Customer Journey Maps in B2B: The Basics

Customer buying online

A data-driven B2B customer journey map is a visual representation of the average path a sales prospect takes before becoming a customer. It shows you what happens to your leads and customers, where they encounter friction, and how you can make it easier for them to progress through the sales funnel.

Hence, the information in your customer journey in b2b map will help you improve your website and marketing campaigns so that visitors become customers more efficiently.

What is a B2B customer journey?

While the B2B customer journey is not new, it has become more prevalent in recent years, especially with the rise of B2B eCommerce. A customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer's steps to go from being aware of your company to becoming a customer.

The first step in creating your map is determining what stage or stages you will focus on. You may choose to focus on different stages for different types of customers, for example:

  • Prospects who have never heard of you before (awareness).
  • Potential buyers who have seen your products/services but haven't yet made contact (consideration).
  • Customers who are actively using your product(s)/service(s).

Why are customer journeys important?

Customer journeys are vital because they help you better understand your customers, especially if there are unexpected cases. They also reveal how customers interact with your brand, which can be used to improve the customer experience and overall relationship.

Your customer journey map will be one of the most powerful tools for understanding what matters to your customers, allowing you to decide how best to serve them.

Example of a data-driven B2B customer journey map

Example of a data-driven B2B customer journey map:

Data-driven B2B Customer Journey Map Purpose: To show how your customers move through your sales funnel and identify the pain points preventing them from moving forward. The goal is to understand what's working and what isn't so that you can improve the experience for each stage in the process and in unexpected cases.

What are the steps of a B2B customer journey?

The B2B customer journey is a strategic framework that aligns your business goals with your customers' path to achieving their goals. The purpose of mapping out your B2B customer journey is to understand how customers interact with your brand, identify problems in the process, and prioritize opportunities for improvement.

Creating a B2B customer journey map begins with research: discovery of information about how customers approach purchasing decisions, how they evaluate options and make purchase decisions, what motivates them to buy from you instead of someone else etc. It’s crucial to analyze existing data (predominantly qualitative feedback) and conduct market research using surveys or interviews if there isn't enough data yet on which channels they prefer or why they made confident choices.

The next step involves designing a new process based on feedback gathered during the research phase -- this includes creating personas based on shared traits across different segments so you can develop products/services tailored specifically towards them without losing sight of overarching company goals like increasing profits by 20%. 

Then build it. Test it. Measure results after implementing changes based on data analysis until satisfied with efficiency gains achieved through redesigning processes using insights gained during the research stage; then repeat the cycle indefinitely until all possible opportunities have been explored fully before moving on to something else entirely different which might need improvement too (and so forth).

How is a B2B customer journey different from a B2C customer journey?

A B2B customer journey is more complex than a B2C customer journey. As such, a couple of things to consider before creating and using your own B2B customer journey map.

  • Customers in the B2B world are generally more informed about the products and services you offer than their counterparts in the B2C world. This means they will be looking for information on your product or service at every point in their buying process—not just when it's time for them to make their purchase decision. Hence, your content needs to be available on all channels where these potential customers may find you (and not just where salespeople might have traditionally thought they should see it: For instance, don't forget social media).

How to create a B2B customer journey map

Creating a data-driven B2B customer journey map is a process that takes time, but it's not complicated. The best part about creating your map is that there are no rules for how it should look—as long as you include the correct information and make sure it's understandable to everyone who will read it, you can use any style and format you like.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Use a simple, uncluttered style.
  • Keep your layout clear so readers can easily find what they need.
  • Avoid jargon or acronyms if possible (and refer back to the glossary at the end of this article if needed).
  • Try not to use more than one bullet point per sentence; instead, put multiple ideas into separate lists if necessary (e.g., "buyer pain points" -> "pain points" -> "problems with the current process"). This makes it easier for people reading through documents later down the line who may not know what those terms mean yet.

Here are the basic steps to consider while creating your map.

1. Decide what you want to achieve with your map

To begin, you'll need to decide what you want to achieve with your map. This is where it's crucial to define the problem before starting on a solution.

What do you hope will be different once this journey map is complete? What problems do you want to solve? Set specific and measurable goals (ideally using metrics such as revenue per customer or employee satisfaction). 

Don't worry about other people's goals—be ambitious, but stay realistic. For example, if one of your goals was "increase my company's revenue by 50% in the next three months," think about how much time and resources it would take for that goal to become a reality. Will it work within the time frame allotted?

You could also set smaller milestones along the way so that everyone can see progress being made toward their ultimate objective. For example: "Our team needs more accountability!" How else could we accomplish this goal besides setting up weekly check-ins with each sales team member?

2. Analyze your data

The first step in creating your customer journey map is to analyze your data. Data analysis is integral to the process because it allows you to identify trends and patterns in how customers interact with your business and use its products or services. 

By analyzing customer behavior, you can specify which touchpoints are performing well and which need improvement. Your data also allows you to see where there may be opportunities for new products or services that could meet customer needs more effectively than what's currently on offer.

Before jumping into analysis, it's crucial to have all relevant information—qualitative and quantitative data—so that nothing gets missed along the way. This can include:

  • Customer surveys
  • Interviews with customers or stakeholders (such as salespeople)
  • Social media analytics

3. Get feedback and test your map

Once you've completed the mapping process, it's time to test your map. You'll want to get feedback from customers and your team before setting this data-driven journey in motion.

First, ask a small group of customers to use your customer journey map and identify any issues. 

Then ask them for suggestions on improvements that could be made based on their experience using the map. Finally, ask them how they felt about the entire process and whether they felt like it was valuable or not.

How can you use your B2B customer journey map?

Now that you have a customer journey map, you can use it to improve your website, marketing, sales process, customer service, and product offerings.

  • eCommerce improvements: Your data-driven B2B customer journey map will help you understand which pages on your website are getting the most traffic and which ones aren't. You can then redesign these pages to make them more useful for visitors.
  • Marketing improvements: The insights from your customer journey mapping session will help you tailor your marketing copy to resonate with specific groups of prospects at different stages of their buying cycle. This will increase clickthrough and conversion rates for all lead generation campaigns.
  • Sales process improvements: Your new B2B customer journey map will give you visibility into how prospects move through the sales funnel before they become customers—and whether or not they're successful at pushing through it (hint: if they aren't becoming customers after several attempts, something isn't right). Once again, this will lead to better results across all lead generation activities such as cold calls or email campaigns by ensuring they're being sent only when appropriate.

A data-driven B2B customer journey map will help you identify the areas of friction that stop visitors from becoming customers and the elements of delight that convert customers into advocates

A data-driven B2B customer journey map will help you identify the areas of friction that stop visitors from becoming customers and the elements of delight that convert customers into advocates.

Remembering a customer journey map is a living document: your business will change over time as you learn more about what works and what doesn't. This is why it's so helpful to gather feedback from your users at every step of their journey - this allows you to adapt quickly when something isn't working well. Many tools can assist you in gathering this data, including surveys and automated emails.

Final thought

If you haven't already started mapping your B2B customer journey, now is the time to get started. The more you understand how your customers interact with your eCommerce brand and products, the better equipped you are to create campaigns that help people make positive decisions about their purchases.


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