The importance of understanding customer journeys in B2B sales

The importance of understanding customer journeys in B2B sales

In the complex world of B2B purchasing, many stakeholders and different channels make the journey challenging. Here Lisa Gudmundson explains why understanding customer journeys in B2B sales can help companies achieve their business goals.

By: Lisa Gudmundson on July 4, 2024 | Reading time: 9 minutes

The B2B purchasing journey is different from, and often more complex than the B2C purchasing journey. It typically involves 8-10, or potentially even more, different stakeholders from multiple parts of the organization, with no real preference between physical and digital channels.

Understanding the main steps a customer takes, allows companies to better meet their needs and influence their decision. One effective way to facilitate this is through customer journey mapping, which helps companies optimize the customer experience and reach and impact all the individuals involved in the purchasing journey. However, despite its importance, many organizations struggle to implement customer journey mapping effectively across their operations. This results in missed opportunities to improve customer experience and achieve overall business goals.

The impact of exceptional customer experience on B2B sales

Adopting a customer-centric approach is crucial for businesses, as it ensures customer needs are prioritized and leads to a positive customer experience. Companies that offer exceptional customer experiences achieve 26% higher gross margins compared to those that do not1. Additionally, B2B companies that prioritize customer experience and excel in defining and executing a customer service strategy, including collecting and acting on customer insights, see an average annual revenue growth of 13%2. Furthermore, B2B organizations that focus on improving customer experience throughout the customer journey report 70% higher NPS scores3.

Buyers experiencing information consistency across channels are 4,5 times more likely to complete a purchase4. However, an analysis by McKinsey found that more than 50% of marketing spend was allocated to areas with little or no effect on the purchase decision5. This indicates that companies do not know their customers well enough and could significantly enhance their efforts by conducting customer journey mapping and adapting a customer centric approach. Understanding the customer journey is key to increase and maintain engagement, sales and retention, which will ultimately lead to an optimized customer experience at every touch point.

From awareness to post-purchase: Mapping the B2B customer journey

What we need to understand is what a customer journey entails in a B2B context. Customer journey mapping and adopting a customer-centric approach allows us to identify potential pain points, needs, and opportunities for customers at various stages of their journey. At Curamando, we use a customer journey framework to map this process, providing a structured approach for how and where to communicate with customers. The framework also aids in understanding how to measure performance and optimize campaigns for maximum impact, while preventing organizations from working in silos across different functions.

Mapping customer journeys for B2B customers involves understanding and documenting the various stages and touchpoints that a customer goes through, from initial awareness to post-purchase use. The framework is built on six customer journey stages, Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Decision, Onboarding and Use, capturing the customer’s experiences and considerations at each point. These stages can also be aligned with the See-Think-Do-Care marketing and sales funnel. This approach allows us to identify cross-functional opportunities to address perceived pain points, needs and opportunities, and can serve as a common ground of prioritization within the organization​.

The See-Think-Care-Do marketing and sales funnel can be aligned with the customer journey stages.

Customer journey stages

  1. Awareness: The customer becomes aware of a problem and starts looking for solutions. This stage involves identifying needs and conducting initial research.
    Customer behaviour: ”We have a problem here, what solutions are available?”
  2. Interest: The customer begins to show interest in specific solutions and conducts more detailed research, including competitive analysis.
    Customer behaviour: ”Now that I know what I want, who offers said product/service?”
  3. Consideration: The customer evaluates different options, seeks referrals, and engages in some form of contact with potential vendors.
    Customer behaviour: ”Do they have any competitors? Can I find any type of referrals about them?”
  4. Decision: The customer decides to purchase a product or service, involving steps like testing, negotiation, and final purchase.
    Customer behaviour: Let’s buy this product/service – time to strike a deal.”
  5. Onboarding: After the purchase, the customer focuses on setting up the product or service, including installation and integration.
    Customer behaviour: ”Now that I have bought the product/service, I need to get it set up.”
  6. Use: The customer uses the product or service, ensuring it meets expectations and considering additional needs or solutions.
    Customer behaviour: ”Is everything working as expected? Can I buy any additional products/services?”

Mapping customer behaviour across digital and physical touchpoints can help organizations enhance the customer experience.

The customer touchpoints throughout the purchasing journey can vary and often include interactions across both digital and physical channels. By mapping customer behaviour to these touchpoints, organizations can identify opportunities across functions to solve perceived pain points and improve the customer experience. This approach acts as a common ground for prioritization within the organization, ensuring that efforts are aligned with customer needs and expectations. A comprehensive understanding of the customer journey not only serves as a foundation for gaining customer insights but also provides valuable information about potential internal improvements. It enables businesses to better allocate responsibilities, align efforts towards common goals, and ultimately drive business success.

At Curamando, we have extensive experience in helping clients map and understand B2B customer journeys and their associated touchpoints. If you have any questions about our approach or would like support with your customer journey mapping, please don’t hesitate to reach out to David Hoffström!

 

Sources

1Creating value through transforming customer journeys

2 B2B Companies Spending More to Improve their Customers’ Experience But Large Majority are Likely Wasting Up to Half of Their Investments

3 Don’t Just Improve Your Customer Experience. Future-Proof It

4 What Sales Should Know About B2B Buyers in 2019

5The B2B customer decision journey: for the best route to increasing sales

Get in touch!

Blog

The importance of understanding customer journeys in B2B sales

In the complex world of B2B purchasing, many stakeholders and different channels make the journey challenging. Here Lisa Gudmundson explains why understanding customer journeys in B2B sales can help companies achieve their business goals. By: Lisa Gudmundson on July 4, 2024 | Reading time: 9 minutes The B2B purchasing journey is different from, and often […]

Read more
Modern office environment

Blog

The Power of Retailer Data for Building A Retail Media Network

The world of advertising is an ever-growing industry with a revenue of ~1 trillion USD (GroupM 2024 Global Midyear Forecast) and if one area is slowing down, like linear TV advertising, another one grows instead.  The current spotlight is on retail media which in 2024 will receive 16% of total advertising budgets. Thanks to Amazon’s […]

Read more
Röd sammet fåtölj

Blog

Maximize your content strategy with email marketing

Isn’t it frustrating to get stuck in a conversation with someone who only talks about themselves? Unfortunately, many companies send out newsletters that are mostly centered around what the sender wants to talk about rather than what the recipient is interested in. Don’t be that company. By: Olof Strömbäck on June 11, 2024 | Reading […]

Read more

Blog

How to create a content marketing strategy

Capture the attention of your target audience with content in order to build trust and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. Discover the power of compelling content in driving traffic, generating leads, and ultimately, fueling business growth. Let’s dive into how you can leverage content to make your business thrive.  By: […]

Read more