B2B Customer Journey: How Do You Track It?

Published by Yash Chawlani on

In B2B, the sales cycles are notoriously long and deals can fall off even at the last moment. This, however, is justified. Most B2B deals (aside from self-service SaaS subscriptions) have high ticket values and are business assets that are carefully vetted before purchase.

 

Choosing a B2B product or service that does not fit well with your requirements can not only add to expenses but also leave you languishing behind the competition.

 

That is why we have so many stakeholders involved in the purchase decision, a process that can span for months. Considering the complexities involved, it is no surprise that tracking and mapping customer journeys have gained in prevalence in the B2B sector.

 

Source: uxdesign.cc

 

B2B customer journey mapping not only simplifies sales pipeline management but also enables you to provide a better customer experience. A good customer experience is vastly beneficial for any business and its importance for B2B cannot be understated.

 

But how is all of this achieved? Let’s find out!

 

Defining B2B Customer Journey

The path that a B2B customer takes from being introduced to your business to finding out about your offerings, to evaluating them to finally making a purchase can be defined as a customer journey.

 

All the touchpoints a customer encounters along their journey and their interactions with your business through it are also accounted for in the customer journey.

 

First and foremost, having knowledge about the customer’s journey enables a business to understand them and provide them with a consistent experience. But how is that important?

 

A study conducted by Mckinsey and Company found out that 65% of your leads won’t convert because of the inconsistency in their customer experience.

 

Now that is a lot of revenue lost by not paying attention to customer experience!

 

Ensuring a pleasant customer journey is essential as it adds a lot of positives to the decision-making process and the overall customer experience.

 

Happy customers are not only easy to retain but also act as brand advocates. The effect of these positives is amplified considering how much value every deal carries.

 

B2B customer journey mapping facilitates a lot of improvements in all customer-facing areas of a business. A consistent customer experience, personalization, improved retention, positive brand perception, increasing brand value, etc. can be achieved.

 

Let us understand the difference between B2C and B2B customer journeys. This will give you more clarity into the significance and benefits of the B2B customer journey.

 

How do B2C and B2B Customer Journeys Differ?

The Number of Decision Makers Involved

The B2C customer journey will usually involve a single decision-maker. The decision-maker will finalize the purchase based on the experience he has along his journey.

 

The B2B customer journey involves multiple decision-makers at different levels. The experience each one of them has along the customer journey and while interacting with your business, influences their purchase decision.

 

Source: gartner.com

 

Journey Length

The B2C customer journeys are short and only involve a few steps. The customer usually checks the product, its reviews, and decides to make a purchase or not quickly.

 

The B2B customer journey on the other hand can span for months. The reason behind this is that the service or product they wish to acquire is for their business. The product needs to solve the pain points the business suffers from which involves multiple decision makers.

 

Moreover, as the investment involved is significant, a B2B customer will take time to ensure they’re getting something suitable to their needs and of good value.

 

Level Of Complexity

A single decision-maker, few touchpoints and a short sales cycle make a B2C customer journey a relatively simple one to map and generate insights from.

 

Multiple decision-makers, longer sales cycles, multiple touchpoints, several interactions, multiple requirements and other B2B associated factors make the B2B customer journey a fairly complex one.

 

Despite these complexities involved, a business can map and generate actionable insights from a B2B customer journey.

 

 

Source: getfeedback.com

 

Level Of Required Customization

The B2C journey may at times require a single step to offer customizations in the product or service for the customer. Be it a different product color or specific selection in the service, it all can be offered in a single step.

 

Owing to the nature of B2B products and services, a lot of customization is required which involves several steps. The B2B customers require a product that addresses all their requirements and best suits their style of operations.

 

Your ability to gauge these requirements and offer a solution to them quickly impacts a B2B customer’s purchase decision drastically.

 

Now that you have all your basics clear, let’s dive in deeper and understand the different stages of customer journey mapping.

Mapping The Different Stages Of Customer Journey

 

Source: venngage.com

 

The entire journey of a customer can be divided into 5 stages. These 5 stages each involve a different activity that a customer performs. The five stages are as follows:

 

Awareness

The initial stage in the customer journey involves the customer becoming aware of your brand and your offerings. A customer can come across your brand or offerings through various marketing channels or even from customers who advocate your brand.

 

Mapping this stage of the customer journey allows you to gain insights into how effective your marketing is. You can keep track of all the touchpoints that a customer interacts with or comes across and use marketing attribution to improve your marketing.

 

Consideration

In the second stage of the customer journey, the customer will try to learn about your brand and your offerings. This is with an objective to gauge your expertise and reliability in terms of what value and solutions you’re offering.

 

A customer may go through your blog, ask for a sales consultation, demo, sign up for a free trial, etc. to understand the value you provide.

 

There will be further consultations with your sales and technical team to see if they can have the product customized to their specific requirements.

 

Purchase and Delivery

The third stage involves the finalization of the purchase by the customer and its delivery and subsequent deployment.

 

Once the customer is convinced about your product’s ability and suitability to eliminate their pain points, the customer goes ahead and places the purchase order.

 

After all the purchase processes have been completed, the product is delivered at the earliest. After delivery, you will need to assist your customer with the deployment of the product and onboarding of the product users.

 

Feedback And Retention

Once the product or service is deployed, the customer will start using it. During the initial stages of the customer using the product, he will encounter minor issues, bugs or difficulties in the operations.

 

The feedback is assessed and the appropriate assistance is provided to the customer to ensure the product works as they need it to.

 

Ensuring this ensures customer satisfaction, retention and gives you opportunities to improve your products in different areas.

 

Strengthening Relationship

The final stage in the customer journey mapping involves building and strengthening the relationship with the customer. This can be done using various ways which involve keeping an active line of communication and engagement open with the customer.

 

Having a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with your customers ensures you maximize the customer lifetime value and assured reorders.

 

Another benefit of a strong relationship with your customer is that they act as your brand advocate. New customers can discover you in this way, as mentioned in the first stage.

 

Moving ahead, let us see how you can track your customer’s journey.

 

How To Track Customer Journey

Setting Up The Journey

Before you can begin with setting goals for customer experience, personalization, etc. you will need to identify the different stages in your customer’s journey.

 

Using a product like Salespanel, you can get Single Customer View (SCV) of your customers under one dashboard and use the system as the single source of truth for your customer journeys.

 

This will allow you to understand the process a customer has to go through, giving you more opportunities to enhance the customer experience.

 

Identify All Touchpoints

Once you’ve set up the customer journey, it will allow you to identify all the touchpoints a customer may come across. This will give you insight into how each touchpoint helps in the progression of a client down your sales funnel.

 

With additional knowledge about the customer journey and control over the touchpoints, you can move more customers swiftly through your sales funnel.

 

Source: inmoment.com

 

Mapping Your Customer Journey

The best way to go about this is to create a visual map that includes all the identified touchpoints.

 

You can then track customers as they move along the touchpoints and make way through the different stages of the customer journey.

 

Once the customer journey is mapped, use a tool like Salespanel again to advertise based on the journey stages of your customers or personalize their experiences while they are on your website.

 

Optimize Customer Journey

Having a complete view of how a customer’s journey allows you to cater better to their needs and provide a consistent experience.

 

Knowing all the touchpoints allows you further control over the customer experience.

 

You can use all the insights gained to maximize customer experience and grow revenue.

 

Conclusion

Mapping and tracking customer journeys is not only beneficial but necessary for B2B businesses to ensure revenue growth. A consistent experience across the board will ensure you don’t miss out on as much as 65% of the leads. The key here is to understand the journey, identify touchpoints and control the customer experience to maximize conversions!

 

 

 

 

Sell more, understand your customers’ journey for free!

Sales and Marketing teams spend millions of dollars to bring visitors to your website. But do you track your customer’s journey? Do you know who buys and why?

Around 8% of your website traffic will sign up on your lead forms. What happens to the other 92% of your traffic? Can you identify your visiting accounts? Can you engage and retarget your qualified visitors even if they are not identified?

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Categories: Marketing

Yash Chawlani

Yash Chawlani is a Freelance Content Marketing Strategist who is known by his personal brand Merlin. He specializes in SEO and Social Media and helps B2B and SaaS companies out there with his top-notch content strategies. In his spare time, you can either find him in the gym or on the football field.

Nilangan Ray, Marketing Head Nilangan from Salespanel

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