If you find the phrase “B2B customer journey” a bit exhausting, you’re not alone. Many companies are overwhelmed by the thought of perfecting the customer experience, tailoring touchpoints for different buyer personas, delivering top-notch B2B SaaS customer support, and so on.
To nail it, SaaS companies need to take a step back and view their product through the customer’s lens. It’s about tracing their journey, from that initial encounter, through the sign-up process, and ultimately turning them into enthusiastic advocates for your product.
Being deliberate in your marketing, sales, onboarding, and customer retention efforts can save you a significant amount of time, not to mention, boost your bottom line.
If you’re already revamping your approach to engage your audience and turn your organization into an irresistible brand, you’re headed in the right direction.
And if you’re just starting to explore how to adopt a more customer-centric approach, you’re still in the right place.
- What is the B2B Customer Journey?
- How to Do Customer Journey Mapping for B2B?
- Importance of B2B Customer Journey Mapping
- Customer Journey Mapping Templates + Tools
- How To Improve Your B2B Customer Journey?
In this article, we’ll demystify the world of customer journey mapping, its significance in the realm of B2B SaaS, and practical steps to create one that supercharges product adoption.
What is the B2B Customer Journey?
What exactly is the B2B customer journey, or you can call it the B2B buyer’s journey? Well, it’s like a roadmap of all the points where your customers connect with your brand, right from the beginning to the end.
It covers everything from their first encounter with your B2B SaaS brand, be it through an ad or a search, to their initial experience with your product, and whether they stick around or not.
The B2B customer journey unfolds in 6 key stages:
- Awareness: It all kicks off in the awareness stage. Here, customer interactions are somewhat limited. Your brand might pop up on social media or in marketing campaigns. Your audience might not be the final decision-makers but the folks who influence those decisions.
- Engagement: The next phase is where potential customers get serious about your offering. They delve into your product’s features, comparing them to what else is out there. Your sales process needs to convince them that you’re the solution to their pain points, which involves excellent customer education.
- Conversion: By this stage, your marketing and sales teams have been hard at work, using various touchpoints to educate stakeholders about your products and the buying process. The conversion stage is where you nudge them towards making a decision and becoming your customers.
- Onboarding: Here’s the most critical part of the customer journey. Onboarding is where you transform new customers into loyal ones for life. Equipping them with the right training tools is the key. When you do that, not only will they make the most of your software, but they’ll also sing your praises to everyone.
- Retention: Once you’ve got users up to speed post-purchase, it’s all about customer success and satisfaction. Offer comprehensive tutorials on your SaaS product’s features and gather customer data and metrics to enhance the entire customer lifecycle, boost retention, and upsell additional products.
- Advocacy: The final stop on the SaaS customer journey map is advocacy. This is where a user turns into a champion, spreading the word about how much they adore your product and bringing in referrals. If you can get a customer to this stage, you’re doing something very right.
Now, one might wonder what makes the SaaS Journey different from other sectors.
Firstly, SaaS products hinge heavily on their online existence, unlike many other businesses that may have a more tangible presence. Additionally, due to their subscription programs, SaaS companies have to keep a constant and positive back-and-forth going with their customers in order to build positive customer trust. It’s not a one-time deal at activation; you’ve got to keep building and preserving trust and loyalty for the long run.
How to Do Customer Journey Mapping for B2B?
Here are the seven steps you need to take to map your B2B customer’s journey.
Step 1: Set a Clear Purpose
Define a primary goal for your customer journey map. It could be about enhancing product adoption, streamlining onboarding for maximum customer retention, or minimizing churn through efficient self-service and customer support.
Keep in mind that these goals might evolve as your business grows, so it’s crucial to revisit them when updating your customer journey map. Keeping your goals in focus while working on a task is a practical approach to staying on the right track.
Before crafting a journey, grasp the purpose, the intended audience, and the specific experiences you want to incorporate. Consider the factors that will play a role in your journey.
Thanks to the internet, today’s consumers are more knowledgeable than ever. The abundance of online information has turned them into discerning individuals, selective about the products, services, and companies they choose to engage with.
Step 2: Define Every Buyer Type
Take the time to thoroughly research and define the different user personas for your SaaS product. This process will vary based on whether you’re in B2B or B2C.
For B2B, think about not only the end-users but also the decision-makers who sign off on the purchase. In the B2C realm, user personas can be incredibly diverse, so it’s vital to have a clear profile for each to cater to their needs effectively. To build this character effectively, dive into interviews and customer surveys. The more information you gather, the better you understand the needs and desires of your customers. Don’t shy away from asking ‘why’—it’s a powerful tool for gaining deeper insights into customer behavior.
When sketching out your buyer persona, aim for a detailed portrayal. The more data you have, the more accurately you can capture the essence of your buyers. Remember, for each journey, focus on just two distinct buyer types. This approach ensures clarity and a more effective understanding of your diverse customer base.
#TCCRecommends: If you are clueless about building your buyer personas, here is a detailed guide to help you with it.
Step 3: Establish the Stages
Before you start mapping, make sure you understand the key stages in your customer journey. These typically include awareness, consideration, and decision.
In the Awareness Stage, the buyer identifies the challenges they’re facing. Questions arise: How critical are these issues? What repercussions come with leaving them unaddressed?
Moving into the Consideration Stage, the buyer explores options. Queries emerge: What alternatives do I have? How do I research and compare these choices?
Finally, in the Decision Stage, the buyer narrows down options, seeking the perfect product or service. Critical questions include: Who are the key decision-makers involved?
Throughout this journey, the prospect employs various criteria to assess your business against competitors, encompassing factors like pricing, product quality, features, and customer support.
Pay special attention to the onboarding phase as strong product adoption is the key to recurring revenue. Understanding the different phases of a buyer’s journey is crucial for delivering personalized customer service. Armed with this information, the potential customer decides if your company aligns with their needs.
Step 4: Identify Customer Touchpoints
Recognize the critical points where users interact with your brand throughout the customer journey. These touchpoints can range from social media posts to the CTA buttons on your landing page and, of course, your product itself. It’s essential to analyze both pre-purchase and post-purchase touchpoints to improve the overall user experience and cultivate loyal customers.
For businesses, grasping the diverse touchpoints customers encounter with your brand is vital. These touchpoints are pivotal because they provide chances to create a positive impact on potential customers. Understanding the client journey and delineating the various touchpoints enables your brand to seize every opportunity to engage with consumers effectively.
Get familiar with the nuances of your different marketing channels to maximize their potential. Don’t limit your strategy to either traditional or digital – blend them seamlessly!
Step 5: Highlight Customer Milestones
Keep a close eye on significant customer milestones, such as conversion events and key moments that can influence whether customers stay or churn.
For instance, your CTAs are vital milestones that guide users along their journey, so make sure they’re effective.
Step 6: Make it Cyclical
Instead of focusing on a linear journey, aim for a cyclical customer journey map. Pay attention to post-purchase actions like continuous onboarding, renewals, and upgrades.
Ensure your product facilitates users’ learning of new features, offers auto-renewal, and informs them about relevant upgrades.
Step 7: Measure the Outcome
Regularly evaluate whether your customer journey aligns with your business and user goals. Learn from both successful and less successful touchpoints, and use both qualitative and quantitative metrics to assess the journey’s impact. Collect real customer feedback to gain insights into their experiences and how to enhance them.
The B2B SaaS customer journey is all about adapting to your users’ needs and providing them with an exceptional experience.
By following these steps, you can create a customer journey that converts users and keeps them engaged and loyal, ultimately boosting your product’s lifetime value.
Importance of B2B Customer Journey Mapping
Mapping your customer journey is a crucial endeavor for B2B SaaS companies, as it unveils valuable insights about your customers and their needs.
Here’s why it’s so important:
- Identifying Sticking Points: Customer journey mapping helps you pinpoint where users encounter obstacles and friction in their experience. Recognizing these “unhappy paths,” such as users getting stuck during the signup process enables you to take steps to remove these pain points. This leads to a smoother user experience and improved customer retention.
- Enhancing Customer Experience: Instead of relying on generic in-app help, a customer success journey map enables you to anticipate your customers’ next steps on their path to success with your app.
This means you can tailor your communication strategy to focus on micro conversions, providing users with specific and relevant in-app guidance or one-on-one assistance. This personalized approach reduces the risk of churn and keeps customers engaged.
- Preventing Churn: Monitoring user engagement and identifying signs of inactivity is key to proactively addressing churn. A well-crafted journey map helps you understand what to monitor and when to intervene, allowing you to reach out to users who may be on the verge of churning.
- Boosting Customer Lifetime Value: Knowing where your customers stand in the buying process empowers you to recommend contextual and relevant upgrades.
Instead of randomly attempting upsells, a journey map guides you in offering upgrades precisely when customers have reached a point where they can gain more value. This strategic approach enhances customer lifetime value and drives growth for your SaaS business.
Customer Journey Mapping Templates + Tools
Customer journey maps are a versatile tool that doesn’t require a ton of technical know-how.
- Google Spreadsheet: Classic and straightforward, perfect for those who prefer spreadsheets.
- Miro: An excellent whiteboarding tool with journey map templates for a visual approach.
- FigJam: A well-designed whiteboarding tool offering a different visual perspective.
- UX Pressia: Tailor-made for journey mapping, providing a specialized platform for the task.
How To Improve Your B2B Customer Journey?
Improving your B2B customer journey is a pivotal step towards a customer-centric approach, placing the customer’s experience at the heart of your organization.
It offers a comprehensive view of customer interactions, emphasizing the focus on the client and their perception of your service or product. Simplifying the B2B customer journey is vital, especially when buyers encounter challenges in making a purchase.
Here are some tips to streamline the B2B customer journey:
1. Craft Buyer Personas
Start by identifying what your customer needs to accomplish since the product they purchase is a tool hired to fulfill a specific job.
Consider factors like customer data, their role in the decision-making process, and their organization’s needs.
2. Emphasize Content Creation
Buyers have high expectations for the content they receive, making relevant content crucial at every stage of the buying process.
Design content around your customers’ key problems to guide them along the buyer journey seamlessly.
3. Identify and Remove Roadblocks
Work backward to pinpoint any factors hindering a sale and make targeted interventions to eliminate friction. Addressing elements close to purchase points can often be the most effective.
4. Qualify Leads Effectively
Lead qualification should go beyond form fills, ensuring that leads are genuinely ready to progress through the process to avoid potential harm to your business.
#TCCRecommends: Check out our must-ask sales discovery call questions to strengthen your onboarding game!
5. Optimize Onboarding
Ensure that the employee onboarding process is as smooth as possible, setting your business apart from competitors and paving the way for future customer success.
6. Stay Engaged
Maintain regular contact with existing customers, providing updates and useful reports. Keep track of renewal dates and send timely reminders to enhance customer satisfaction.
In the ever-evolving landscape of B2B sales, manufacturers and distributors are challenged to deliver a seamless digital consumer experience to outpace their rivals. B2B customer journey maps play an important role in visualizing the buyer journey, pinpointing touchpoints, and revealing areas for enhancement.
The creation of these maps instills a customer-centric approach across all departments, benefiting both the client and the company. Effectively mapping the B2B customer journey requires a deep understanding of all consumers and their interactions with the product.
Tailoring these steps to your company and users can help you craft a customer journey map that addresses their needs at every stage of the buying cycle, ensuring the best possible user experience.