Why invest in a business-to-business (B2B) customer journey map?
Because customer experience isn’t a fixed location — it’s a journey from one customer interaction to the next. Like any excursion with twists and turns, it helps to chart out the optimal route.
And there’s no shortage of potential pitfalls when it comes to the route B2B buyers must travel. Larger buying committees, less linear buying paths, longer sales cycles — these challenges and others make it more difficult for B2B brands to deliver personalized, highly relevant CX across the entire customer lifecycle.
But with better understanding of the buyer journey, organizations can provide B2B CX that meets modern consumers’ high expectations.
That’s why we’ve put together the most important dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you create a B2B customer journey map of your own. Learn more below.
Learn how Autodesk drives customer loyalty with orchestrated customer journeys in the video below:
B2B Customer Journey Map: Dos and Don’ts for Enterprise Brands
Do: Recognize the Value of Mapping B2B Customer Journeys
As we’ve highlighted before, mapping as part of customer journey management is a useful technique for understanding the different ways buyers interact with a brand. It allows organizations to discover at which stages consumers engage in certain interactions, as well as which parts of the customer journey may require recalibration.
Creating a customer journey map is a worthwhile pursuit for any B2B brand that wants to drill down into its existing CX strategy and determine which teams, channels and touchpoints are most essential to supporting customer acquisition and retention. It will also help companies spotlight the points of friction that may be hampering customer experience.
Don’t: Replace Granularity With Broad Insights
B2B customer journey maps are useful tools for optimizing CX, but they’re not a replacement for granular customer intelligence.
Mapping out the customer journey will provide general insights that can be applied to different audiences depending on where they are in the customer lifecycle, but they won’t tell you which audience segments you should be prioritizing or supply deeper insights into those segments.
Hypersegmentation marketing — the process of moving beyond basic persona information in favor of CX that is customized based on the full customer profile — enables brands to build and iterate on audience segments while accounting for multiple dimensions and intent signals.
By unifying, analyzing and operationalizing customer data, brands can make the most of B2B customer journey maps by ensuring the right audiences are being driven to the right touchpoints at the right time.
See how e.l.f. Beauty builds more accurate audiences in the video below:
Do: Conduct Qualitative Research
Speaking to both internal stakeholders and customers is an excellent way to kick off B2B customer journey mapping. Teams across the organization — from product to customer service — can provide unique insights into the customer journey and help inform persona creation.
And performing win-loss analysis by interviewing both new customers and those who decided to go with a competitor helps brands gain a deeper understanding of which parts of the customer journey resonate (or don’t) with buyers.
It’s also important for internal teams to take the customer journey themselves. By placing themselves in the shoes of their customers, they can get more insight into how B2B buyers are pushed further down the sales funnel and where there may be areas of opportunity.
Don’t: Overlook Quantitative Data
Qualitative research is highly valuable, but it’s also prone to human error. Internal teams may make assumptions without the full picture, and customers won’t always tell you how they really feel about their customer experience.
By using analytical solutions to identify and dig into customer behaviors and preferences — such as those aligned with brand affinity or churn prevention — organizations can back up their qualitative research with quantitative data based on real customer actions.
B2B brands must ensure they have the tools necessary to collect, centralize and examine customer data at scale, as well as understand which data points correlate with different stages of the customer journey. By making this information accessible to everyday business users — as opposed to kept behind locked doors with IT and analytics teams — companies can ensure they’re extracting value from their customer data and using it to inform real-world operations.
Hear how Condé Nast empowers business teams with customer data in the video below:
Do: Prioritize Cross-Channel Consistency
B2B customer journeys rarely follow a straight line — or occur on a single device or channel. Unlike business-to-consumer (B2C) customers, B2B buyers often include multiple stakeholders from different departments, each focused on solving unique pain points and maximizing return on investment. They’re looking for multiple pieces of content and doing their own research across different channels.
While each channel may require a unique approach, it’s vital to ensure buyers don’t have conflicting experiences when trying to engage with a brand on their channel of choice.
As we discovered in our 2022 CX IQ Index, consistency across all online and offline channels is considered one of the most important aspects of customer experience by consumers. And an inability to deliver has helped fuel the customer experience gap that exists between businesses and their customers.
Don’t: Treat Every Channel the Same
Consistency across channels is key to superior and seamless CX, but that doesn’t mean all channels are created equal — or require the same level of attention.
By using audience analysis and journey orchestration solutions to identify which channels are most important to buyers, brands can ensure they’re spending time and money targeting audiences on the channels that matter to them instead of wasting budget on ones they don’t utilize.
This will also help brands prioritize which channels need their immediate attention after B2B customer journey mapping is complete.
Learn how Pandora Media powers experience orchestration across different channels in the video below:
Do: Drill Down to Maximize Value
The B2B customer journey may share similarities across brands, but each company will have its own unique strategy for customer acquisition and retention. Make sure your B2B customer journey map is aligned with your unique business needs.
This is especially important as brands dive deeper into specific touchpoints for different stages of the buyer journey. In order to provide tactical recommendations for how to improve performance — or use customer journey maps to train the teams responsible for particular stages of the buyer journey — brands will need to make sure maps account for internal protocols and processes tailored to their products and services.
Don’t: Sacrifice Functionality for Complexity
Actionable details are necessary to make use of customer journey maps, but there’s a fine line between equipping teams with useful information and overwhelming them with minutiae.
If B2B customer journey maps are too complicated, it will be difficult to validate them internally or begin leveraging them. However, if they’re too high-level, they’ll fail to provide insight into the customer perspective and lose their power to transform customer experiences for the better.
Aim for a happy medium, highlighting the information necessary to identify the most important touchpoints and any potential problems.
Sixty-one percent of businesses believe their customers are “very satisfied” with CX. But data shows that only 23% of consumers feel the same way.
By creating a B2B customer journey map, brands can proactively make sure they’re delivering the personalized customer experiences their buyers want. Just be sure to keep the unique needs of B2B buyers — and B2B brands — in mind.