Creating a customer journey map (CJM) the right way is a lot of work. You need to gather gigabytes upon gigabytes of data, everything from statistics on how people interact with your website to interview logs about how they feel about your company.
But all of that hard work can go to waste if you can’t implement CJM properly to create meaningful change. This article discusses some major points that will help you improve your marketing and sales processes based on your customer journey map.
How to improve marketing with customer journey mapping
Customer journey mapping is quite hard to implement in marketing. This is why you need to start with widening the scope of your research.
Widen the scope
Many customer journey maps start from the first call to the company or from the first time a person visits the website. However, where a particular customer journey map starts can be pretty much arbitrary. Where you place it depends on the process you want to single out to improve.
If you’re creating a customer journey map to improve marketing, you should start mapping out that journey from the first time a person understands they have a problem and starts looking for solutions.
This will allow your CJM to cover the very top of the marketing funnel, the Awareness stage.
The biggest problem with that approach is that you can’t really track much of what’s going on that far away from your website. You can’t gather metrics more meaningful than CTR on most ads, and you can’t interview the people who chose not to engage with your brand to see what went wrong.
Let’s start with discovering the data that you can get a hold on. Most questionnaires or surveys for customer journey mapping include a question like “How did you find out about the company?” Make this question into a section.
Include questions that will help you understand how did that person looks for services that you provide and why did they choose you instead of competition. Here are some examples:
How long ago have you started looking for these services?
What resources have you checked out to figure out what you need?
Did you ask your friends, search on Google, or browse social media to get the answers?
How many companies were you choosing from?
What made you discard other companies?
Don’t forget to add other, industry-specific questions to the list when you’re compiling your list.
As a quick note, did you notice the difference between the last question and the others? It focuses on the competition instead of your company. If you ask “What made you choose our company?” you may be falling victim to the survivor bias.
You’ll get responses that will increase your belief in your company’s strong points, but none that would show your weaknesses. After all, the people you’re interviewing are already customers, so they like the brand. But plenty of people will ignore your marketing efforts. For instance, on average 98% of people will skip your social media ad, and you don’t get any insight as to why.
Asking why did your customers choose not to work with a rival may give you an idea about what may make customers abandon their customer journey.
Search for missing touchpoints
We all know that it takes about 6 to 8 touchpoints to generate a lead. Missing one of those touchpoints can be a major failure for your business. Let’s imagine what an average website owner that needs several blog posts written does to find the best company for the job.
A customer figures out they need external help with content.
A customer searches for “blog and essay writing service.”
They click on the ads in search, see similar offers and go back to search results.
They click on aggregator websites like Clutch.co, browse the top list and get confused with the search.
They save the top 10 companies to notes and Google “how to choose a content marketing company.”
They learn the details about the market and postpone the choice.
They see an ad from one of the companies on Clutch in their Facebook feed and decide to investigate.
They find that this company fits the guide they’ve read previously and email them for a demo.
It’s a lengthy process and there may be more than a week between the start and the time they finally become a lead. Here’s an important detail: if you touch the lead in the Google ads, or on an aggregator site, but don’t appear in the Facebook feed, you may not get that lead.
The point here is not that you should do a social media campaign, though. The point is you should find what channels are your existing leads using to research the market and be there to interact with them.
Bring leads back
Does your customer journey map show that a portion of leads enter the sales funnel but stop engaging with your brand after some time for no apparent reason? This may be happening for no fault of your own. These leads may just be looking for other options or postponing the decision to buy.
Try to bring them back by singling them out with a personalized marketing campaign. If they gave you their email, go for email marketing. They didn’t? Try running a remarketing campaign among those users to remind them about yourself.
Also, these may be occasional buyers. Consider doing behavioral segmentation in addition to customer journey mapping to find out what drives people to buy.
Figure out the path to loyalty
Many people think that marketing funnels end at the purchase. Salesforce’s infographic presents a different opinion.
Most of the post-purchase sales funnel is taken care of by the sales department. However, a marketer needs to figure out one crucial thing. How do you get people from purchase to becoming an advocate for your brand?
People trust friends more than ads, so a base of regular customers who promote your products to their friends is a marketing channel better than any other.
Single out those people by finding them talking about you on social media and talk to them to figure out their customer journey. Besides, they’d love to have a chat with their favorite brand.
How to improve sales with customer journey mapping
Generating leads that become advocates of your brand is a great thing for marketing. However, it’s the sales and support teams that have to do all the work that goes into making a person your avid follower.
Here’s what else your sales team can achieve with customer journey mapping.
While a good customer journey map can show you the weaknesses of your business, there’s a less obvious benefit to it. You can look at the steps that lead make before making a purchase and use those as a marker of a qualified lead.
For instance, if most people who make a purchase from you attend a webinar first, your sales team knows to double down their efforts on attendees. Give this step a significant weight in your lead scoring system if you have one.
If you don’t, find ways to either make that step open to more people or ways to engage people who go through that step more personally.
Look for emotional responses
Most people are guided by emotional responses in the way they make purchasing decisions. Even the seemingly rational B2B purchases may be disrupted by frustration with website navigation or facilitated by the feeling of trust.
Incorporate questions about emotions your leads feel when they do a particular action in their journey. If you single out that emotional response and find what fear or value is connected to it, your sales team can use it while talking to leads.
Create support customer journey maps
Getting a lead to make their first purchase can be a challenge. However, it’s a more important challenge to make a one-time buyer a regular.
One of the ways you can do that is by creating customer journey maps of post-purchase services. Mainly, that would be product support and response to post-purchase marketing.
If you’ve been targeting other processes in customer journey mapping before, you’ll need to create a new map. Single out the post-purchase process you want to improve and start working anew.
However, there’s an upside to starting a new customer journey map. Most post-purchase processes are much easier to map out than customer journey maps for the top part of the sales funnel. You have all the data and leads’ contacts on your hands. All you need to do is bring it together.
Find weaknesses in your customer journey map and improve on them. The reward will be much lower customer churn and lower expenses on leads as a result.
If you combine this point with a customer journey map of becoming an advocate customer, you’ll get free advertisement, too.
Customer journey mapping is one of the key business analytics tools for your business. It can be applied to any process and yields amazing results for productivity and an increase in sales.
Master customer journey mapping by following GetFeedback blog for more insight, and implement these tips to make your marketing and sales processes better.
Editor's Note: The content in this article reflects the guest speaker's personal opinions.
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About the Guest Author
Alyse Falk is a freelance writer with experience in digital marketing, technologies, content marketing, marketing trends, and branding strategies. Alice also writes for several reputable sites where she shares her hints for creating content.