Ensuring that a customer has a positive experience through their journey is critical to the growth of B2B companies. A successful customer journey will likely result in Promoters that will buy more from your company and recommend you to prospects. Mishaps in the customer journey — in deployment, training, account management or support — will create barriers for purchasing more from you. If severe enough, they may lead to defections.
Customer Journey Mapping efforts to date have involved resource intensive efforts of creating detailed process maps. These efforts have taken a ‘boil the ocean’ approach of addressing every single pain point in the process. For those who have been around in the 90’s, this feels very similar to Process Re-Engineering efforts.
While many of these efforts have indeed resulted in more streamlined processes, they may not have moved the needle on the business metrics that count: increasing the population of Promoters, increasing upsell and cross sell opportunities and improving client retention. Why do so many efforts fail? Mainly, because the approach is uniform; reducing inefficiencies at every step of the process, rather than honing in on process steps that actually matter to the customer.
Best Practices in B2B Customer Journey Mapping
Our extensive experience with Customer Journey Mapping for B2B Tech companies has proven that there are three best practices that each vendor should follow to a successful Customer Journey Mapping project.
- Focus on the Moments of Truth: Moments of Truth are process steps or touchpoints that make or break a relationship. They can occur at any point in the customer journey and are unique to the company’s products and businesses. Rather than mapping EVERY step of the journey, every customer interaction, successful Journey Mappers do a deep dive on interactions that can really make or break the customer relationship.
One example of a Moment of Truth was a recent Topline client who sells enterprise security and compliance solutions. Customer interviews revealed that the gap between successful and unsuccessful implementations was frequently attributable to the presence of a trained internal resource who could help move the implementation forward. Ensuring this resource is available for the project was a clear Moment of Truth for the customer. Fixing this one problem created a meaningful difference in customer satisfaction and therefore retention, upsell and overall spend. Fixing every step of the process would have resulted in a lengthy and costly process with less discernible differences to the bottom line.
- Consider that not Every Customer is the Same: You probably have an existing segmentation scheme for your customers, be it by size, industry or geography. However, customers are segmented by their experience and Journey as well. Some customers may experience pain points in implementation while others may have problems with product support. The variances may be due to the unique use cases or how the product was implemented. In any case, understanding how customers segment with regards to Moments of Truth and thus Customer Journey Mapping is critical to determining how to help and where to help.
- Conduct Primary Customer Research: Many companies fall into the Mapping trap of using internal resources and expertise for Customer Journey Mapping. While internal resources may be very helpful, there is no substitute to getting first hand information from customers. Customers will tell you definitively what their main problems are, and what is keeping them from being successful. They will help you avoid internal conflicts of interest or biases. Finally, they will help you gain clarity on the potential impact of fixing certain problems. Internal opinions are useful, but there is no substitute for direct customer feedback.
At Topline Strategy, we conduct extensive primary customer research to understand the Customer Journey and help clients develop strategies to ensure customer success. We have a team of highly trained consultants versed in B2B technology who will spend time with our clients’ customers and understand their needs. This approach enables us to deliver tailored Customer Journey recommendations that impact the top line for our clients.
If you would like to learn more about our Customer Journeys programs simply contact us.