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Everything You Need To Know About A B2B Customer Journey

B2B Customer Journey
Customer experience is considered as important as the product itself. Which is why it is important to plan your customer’s journey and how you want to guide your prospects across the entire buying process.
customer experience
customer journey
A customer journey is the process by which a lead or potential customer interacts with the company in order to achieve their goal. With the growing technological advancements there are various ways in which a customer chooses to interacts with the brands.
To plan a customer’s journey, you need to know what they want, preferences, new technology and even stay up to date with the buying trends. Understanding the characteristics of B2B clients will help you optimize their journeys.
touch points
shopping experience
There are many steps involved right from gaining awareness about a particular product or service through social media channels to receiving a “Thank you for your purchase” email.
This article focuses on the B2B customer journey, which is more complex than a B2C customers journey, as it has different phases and touchpoints that affect a customer’s experience.
customer awareness
So, what are you waiting for let’s get started!

What is a B2B customer journey map?

A customer Journey map is a detailed visual representation or illustration of the interactions of a potential customer with a B2B company. A B2B customer journey map is often used as a tool to investigate, analyse and improves the customer’s experience. A customer journey always has a goal it can be making your leads purchase your products or services, encouraging them for sign-ups, or even making them join a loyalty program.
Having a customer journey map will help you get a better understanding on how to motivate your potential customer into achieving those goals. You need to visualize customer journey and design a diagram based on that in order to provide your employees something they can refer to as a resource. Having this diagram will help them not to overlook, underestimate or overestimate customer interactions, which can be a gamechanger when it comes to increasing sales and revenue.

Basics of B2B Customer Journey Mapping

Now that you understand what is a customer journey map! Let us get into the customer journey mapping. Customer journey mapping is the process of visualizing that map and including the customer actions, touchpoints or motivating factors that will lead to achieving the goals set by the B2B company. Doing this usually help the B2B company in connecting the dots between different steps that a lead takes to transform into a customer.
According to a study done by Hanover Research, over 95% of companies felt that creating a customer journey mapping helped them increase customer satisfaction. In order to map a customer journey, you will need to step into the shoes of customer and understand how your actions will impact the experience they have with your company. Make sure to structure your touchpoints in a way that it gives your leads the most effective buying process.
B2B companies use various methods to represent customer journeys, such as post-it notes on a boardroom wall, Excel Spreadsheets, to even infographics. It’s really up to you on how your journey, but make sure to include the following things
B2B Customer Journey Mapping
Diagram
A flowchart or a diagrammatical representation of a customer’s journey.
Pain Points

The pain points (difficulties) that the customers may face.

Relationship
Mark the point that can make or break the relationship.
Touch Points
The touchpoints between the brand and company.
Solutions
The solutions to rectifying those pain points.

Other factors you can include to make the process smoother are:

Process
  • Adding particular department or employees responsible or every touchpoint in the journey. (Example – HR, sales & marketing, customer services, technical support, etc)
  • Include key gaps between the internal and external perspectives that need to be solved.
  • The emotions or behaviour of the potential customers at a given touchpoint.
  • Rating a touchpoint based on its importance.
  • Performance of the company at every touchpoint.
Perfect B2B Contact Database
Pro tip:
You can achieve high profit margins by reaching your target customers with the perfect B2B contact database
steps to build b2b journey map
customer profile

1. Make an Ideal Customer Profile

An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) helps you find out your target audience, identify their pain points, customer’s motivation factors, and their expectations. You can add some basic B2B-specific profiles based on the company size, industry, number of employees and customers, budget, its competitors, etc.
You can make customer profiles based on the specific professionals that you are trying to target and the industries they are a part of. This step is extremely necessary as it helps you determine whether or not you are selling your products or services to intended customers.
buyer persona

2. Create Buyers Persona

In a B2B company, there are usually multiple employees involved in making the decisions for the company. And most of them will have different requirements that will suit their departments you need to consider that. The B2B buyer’s personas refer to research-based representations of your users and buyers.
You need to understand how your products or services will address their needs through the right channel and time. When making a buyer’s persona make sure to include information such as job title, department, goals, expectations, etc. You can collect this information through surveys, customer support emails, their feedback, interviews, among others.
customers goals

3. Find out your customers goals

In order to provide your customers with what they need, you should know their goals. Ask yourself questions like “What are they looking for?”, “What are they trying to solve?”, “What are they looking for in your website?”, “Why do they want to purchase this product?”. Finding answers to these will help push your customers in the right direction.
stages

4. Define the stages in your map

B2B clients go through many stages before they finally purchase your products or services. Every time your potential customer passes through a particular stage, they will have a different mindset. You have to interact with them differently at every touchpoint.
Dividing the journey into the main stages will help you understand how purchasing decisions of B2B clients are made and reduce the pain points by identifying which stage faces the most issues. The B2B stages are explained in detail below this section so make sure to include those stages in your customer journey map.
touch points

5. Plan out the different touchpoints

Both B2B and B2C have similar touchpoints such as websites, blogs, social media, organic search. However, there are added B2B touchpoints like demos, sales meetings, onboarding touchpoints, etc which should be included in your B2B customer journey map. Each touchpoint is an activity, campaign, or piece of content, with which you can accomplish your goals. Mapping out your touchpoints along the journey is very important.
goals

6. Define your goals

You need to define your goals whether it making the clients purchase your products and services, sign up for a newsletter, or register for a program. Identifying your goals beforehand will help you achieve better retention and customer satisfaction.

Stages of a B2B customer journey map

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1

Awareness

How the customer gets to know about the B2B brand.
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2

Engagement

The amount of interaction the lead has had with the brand.
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3

Conversions

If the lead has converted into a customer or not.
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4

Onboarding

When the customer subscribes to the product or service.
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5

Adoption

When the customer begins to utilize the product or service.
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6

Renewal

This stage is where the customer decides whether or not they want to renew their subscription.
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7

Growth & Expansion

When the customers make additional purchases like advanced features, etc.,
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8

Referrals

If the existing customer recommends your product or service to others.

Benefits of B2B customer journey mapping

customer experience
Improve the customer experience
Improve the customer experience The customer journey map helps your employees remove pain points and improve the overall experience of your potential customers as it provides them with all the necessary data.
increase sales
Increase sales
Customer journey maps shows the sales rep every step that the customer has gone thought and helps them direct the customers towards the goal of the company much faster.
marketing and sales
Make predictions for marketing and sales
The map helps the marketing team of the B2B company to make informed decisions on how to market the product and service. It also helps them anticipate questions, pain points and increase the relevance of the campaigns.
customize content
Customize content
The marketing campaigns can be customised with personalised elements based on the emotions and thoughts of the lead at every given touchpoint.
product and UX design
Product and UX design
A customer map helps the product managers and UX designers in creating products and interfaces that are up to the lead’s expectations. It allows them to make changes to the interface so that the leads can reach their goal easily and don’t get confused.
buying cycle
Understand how leads flow through the buying cycle
It helps you understand the experience, thoughts and feelings of customers at different touchpoints. And follow your leads journey into becoming a customer across different touchpoints such as social media, email, website, etc.
optimize website
Optimize the website
You can optimize the content on your website based on the behaviour of the potential customers.
customer loyalty and engagement
Improve customer loyalty and engagement
By providing the customers with what they need and helping them thought the journey, you can build trustful relationship with the customers.
increase retention
Increase retention and contract renewals
If you meet the needs of your B2B customers on their first purchase, there are high chances for contract renewals.
compelling proposition
Develop compelling propositions
Since impressing B2B customers is much more difficult than B2C customers, making a customer journey map will help you come up with compelling deals and propositions.
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The difference between B2B and B2C customer journey map

Area
B2C Customer Journey Map
B2B Customer Journey Map
Area – Target Market
Target Market
B2C Customer Journey Map
B2C has a larger consumer base.
B2B Customer Journey Map
While B2B is smaller and focuses on specific industries.
Area – Purchase
Purchase
B2C Customer Journey Map
The customers in B2C are usually individuals or general consumers.
B2B Customer Journey Map
The customers here are multiple employees.
Area – Buying points
Buying points
B2C Customer Journey Map
Based on an individual pain point.
B2B Customer Journey Map
Based on the needs of the B2B company and its employees.
Area – Buying process
Buying process
B2C Customer Journey Map
The buying process is usually just a single step.
B2B Customer Journey Map
The buying process here is numerous steps.
Area – Customer retention
Customer retention
B2C Customer Journey Map
Affected by emotional factors of a particular individual.
B2B Customer Journey Map
Affected by the needs of the company.
Area – Sales driver
Sales driver
B2C Customer Journey Map
Recognition and repetition.
B2B Customer Journey Map
Customer relationship and information.
Area – Marketing process
Marketing process
B2C Customer Journey Map
Aimed at for a direct e-commerce sale.
B2B Customer Journey Map
Aims for the active cultivation of leads through CRM data.
Area – Consumer issues
Consumer issues
B2C Customer Journey Map
Personal finances or convenience.
B2B Customer Journey Map
Organizational issues such as profitability or efficiency.

How to Optimize your B2B Customer Journey

Before we get into the ways in which you can optimize your B2B customer journey here some B2B Customer experience you must know:
B2B Clients

According to Gartner’s 2019 report, over 77% of B2B clients feel that making a purchase is very complicated and time consuming.

Another B2B Buyer report by Sana, found that more than 75% of B2B clients purchase their products online, while 94% of B2B buyers have customer experience issues when they buy online.

b2b buyers
b2b buyers
b2b clients

The state of commerce experience 2021 by Bloomreach, has also found that 52% of B2B clients would not buy from the same company again if the experience is not up to mark.

Now that you know the importance of B2B customer experience lets us optimize the B2B customer journey to achieve better results and increase customer retention.

digital tools
Implement digital tools to support optimization
By implementing digital tools like the CX management platform, you can make actions seamless. And that’s not all, these tools will provide you with insights that will prioritize the parts of website that must be optimized. This will help you deliver the right experience to your B2B clients.
buyer persona
Create Buyer personas
A buyer’s persona is a detailed description of someone who represents your B2B target audience. Doing this will help ensure that all the actions taken by you will be tailors to the buyer needs or expectations.
particular touch points
Add responsible departments or teams for particular touchpoints
Adding this information will help you identify the teams responsible for each and every stage of the customer journey. You can also provide the teams with insights or guidance on the steps to be taken to make their work easier.
creating content
Focus on creating content

According to a report by Forrester, over 82% of B2B buyers check at least five pieces of content from the vendor prior to making the purchase. This is why you have to structure your content in a way that is the most useful or important to the customers.

existing customers
Nurture your already existing customers
This step is absolutely necessary to increase customer retention. You can do this by offering exclusive sales, offers or deals on emails.
seamless process
Make acquisition and onboarding a seamless process
By making your onboarding process as smooth as possible, it will set your customers up for success and help you stand out from the crowd.
b2b clients
Make sure to consistently meet the expectations of your B2B clients
In order to meet the or exceed the expectations of your target audience, you must do your research, stay up to date with the trends, make the right decisions to optimize your customer journey. Make sure the steps in your map are applicable to large enterprises which have multi-person teams.

Closing thoughts

Your B2B clients are the ones that spread the word about your company, so make sure that you provide them with a top-notch customer experience. Customer Journey Mapping helps every company understand their customer’s needs, expectations, pain points, etc. Remember that this process is considered to be a core element of long-term strategic growth. And since your company keeps evolving, so should your customer journey map.
This map will help you reach your targets, generate more leads, sales and revenue, and most importantly provide your B2B customers with the best customers experience which will increase your customer retention.

Hopefully this blog helps you optimize or plan your B2B customer journey map.

contact
A well-defined execution of customers journey is always backed by a highly accurate B2B contact database.
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