Learn how properly creating your B2B buyer’s journey can lead to ultimate success.
As we’ve discussed previously, the buyer’s journey is extremely important for your inbound marketing strategy as it helps you to identify gaps and pain points during the different steps your potential customers take towards becoming a customer. By defining the buyer’s journey for your business, you’ll be able to make improvements to your overall customer experience.
A B2B buyer’s journey is complex and requires a lot of time, effort and preparation. Like planning for an expedition, you can’t just set out without the proper people, boundaries, tools and research — otherwise, you might get lost along the way! That is why we’re here to guide you on the necessary steps to creating yours.
1. Getting the crew together – selecting the right team
Going on an expedition would be extremely hard all on your own. That’s why every adventure requires the right people to help you succeed.
However, your team shouldn’t just consist of the Marketing department. Having cross-functional stakeholders, from Sales, Customer Support, Operations, Product, IT and beyond, who have insights on different aspects of the customer will help you get a more well-rounded view of the steps your customers take.
Who should you include in your team?
- A business leader: Someone who sits on the executive team
- One or two subject matter experts: Those who are in contact with the customers and who know how to conduct research
- A facilitator: Consider working with a consultant who specializes in journey mapping
- A team of implementers: They will help distribute and make use of the buyer’s journey throughout the company (because what is the point of making one if you aren’t going to use it!)
2. Determine your final frontier
The next step is deciding which persona and which journey will be mapped, as there could be multiple options.
Before the mapping session, certain decisions must be made around scale and scope. You wouldn’t set out on a trip without detailing where, when and how long you’d be gone for, right?
Focus on customers of greatest strategic importance, those who have historically been underserved as well as those with the greatest known pain-points. If you have multiple personas that you are prioritizing as a business, then you will need a journey map for each.
What type of journey?
While many journeys could be mapped within a large organization, you can tackle them in priority order based on the following criteria:
- Known customer “pain points”
- High importance to customers
- Areas of strategic importance where revenue is declining
- High-frequency transactions
- Executive support
A B2B buyer’s journey is an ongoing process. Ideally, you should end up with a “journey atlas” where multiple journeys are represented. Think of it as a picture book of all your adventures. Overall, consider value to the customer and value to the business when deciding which journey to map first.
3. Gather information for your quest
Just as you’d conduct research on local customs, activities and places to visit before a big trip, the same should be done before starting to create a buyer journey. Journey mapping is not done on the “gut instinct” of the team. Rather, B2B buyer’s journeys (and personas) must be grounded in data that offers insights about your customer.
Team members must assess what data is available and where customer knowledge gaps exist. If research data is not readily available, you can conduct primary research based on your company’s chosen research methodology.
What type of marketing research feeds into a B2B buyer’s journey?
To really get inside your ideal customer’s head, you should use qualitative research (such as ethnography, one-on-one interviews, usability tests, observing online behaviour or in-person and diary studies).
Quantitative data also might play a slightly smaller role with surveys and digital observation of the various drop-off points, such as tracking the steps customers take in their online purchase process, as well as social listening.
4. Charting the journey
Finally, once all the other steps are completed, you can begin to build an expedition itinerary.
For B2B buyer’s journeys, the team will map out the journey based on their collective knowledge gathered from marketing research, customer service feedback and CRM data.
Steps to Building the Map
- Define the customer’s start and end of their journey
- Fill in all the in-between steps in their journey
- Layer on the touchpoints the customer interacts with for each step
- Layer on their thoughts, feelings, questions the customer has for each step
- Visualize emotions within the journey
You can use Google Sheets or Excel to fill out all the touchpoints, thoughts and emotions underneath each step of the journey.
Throughout this process, it’s important that your team be realistic. Don’t be overly optimistic by showing the ideal journey, but rather show the customer’s REAL journey, including friction and pain points that arise. By focusing on the reality of your existing customer’s buyer’s journey, it will reveal a lot more about what is working, what isn’t hitting the mark and where there is an opportunity for improvement that you may have never noticed before!
Titan Creative Inc. is a creative and digital agency helping clients across North America drive results.