Customer Journey Map – B2B Marketing Rules

B2B Customer Journey Map

Land maps exist to record the actual terrain, not an idealized view of the terrain— the REAL terrain that you will have to traverse, like it or not.

With this real-world understanding of the terrain you can plot the most effective path through it. [Of course, if you fail to identify a cliff or a river on the map, the path you plot may lead to tragedy.]

Customer Journey Maps do the same thing– for the path your prospects take.

The path of B2B buyers traverses multiple channels and stages: from the prospect’s first recognition of a need through their adoption and reordering (or referral) of your product. If you don’t know in what stage of the process the prospect is currently, you don’t know what to say that will be relevant and compelling. Likewise, if you don’t know how to reach the prospect at that stage, you can’t.

Stuck at the Trail Head

There is no, single ‘right’ way to layout a Customer Journey Map. Just do a search on the topic and you’ll find hundreds of different approaches. As a result, many product and marketing managers get stuck before they even begin – trying to determine the exact, ‘right’ form that their Customer Journey Map should take. As a result, their journey mapping effort ends up going nowhere. Ironic huh?

The following, core approach can get you un-stuck.

Use a spreadsheet to build-out the customer journey information in matrix form:

Phases & Events

On the horizontal axis (columns) list the core phases of the journey:

  • Awareness (Demand Management)
  • Consideration (Lead Management)
  • Decision (Opportunity Management)
  • Experience (Loyalty Management)

Break each phase down into a set of sub-events. For example: during the ‘Awareness’ phase the prospect’s first event is likely their ‘Realization of Need’, followed by a ‘Need Clarification’ step. Each ‘event’ is represented by a column in your spreadsheet. You’ll likely end up with several columns under each phase once you think it through.

Guiding Insight

On the vertical axis (rows) create a row for each category of key information that can guide your actions across the various events of the journey. Create rows for:

  • Activities (what prospects typically do during the event)
  • Success Criteria (what do they want to achieve during the event)
  • Your Objectives (what do you want to achieve during the event)
  • Feelings (how prospects typically feel during the event)
  • Touch-points (how you might reach them during the event)
  • Influence (how you can exert influence at these touch-points to achieve your objectives)

Then, fill-in the key, relevant insights at each intersection of your matrix as concisely and clearly as you can. You’ve created a B2B Customer Journey Map!

Here is an example of a Customer Journey Map using this layout:

Customer Journey Map | B2B Example

Customer Journey Map | B2B Example

A Living Document

Despite the fact that when you do that search on ‘journey maps’ you will find all manner of very graphically handsome journey map depictions, your journey map doesn’t have to be pretty. It just has to be true and digestible by everyone in your organization. There is time to pretty-it-up later if needed. But beware, Customer Journey Maps must be living documents that you update frequently. So, don’t let the process of creating pretty graphics delay communicating what you are learning about customers, or you’ll be stuck going nowhere again. And that’s ironic too.

About the Author

Bill Haines - B2B Marketing Rules
Bill Haines, Senior Principal Consultant and Trainer | 280 Group
Bill is recognized as an authority in Product Management, in B2B marketing at all levels, and in strategy. His 25+ years’ experience includes VP Product/Marketing roles within 2, $1B+ companies, within smaller firms, and within a large-scale start-up. Bill also held executive positions at a software development firm and at an award-winning marketing communications agency. He is author of the book: The 21 Rules of B2B Marketing, available on Amazon.

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