Customer journey mapping and optimisation isn’t exactly a new concept, but sadly, many businesses still focus on the final conversion (leads and sales), rather than on creating a pathway that nudges their prospects along towards a decision to buy from them.
I recently came across this customer journey diagram, created by One Rabbit, and it resonated with me, as it aligns with the standard Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Advocacy funnel that marketers refer to when talking about Inbound Marketing; but is articulated entirely from the customer perspective.
The diagram demonstrates the steps that prospects go through before deciding to engage with you – the underlying message is that prospects don’t get to the left half of the circle without going through the right half first.
Starting at the top, the status quo is when the Senior Leadership team have a whole raft of business issues on their plate, some more urgent than others, some certain team members are more passionate about than others, and some issues they don’t even know about yet. At this stage they are exploring the challenges ahead of them and are taking no action.
For change to happen, there will be some sort of trigger – dissatisfaction with performance, a change of personnel, a new business initiative, a competitor stealing a march. Now the team are talking about what they might be able to do.
So, they look internally to see if they have the skills and resources to deal with the problem. If not, they’ll start looking for external support.
Where do businesses look for external support?
- Someone they already know
- Ask for referrals
Most suppliers therefore focus on joining the party at the bottom of the diagram – missing out on all of the opportunities on the right to help the client diagnose the problem, explore options and to build “know, like and trust” with you.
How do you get the conversation going earlier?
Salesforce’s State of the Connect Customer Report shows that 85% of consumers want a consistent experience across departments, so having a seamless journey that focuses on the customer wants at needs end to end is critical.
Consider the difference if you could become the “external trigger”? If your content was so compelling that it was the thing that prompted your audience to recognise a problem they have much earlier? If your customer journey opened doors to get prospects bouncing ideas off you before they search for a specific supplier?
The strategy of becoming the trigger gives you the opportunity to win clients through education and relationship building rather than coming in at the end with the hard sell.
Customer journey mapping
There are many customer journey mapping templates out there on the internet, so take time to explore to find a model that works for you – however, remember that simpler is better!
A good customer journey map will capture touchpoints, the current process, pain points, the current experience and recommendations for improvement. Here’s a template that we often use with clients that we have found works well :
How do you use a customer journey map?
Once you have considered what the client wants and needs at each stage of your client journey, you can assess whether you talk to / meet those wants and needs through your existing process and supporting content.
Inbound marketing is all about capturing attention early in the customer journey, and then carefully guiding your prospect towards your conversion goals, by sharing the appropriate content and calls to action at each stage of the buying cycle.
Maybe it’s time to map your customer journey.