The customer journey is the process a customer goes through when buying a product or service. A B2B customer journey map is an interactive tool that shows how customers are targeted and engage with your brand. It provides insight into their needs and motivations, allowing you to tailor your marketing strategy accordingly.
Why is the B2B Customer Journey important?
The B2B customer journey map is an essential tool to help you understand how your customers interact with your business. It can be used to identify where customers are dropping out of the process and why and showcase opportunities for improvement.
A B2B customer journey map represents the steps in a business-to-business (B2B) purchase funnel or process. A single purchase may have multiple touch points across online, offline, and digital channels before the sale are complete. For example:
- You might start by searching for a product on Google.
- Then you’ll visit an eCommerce site like Amazon to get more information about that product before buying it from them directly or from another retailer who has placed their listing there (like Walmart).
What is a B2B Customer Journey Map?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s path from initial awareness to purchase. It is used to understand how customers move through the sales funnel, showing where they encounter friction along the way and outlining opportunities you can take to improve your marketing campaigns.
A typical customer journey includes three stages:
The most important thing to remember about creating a B2B customer journey map is that it should be tailored for your business and not necessarily based on existing approaches or templates (for example, “buying” vs. “selling”). The goal isn’t just to create an infographic that looks nice but rather one that helps you understand how your customers behave before making purchases from you again (or not).
How to Map Your B2B Customer Journey
As mentioned earlier, you can use a customer journey map to understand the customer journey better. You need to identify the stages of your B2B customer experience and their touchpoints. The goal is to gather information on how your customers move through these stages and what problems or opportunities they encounter at each stage.
The first step in mapping out this process is identifying which processes you want to map. Each business will have unique processes for buying products or services from it, so it’s crucial not just to map out every possible step in the buying process but rather just those steps relevant to your specific business and industry.
Once you’ve identified these steps, think about how they fit into the bigger picture of how people interact with your brand: Is there anything before or after? What influences them throughout? How does this relate again when thinking about other touchpoints (e.g., advertising) later down the road?
How does a B2B customer journey differ from a B2C customer journey?
While a B2C customer journey map would show how a customer moves through the sales funnel, a B2B customer journey map is more concerned with where they come from. The most important difference you’ll notice is that in B2B, customers are more likely to research multiple suppliers before making a purchase decision.
Peers and colleagues also influence them, so when creating your map, think about who your ideal buyer might be. You should include their name or role alongside their attributes.
You can also see how B2C differs from B2B here:
- For example, in eCommerce, it’s not uncommon for consumers to search Google using keywords such as “best running shoes” or “cheap laptop.” But when researching new office furniture in an enterprise software company, prospects often use phrases like “quality desks” or “corporate chairs.”
How can you use a customer journey map to nurture leads?
The customer journey map helps you identify the best channels and content for each customer journey stage.
For example, if you are selling health products, you may want to use an ad campaign on Facebook or Instagram during the awareness phase of the purchase process.
Once they have moved into the consideration phase, you can create an ad that’s similar or complementary to your previous posts.
You could also send them a text message with information about similar products or include them in a newsletter that’s sent via email.
The next step is converting these leads into sales by following up through email and phone calls (if appropriate). This should be done at different stages for it not to be too intrusive—for example: sending emails after three days and then calling two weeks later with a reminder of what they ordered if no response has been received thus far.
The future of eCommerce customer journeys
As eCommerce continues to evolve, businesses must keep up with the changes and continue adapting their customer journeys. As technology advances, customers are expecting more personalization of the purchase process. So, as you plan the next iteration of your current B2B customer journey map or start fresh with a new one, make sure that you’re taking into account these four things:
- Personalization – The more personalized the experience is for each customer (especially during checkout), the better their chances of converting.
- Automation – Customers want automated processes. This means streamlining any manual steps in your sales funnel and ensuring alerts are sent when something goes wrong so that issues can be quickly resolved.
- Transparency – Customers want open communication channels between themselves and businesses/service providers so they know what’s happening at all times (and vice versa). This furthers trust between the parties involved and ensures everyone knows where they stand throughout the process.
- Global Reach – With globalization on the rise and companies expanding worldwide, having a global-ready eCommerce website is becoming increasingly crucial for brands looking to gain market share abroad.
A well-structured customer journey map will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing strategy.
A well-structured customer journey map will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing strategy. It’s a visual representation of the customer’s journey, in which they go from being aware of your brand to becoming a loyal customer (or not).
The size of each stage should correspond to the length of time spent in it. For example, if someone visits your website for just a few minutes before leaving without converting, there’s something wrong with your homepage or landing page. Still, if that same person spends hours on your site before making their first purchase, then there might be something wrong with how you’re using social media platforms such as Facebook Ads or Pinterest Ads.
An excellent way to think about this is by comparing two different scenarios: Scenario one involves having no customers; scenario two consists of having millions of customers, but none are satisfied with how your company is meeting their needs.
Scenario one is much better than scenario two (although it would be even better if both scenarios were eliminated), so any business would want more people like scenario one rather than more people like scenario two—and what makes them different?
Understanding what your audience is looking for and how to provide it is vital. By mapping out the customer journey and identifying pain points, you can create a more personal experience that will lead to more conversions.