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How to map the b2b customer journey

Mapping out the B2B customer journey is key to understanding the moments that matter to your customers. Learn how to map out the B2B customer journey and use it to improve business performance and boost client acquisition.

What is the B2B customer journey?

The customer journey in B2B is the complete process a customer goes through, from first learning about your brand, exploring your products and services, to making a purchase decision.

More often than not, building the user journey is seen as the entry point for potential new customers. But beyond that, understanding your users' path in the product will allow you to ensure that you organically engage existing customers by cross-pollinating and existing customers.

There are many stages of the overall user journey, including things like shipping and customer service, but to ensure proper attention to growth the B2B customer journey is really about looking for those hooks for potentially interested parties and getting them to complete their purchase journey.

How is the B2B journey different to the B2C customer journey?

In the B2C market, potential customers are typically individuals or families with specific needs unique to them. They may be most interested in convenience or their financial ability to purchase your products or services. The transaction cycle can be very short, and sales and marketing targets a very broad customer base using market segments or personas.

In the B2B market, the concept of customer requires a different way of thinking about it and often includes multiple stakeholders. They may have different interests, concerns and goals. Stakeholders can range from the executive buyer (manager) to the end user and related departments such as purchasing or legal. Relationships can be formed over a long period of time, with sales and customer management resources focused on that particular buyer. Your relationships will not only be built with the final decision maker - the combination of the relationships you create with all stakeholders will ensure the success of the sale.

Stages of the B2B buyer's journey

The B2B buyer's journey is often divided into three parts: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision Making. All three stages require an understanding of user behavior based on customer segmentation and target personas.

1. Awareness

At this stage, the customer is just beginning to learn about your company, your products and services. This awareness is created by the marketing staff, supported by the sales and customer service teams - they build a chain of touches with the potential customer to communicate the value of your product.

At this stage, it's critical to demonstrate that you understand the customer's real business needs and pain points and can show how you will close those needs. Here, marketing teams need to create content using all possible digital channels such as websites and social media. Then your sales and client teams can use these as levers to communicate with potential customers.

2. Consideration

At this stage, you need to show how you can solve customer pain points to build confidence in the quality and competitiveness of your offering.

Case studies, expert guides, effective face-to-face interactions and benchmarking content can help the sales team engage with potential customers after they learn about your solutions.

3. Decision

At this stage, your potential customers are deciding which products or services they are most interested in. They may contact the sales team, but in order to help them

decide to buy, the sales team may need support in the form of product demonstrations, testimonials or product reviews. This will help the user decide to make a purchase.

B2B customer segmentation

To begin creating a user journey, you must first collect data and segment potential customers. This is necessary to determine who is most likely to make a purchase.

1. Data Collection

In this step, you collect all the necessary market research data about potential customers. You can focus on industry, company size, location, technology used, etc. Filter out those companies that don't fit your research objective, but keep those that may be of potential interest for further segmentation.

2. Create tiers

Once you have a list of potential customers, categorize them into tiers. These can be divided into the largest customers in the first tier - the key customers you want to prioritize - and subsequent tiers. This way, you'll be able to develop a strategy that maximizes the return on investment of your marketing efforts.

You can also segment customers by their perceived level of interest in solving the problem: cold, warm, and hot.

3. Dividing by needs

While it is possible to categorize companies into tiers by industry, often the needs of customers extend beyond the industry in which they operate. Often, needs can be identified by what might prompt a customer to turn to your solution: are they just looking for a solution for their business? Or have they decided to change their usual way of doing tasks?

4. Segment by customer sophistication and complexity

Segmenting the companies you consider as potential clients by their level of development will help you determine exactly at what level you should offer your services or products. For example, a highly advanced software provider may not need basic cloud hosting services, but they may need your highly secure package. Similarly, by offering overly complex services for basic needs, you are likely to lose a potential customer. 

Therefore, it is important to understand the task that customers come to you with.

5. Segmenting by behavior

Sometimes needs and level of sophistication don't work as well as segmenting potential customers by their behavior. Some companies prefer to work with suppliers for years, while others are more price-driven and seek the best deal. By segmenting your customers in this way, you can tailor your marketing and sales activities to really shape your offering according to what your potential customers need.

B2B target personas

Instead of starting to build a user journey by targeting all potential customers in a particular segment, it's better to narrow it down to those to whom your business will seem relevant and useful.

We've already written how essential it is for a business to know the Ideal Portraits of its customer - in this article we've created a clear step-by-step guide on how to create it.

How to map the B2B customer journey with tools

We've put together some popular tools to help you visualize your customer journey.

  • ClickUp is a customer lifecycle mapping tool that allows you to create visual representations of your workflows using the whiteboard feature and mind map creator. These features help you map out and view the various touchpoints of the customer lifecycle - from awareness to conversions, repeat purchases, churn, etc.
  • Custellence is a customer journey mapping tool that helps teams and organizations understand and improve the customer experience.
  • Smaply is one of the best customer journey mapping tools as it helps in creating visually appealing journey maps and provides customer feedback tools for real-time collaboration.
  • Figma is a collaborative interface design software known for its prototyping capabilities. With Figma, individuals and teams can create designs from scratch, including customer journey maps that can be used to visualize and improve customer satisfaction.
  • FlowMapp one of the leading UX tools for web design workflows, allows individual users and teams to create and iterate situation maps. It also offers features to track the status and comments/ongoing discussions of each design.
  • Miro is one of the most popular tools for mapping and teamwork. Miro has a huge number of templates for any task. It is a good tool that will allow you to quickly and easily visualize a customer journey map.

Mapping and optimizing the B2B customer journey

The B2B customer journey is often non-linear, so a map is critical to understanding how your potential customers arrive at the decision to buy.

By tracking a potential customer's journey with data, you can trace their path from content interactions and marketing appeals across platforms to their first contact with sales.

Following the suggested stages of the customer journey is a good way to start the process. However, truly understanding what led customers to a purchase decision involves understanding their motivations, tracking their transition to your solutions, and continually optimizing their journey to increase conversions.

1. Segmenting customers by objectives

There are many reasons that can drive a customer down the path to purchasing your products, but further segmenting your potential customers can help identify them.

Are they:

        Looking for a solution to a problem?

        Researching their potential requirements?

        Looking for a new supplier?

By grouping customers based on their intentions, you can create multiple customer routes to fulfill specific needs.

For example, company A provides legal services. After talking to current clients, they found out that most clients contact them when a company first launches, to prepare basic legal documentation, draft articles of association or obtain patents. Now Company A realizes that the demand for its services arises right after registration - at the very first stage, when the company does not yet have a website. Accordingly, in order to attract new clients, it can target its advertising at the segment of newly opened companies and get a good conversion rate.

2. Understand how customers come to you

The customer journey may start much earlier than you think: potential customers use search engines to find options for solutions. Adapting your product content, such as various articles, to these search queries will help attract the right audience to your content at the top of the "tunnel" and start the B2B customer journey. Once you understand their starting point, you can figure out how to lead them to the end point.

For example, Company B talked to its customers and realized that half of them came on the recommendation of business colleagues, and the other half saw their article in the column of a local business magazine. Company B now knows which channels are most effective for it and can focus its efforts and resources on them.

3. Tracking Conversions

Data will help you best understand how customers arrive at the end point of their buying journey. Learning how customers find your content, interact with it, and move on to the next stage of the funnel will allow you to keep doing what works and abandon what doesn't. Plus, you'll be able to quickly identify problem areas where you're losing customers and provide more content and sales efforts to compensate.

For example, Company C started tracking its users' path in the product and noticed that the contact submission step had the highest churn rate. After examining all the steps, they realized that the form for submitting a request on the site was simply not working - they fixed the form and the number of requests increased.

4. Constant Adaptation

Remember that the B2B customer journey is not fixed, but can and should change.

What works for one customer at one time may not work a year or two later for another. Constantly updating your B2B customer journey based on the data you receive will help ensure that you are still meeting the needs of each individual customer.

How to use the customer journey map

A properly designed customer journey map of the user journey in your product will save you a lot of resources.

Therefore, it is not only important to identify the user steps in your product and map them, but also to define KPIs for each step.

This way, you will know every step of the user journey that leads them to purchase and you will be able to estimate the conversion rate of each step in order to target it. For example, make relevant content, improve interaction interfaces, or implement more effective scripts for the sales team.

Also, a well-thought-out CJM (customer journey map) will help you understand which channels are best to use for promotion and what content your users find more useful for themselves. Based on this information, you can create effective advertising campaigns and optimize your unique selling proposition.


To find a company that can help you with user journey mapping you can always go to ReStaffy platform.


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