If the phrase “B2B customer journey” makes you feel a little tired, you’re not alone. Many companies are overwhelmed with thinking about the customer experience, carefully cultivating touchpoints for each persona, and providing the right B2B SaaS customer support. Et cetera, et cetera.
Thinking about the customer journey isn’t a waste of time, however. Being intentional about marketing, sales, onboarding, and retention can save you considerable time in the long run – not to mention boost your profits.
If you’re already in the middle of retooling your approach to your audience to transform your organization into an irresistible brand, then you’re on the right track. If you’re only just starting to think about how you might implement a more customer-centric approach, you’re still in the right place.
Today, we will discuss customer journey mapping and its importance for B2B sales. We’ll discuss what a journey map is, what it means for interacting with your customers, and which touchpoints you’ll find on such a map.
Get ready to use journey mapping to forge a relationship with buyers that will make you unforgettable.
What Is the B2B Customer Journey?
The B2B customer journey, also known as the B2B buyer’s journey, is a set of customer touchpoints that show how they interact with your brand from start to finish. From the first time they encounter SaaS companies via an ad or search, to their initial product user experience, to the moment they churn (or don’t!), those are all part of the customer journey.
More specifically, the B2B customer journey occurs in six stages:
The B2B SaaS customer journey begins in the awareness stage. At this point, customer interactions are limited. Most likely, people encounter your brand on social media or through marketing campaigns. Your audience might not even be decision-makers at this point, but rather people with the ear of decision-makers.
The next stage for the potential customer is when they start considering your offering seriously. Your target audience will explore the product features, comparing them to others they’ve seen on the market. Your sales process needs to convince them that, of all the options available to them, you’re the one who will be able to solve their pain points. They can do this through good customer education.
By this point in the B2B customer journey, your marketing and sales team has used many touchpoints to educate stakeholders on your products and the purchasing process to sign up leads and prospects. Without being pushy, the conversion stage is where you apply pressure to encourage decision-making and turn those prospects into customers.
This is the most critical and productive stage of the customer journey. The onboarding process is when you take new customers and turn them into loyal customers for life. If you give them the training tools they need to succeed with your product, then the B2B buyer will not only leverage your software to the best effect, they’ll tell everyone how much they love it.
Once you’ve gotten the user up to speed post-purchase, it’s time to put all your effort into customer success and customer satisfaction. In addition to providing in-depth tutorials about your SaaS product's existing and new features to your customer, you also want to gather customer data and metrics from them. These will help you improve your entire customer lifecycle, increase customer retention, and cross-sell and upsell more products.
The last stage of SaaS customer journey mapping is advocacy. This is where a user becomes a promoter, telling others how much they love your product and bringing in referrals. If you can get a customer to the advocacy stage, you’ve done something right.
What is B2B Customer Journey Mapping?
Customer journey mapping is a visual approach to the above stages. It helps you create a storyline for your messaging to the ideal customer so that you can see precisely what buyer personas go through at every stage.
For each one, you’ll want to consider more in-depth questions about pricing and KPIs, for example. But it’s also essential to consider the customer mindset at that stage. What are they worried about? What are they asking themselves, their loved ones, and your sales reps at this stage? What kinds of touchpoints occur between your company and them?
You can get inside their heads when you create a visual representation of how people interact with your brand. It helps you train your marketing, sales, and support teams about who the customer is and what they want.
Example: Shopping for a New Car
The six stages of the customer journey are general in nature. However, you may break them down even further depending on your specific product or service. Let’s look at an example of customer behavior particular to a brand: shopping for a car.
This example from the Nielsen Normal Group extends the first three customer journey touchpoints, including comparing, testing, and negotiating before the sale. In every pre-sale stage, you can see that the company has mapped out what actions customers are taking and some of the things they might say along the way.
Why Is Customer Journey Mapping Important for B2B SaaS?
Why does customer journey mapping matter? Good question. Especially in this age of curating buyer journeys, sales funnels, and customer success bowties, it can feel a little overwhelming to hear you need to create one more piece of collateral to get into your customer’s head.
Yet doing so is invaluable. The customer journey map allows you to see precisely what your customer is thinking at every stage so that you can address their needs in real-time. This benefits you in multiple ways by allowing you to:
Gather insights on your customers: An intentional B2B customer journey allows you to check in with and gather data from buyers at every step.
Predict customer needs better: You can predict your buyers’ needs more effectively, which surprises and delights them.
Empathize with your audience: In understanding people, you can better show compassion and an accurate understanding of their needs, which is a significant conversion point for many.
Plug gaps in the customer experience: Are you missing something? A visual map will show you where that gap is so you can fill it with support, training, and outreach.
Get a bird’s-eye view of buyer behavior: B2B customer journey maps show everything happening simultaneously, so you can see all the moving parts.
De-silo your organization: When you see where your buyer will be at every phase, you can integrate marketing, sales, and support much more effectively.
Sell more, upsell more, cross-sell more: A visual overview of the B2B customer journey shows you exactly where the opportunities are for re-upping services.
Experience less churn: If you understand your customers, meet their needs at every stage, and help them explore your additional offerings at the right time, they’re less likely to leave and more likely to experience success.
Forecast more efficiently: Forecasting is a central sticking point for many organizations, but customer journey mapping can help you gather the data you need to do much more effectively.
It will take time to map out your entire SaaS business on paper (figuratively or literally). You may also need to make several customer journey maps, depending on how many buyer personas or products you have.
However, if you put this into practice, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of your product and how it can serve the people who keep your business alive.
What are Customer Touchpoints, and How Do They Improve the Customer Experience?
A B2B customer journey map is built on touchpoints. These points represent every time a customer connects with you, whether through a piece of content, you create, a phone call with a sales rep, an action they take in your SaaS dashboard, or a support ticket that gets resolved.
Touchpoints can take many forms, but the following are some of the most important and expected.
Ads are often the first time a buyer encounters your brand. They may Google a topic, and your ad pops up, or their interests lead to that ad being served on social media.
Website and Blog Visits
The B2B customer journey frequently commences when someone visits your website or blog. When they do, they get free information from you – but hopefully, you’ve also clearly earmarked how they can increase their touchpoints with you.
Social Media Interactions
Most companies these days have a social media presence. This is often where customers first encounter you, but it’s also where they deepen the know-like-trust component of your relationship.
Ratings, Reviews, and Testimonials
Social proof is an integral part of your B2B customer journey. You should always know where it factors into your journey map.
Phone Calls and SMS Outreach
Once leads become prospects and you have their contact information, you can begin contacting them rather than waiting for them to come to you. Phone and text often form foundational touchpoints during Stages 2-6 of the B2B customer journey.
Customer Service Contacts
Whether a customer needs help with webinars or workflows, you better have customer service there to help them. A good customer training program can help minimize the number of support tickets you must handle, but your help desk will always be a touchpoint.
Once you understand how these touchpoints manifest for you and how they work together across the customer journey map, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping customers around for life.
Get the Help You Need From Raven360
Fleshing out your B2B customer journey isn’t impossible, but you may need help. This is especially true of the onboarding stage, which is simultaneously the most important and the easiest to get wrong. If customers don’t feel a high degree of success with your product right off the bat, they’ll leave – and you’re left holding the (empty) bag.
If you want to reduce churn, increase customer success, and build your brand, it’s time to implement a training solution that won’t let your customers down. Raven360 is here to help. Our academy model-based learning solutions help you interact with your customers empathetically, creating fun and meaningful experiences for them.
Good customer education helps them use your product effectively and tells them you care about their success. The result is a learning process that not only works; it makes them love you.
Ready to learn more? Reach out to Raven360 to talk to our team today.