As a marketer, it’s your job to guide potential customers along a clearly defined and carefully mapped route. This journey starts at the point of discovery before taking them along a path that inspires and informs until they arrive at a destination where they decide to formalize their relationship and become a paying customer.
What Does the Customer Journey Look Like?
While there are different versions of the customer journey depending on an organization's business model, prospects typically follow a five-stage process:
- Awareness: The lead generation stage is where potential clients search for a solution to a specific problem and discover your business.
- Consideration: When potential clients start evaluating your business against competitive offers.
- Purchase/Decision: The moment a prospect becomes a customer or decides to leave your funnel in favor of a competitive offer.
- Retention: Creating opportunities for recurring revenue and generating Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
- Advocacy: When customers are so satisfied with your business, they actively promote it to their peers.
Why is the Customer Journey Important?
Defining and mapping your customer journey can be a long and tedious process, involving multiple stakeholders in your organization. However, it's essential to aligning your sales and marketing teams and offers many advantages:
- You will be able to better target your marketing
- The assets you create will help support the sales funnel
- Your sales, marketing and customer success teams will be aligned
- It will improve your customer experience
- You will be able to better identify problem areas in your funnel
Six Steps to Success
While every customer journey is different, and not all passengers will reach your preferred destination, there are specific steps marketers can take to help make sure as many customers complete their journey as possible. As with any journey, this process requires careful planning and preparation.
We've outlined the steps below — for more detail,
Step #1 Document Your Resources
Before you can begin planning your various customer journeys, it’s essential to document all technical and human resources available to you to engage your audience. This process starts with a simple audit of all the potential ways a person could be engaged with your brand. including email, social media, events, website content, and more.
Step #2 What's in Dynamics?
To map your customer journey, we recommend starting with the information you have in CRM. For example, someone in the awareness or consideration stage will be a Lead with the goal of converting them to an Opportunity. You might look at where they came from (we leverage the Campaigns entity) and other vendors they are evaluating (with the Competitors entity).
Step #3 State Your Objectives
If you don’t know what your goals are, you’ll never know if you have been successful or not. Your objectives could be very general, focusing on items like customer acquisition or revenue. Alternatively, they could be more specific and focus on your business’s individual campaigns or product lines.
Step #4 Start with the Best Lead Source
When you start with your best lead source, you create opportunities to optimize the customer journey without overcomplicating the process. This data will also help you recognize gaps in your service which can be discussed, prioritized, and filled by focusing on specific steps of the journey or adding new engagement points.
Step #5 Who Should Be Involved?
While marketing will lead the conversation, the journey should include input from sales, support, customer success and your senior leadership team.
Step #6 Prepping for Your First Session
This is where the hard work begins. To prepare for your first meeting, choose a few clients and prospects from your named resource in Step #4 — be sure to include a variety of prospects that were won, lost or are still open so each stage is represented. Send the list out to your stakeholders and ask them to bring examples of touchpoints from each department. In your meeting, you will begin to discuss where sales is getting stuck and how marketing can help, plus other ways to improve and support the sales and marketing funnel.
Documenting the information collected in your sessions is essential before prioritizing next steps. Your priorities should be matched against objectives, carefully analyzed, and processes optimized accordingly. Testing strategies are also important and will help you understand whether you've been successful at an early stage. And remember — journeys aren't a one-time thing. You'll want to take your customers on as many journeys as possible and marketing's relationship with them doesn't end when they become paying clients.
Have questions about the workbook or need help designing your customer journey? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!