A buyer’s journey is the path a prospect takes from initial awareness of your company to becoming a customer. It may not be linear: A prospect might engage with you several times before purchasing and then drop out of touch for months or years before returning. However, even if the steps in this journey are often non-linear, it’s still essential to create a B2B customer journey map to improve the overall customer experience.
As a result, B2B marketers can use a buyer’s journey map as their guide for creating content and refining strategies that better serve their customers throughout every stage of their buying process—ultimately leading them to become loyal buyers who trust you more than any other competitor out there.
Understand your buyer personas.
Before creating a buyer personas map, you need to know who your customers are. Buyer personas are fictional characters that represent your ideal customer. A well-defined buyer persona will help you create content that is relevant to your audience, and it will also be useful when developing marketing campaigns, such as email marketing or social media content.
An excellent way to generate these fictional characters is by researching who buys from you and why.
You should ask questions like:
- What does their job look like?
- What are their responsibilities?
- How many people work in the department where they spend most of their time?
- Where do they live?
- In what city do they work?
Speak with actual customers, so the information gathered is more relevant than simply making up details based on conjecture or assumptions.
Once this information has been gathered via surveys or interviews, write down several words that describe each type of customer, such as “manager” or “salesperson.” Then connect all those words with arrows so that each style looks like an actual person instead of just a bunch of words floating around aimlessly on a page (this way, it’ll be easier for others within the organization).
Define the stages of the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey is a framework for understanding and moving from awareness to purchase. It’s a series of steps buyers go through as they move from being aware of a product or service to making a purchase.
The buyer’s journey is not just about where you currently stand with your audience; it also gives you insight into what you should do next.
Identify critical user tasks and needs at each stage of the journey.
Once you understand the customer journey map, it’s time to dig deeper into the needs and tasks of each stage. The next step is identifying critical user tasks and needs at each stage of your customer journey map.
For example, if you’re a SaaS company focused on improving sales processes for B2B companies, then many potential user tasks could be tracked in this phase:
- Understanding their challenges.
- Identifying what motivates them (e.g., increased revenue).
- Discovering how they currently handle these challenges (e.g., emailing files back and forth).
Determine the best content, products, and services to address these needs.
The next step is determining what content, products, and services you will offer at each stage of the buyer journey map.
Determining this should be based on the following:
- Your customer feedback: what they said they needed when they gave you feedback (or bought from you)
- Your company’s data: such as survey results on what customers are looking for or how satisfied they are with their current experience
- Your company’s expertise: decide if anything sets it apart from others in your industry, then offer it.
Use personas to identify strategic goals, pain points, and aspirations.
Personas are fictional characters that represent your target customers. They help you better understand your customers and their needs, enabling you to align with them.
Personas can be used to identify strategic goals, pain points, and aspirations by asking questions like:
- What are their top business drivers?
- How do they choose providers of products or services?
- What would make my product stand out from competitors’ offerings?
Tailor content to different audience segments.
Audience segmentation divides your target market into groups or categories based on common characteristics such as age, location, gender, etc. You can then tailor your marketing activities to each audience segment.
This is a crucial step in B2B customer journey mapping because it enables you to add value throughout each stage of the buyer’s lifecycle by targeting individuals likely to be interested in your product or service. For example:
When researching their next home improvement project, a small business owner will have different needs than a large multinational corporation. Therefore it would make sense for their respective websites’ landing pages (i.e., pages where one lands after entering your domain name) to be tailored accordingly—the former might want basic product information. At the same time, the latter could require more detailed specifications before making a purchase decision (and therefore requires more “advanced” data).
Use their language to make it personal.
Don’t use industry jargon when you can avoid it, but if you do use it, explain what it means to your customer.
Use specific examples of how you’ve helped a customer with something similar.
Create specialized content for each persona and each stage of the buyer’s journey.
A customer journey map is a great way to organize your data, but it’s only valid if you have the correct data.
One of the main advantages of creating a customer journey map is that it gives you a clear picture of your customer’s needs and wants throughout the buying process.
For example, you work at a B2B company selling industrial safety equipment. Buyers start with research and progress through initial contact and demo requests before making purchase decisions. From there, they become customers who buy new products continuously or refer other potential buyers to your company.
To create specialized content for each persona and each stage of their buyer’s journey—from researcher to researcher-to-buyer—you’ll need personas:
- Detailed descriptions about who these personas are (their demographics)
- Where they are in their decision-making process (the stages)
- How long they take to move from one stage to another (the cycle time)
- Why do they make certain decisions or behave in specific ways during those stages (the pain points).
Visualize the journey with a map that allows you to see customers from many different angles—including how they engage with your company over time, what motivates them, and which touchpoints are most effective.
A customer journey map visually represents the buyer’s journey, including all interactions before, during, and after a customer purchases your product or service. The customer journey map also allows you to see your customers from many angles—including how they engage with your company over time, what motivates them, and which touchpoints are most effective.
The B2B customer journey map helps you see your customers from multiple angles to serve them better.
The B2B customer journey map helps you see your customers from multiple angles to serve them better. It’s a visual representation of your entire customer journey, with every touchpoint broken down into its components.
By using the map to understand how different touchpoints impact each other, you can better identify your business’s strategic goals and pain points. The result is a more well-rounded view of what motivates customers and which touchpoints most effectively meet those needs.
The customer journey map is an invaluable tool for B2B eCommerce. It allows you to see your customers from multiple angles—including how they engage with your company over time, what motivates them, and which touchpoints are most effective—and then use this information to create a personalized experience that helps each person get precisely what they need.
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