How to Create a B2B Customer Journey Map in 2022
The B2B customer journey is a complex process. With 6-8 touchpoints required (on average) to convert a lead, plus the many different channels companies use to interact with customers, it’s more important than ever for companies to have a centralized place to manage it all. Enter: the B2B customer journey map.
B2B customer journey maps provide one, centralized place to outline your entire relationship with your customers. Building one for your organization creates an opportunity to continually streamline your sales process, optimize your customer experience, and improve your customer satisfaction levels.
In the sections that follow, we’ll cover how to create a customer journey map and the benefits B2B companies experience from using one.
- A B2B customer journey map provides a visual representation of the interactions your customer has with your product and brand.
- Your customer journey map should include pain points, the purchase process, customer actions, and customer touchpoints.
- Customer journey maps should be tailored to individual customer segments.
- It’s critical to test out your customer journey to identify areas for improvement and be confident it meets quality standards.
What is a B2B customer journey map?
A B2B customer journey map is a visual representation encapsulating every interaction your customers have with your product and brand. It covers every stage of the customer journey, from initial need awareness through to renewal and upsell purchases.
Companies use customer journey maps to better understand their customer’s experience and the challenges they encounter throughout it. A customer journey map is a valuable tool for marketing, sales, and customer success teams to continually improve the customer experience for optimal satisfaction.
The B2B customer journey itself is also increasingly complex and fast-evolving, and creating a map to navigate it helps companies proactively address changing needs and behaviors. To do so, customer journey maps should be frequently refreshed — their average lifecycle is 2-4 years.
Ideally, your B2B customer journey map should be a living document built through collaboration from your customer-facing teams. It is a representation of your company’s unique customer experience — no two are exactly the same — and needs input from everyone who plays a role in providing it.
What to Include in Your B2B Customer Journey Map
Customer Pain Points
Why do your customers seek your solutions in the first place? Answering this question will lead you to your customer’s pain points — the problems and challenges that lead them to initial need awareness. Understanding customer pain points is a good starting point that will help you build the first stages of your customer journey map.
But don’t stop there. Continue to think about pain points your customers may experience even as they move through their journey. What delays, implementation challenges, or other negative experiences may they encounter? These are the things you want to streamline and solve.
The Purchase Process
What do you want the purchase process to look like? This is the part of the customer journey map that you have the most control over. Think about each stage of the journey and the actions you want your customers to take at that time — for example, downloading certain content or beginning a free trial — and map it accordingly.
Then, you can assess whether the purchase process is happening the way you intend and make adjustments as needed.
Touchpoints are any interaction that happens between your customer and company. This might be through direct conversation — like a phone call or email with a salesperson — or it may be an interaction with an ad or your website. Another way to think about a touchpoint is any time a customer has an opportunity to form an opinion about your company.
Your B2B customer journey map should also include actions your customers take that do not directly include your company. Some examples include researching other provider options or meeting with their internal buying team.
How to Create a Customer Journey Map in 2022
Build (or Refresh) Your ICP and Buyer Personas
Your B2B customer journey map should be customized for each particular customer segment. As a first step, look at your ideal client profiles (ICPs) and buyer personas. Determine whether they’re still accurate and identify which ones are relevant to the map you’re currently building.
If you haven’t fully defined your ICPs and buyer personas, you definitely want to complete that exercise before you begin building your customer journey map.
Outline Your Purchase Process
Next, outline your purchase process. Remember, you have control over this part of the journey. What actions do you intend for your customers to take leading up to a purchase? What guiding tactics have you implemented to make it happen?
Once you’ve outlined your purchase process, align each item with the appropriate stage of the customer journey.
Match Your Customer Touchpoints
Now that you’ve got your customer journey and purchase process mapped out, highlight where customer touchpoints occur. You may not be directly interacting with customers during every touchpoint (example: when they’re independently visiting your website) but you can control the quality of the experience. Remember: these are the points at which you’re building an impression with potential customers.
List Additional Customer Actions
Now it’s time to add the additional actions your customers take that are not touchpoints with your brand. It’s important to know when these occur in relation to your touchpoints so that you can be intentional about how you interact with customers.
For example, if you know your customers typically go back to meet with their buying team after an initial sales presentation, you may want to provide materials or specific information they can share with their team.
Test Your Customer Experience
You can’t truly know the quality of your customer’s experience without trying it out yourself. Whenever possible, test out the experience you’ve mapped out on your customer journey map.
For example: send yourself the lead nurturing email campaign you send to prospects. Then, actually read the emails and click through every link you include. Watch the videos you share with potential customers. Sit through a sales presentation. Browse your own website. Google the search queries that send leads to your site.
You may even want to rate the quality of each experience (like in the example below) to help you identify areas that need improvement.
You can’t be too thorough during this step — it helps you make critical adjustments to your customer journey map that optimize the customer experience and ensure it meets the quality standards you aim to provide.
Create and Share Your Visual Map
Last but not least: remember to actually create a final visual representation of your B2B customer journey map, then share it with your teams. The true power of your B2B customer journey map lies in its usability.
Incorporate it as much as possible into training sessions, meetings, professional development programs, and in your physical headquarters to keep it top-of-mind.
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