsheet, bubble chart, or flow chart.
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