Customers have never been more empowered to start and stop their customer journey without every talking to your company. The most recent survey data says the decision to purchase a good or service is almost 70% complete BEFORE the potential customer reaches out.
Most company’s don’t realize their efforts to improve the customer experience are doomed to fail because every experience they build is not built from empathy. If you’re looking to scale a business without wasting your cash, you need to understand how to put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
DEFINE THE JOURNEY GOAL
You can’t be efficient or productive without a goal. Every well-designed process is reverse engineered from the goal by asking, “and what needs to happen before this step to hit our goal”?
A customer journey map is created the same way. The first place to start is to define your business’ and your customers’ goals.
A great goal to start with is the percent of visitors that convert to leads.
For private equity or venture capital, website visitors convert to an investment opportunity or deal.
Afterall, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. A goal measures how well and how quickly your process helps your customers solve their problem.
If your competition outperforms you, it’s because they don’t have to fight their own processes every day.
You can’t win them all but top quartile companies also don’t have to fight to gain insight into why they missed a target. A great map provides insight into:
- Where are my ideal customers or investments located?
- Questions are they asking?
- What are their pain points?
- The emotions driving them?
- Content do they want to see to believe I’m an expert in solving their problems?
THE IMPORTANCE OF CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING
Your customer’s path to purchase is just a snapshot in time. This picture can be worth a 1,000 words or not worth the paper it’s printed on. Make sure your map has the critical pieces needed to put the whole puzzle together.
STANDARD JOURNEY MAP FEATURES
There are some standard features everyone recommends, including actions, questions, motivation and friction points. But before we get overwhelmed by the details we can break down the map into zones:
Whenever you do a complex map it’s best to break down into smaller pieces so you can eat the elephant.
Some of the easiest insight is around the questions your customers ask. Once you know their questions, you know the keywords to use on your website and marketing content. We use a combination of SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz in our Marketing process.
This way you know if your customer asks Google “how to build the best pitch deck” or “how do improve the customer onboarding process”.
Now let’s add a few more things to make this more valuable.
GREAT CUSTOMER JOURNEY FEATURES
Here are simple rules I think every great map follows:
- Starts with an ideal customer persona
- Built using customer data from ideal customer
- 80% Visual 20% text
- Every stage has a quantified goal
- Focuses on negative emotions to build empathy around the problem
If you follow these rules you design for the perfect customer. This perfect customer has the greatest lifetime value because you’re also their best option.
You’ll not only get more for your marketing and sales dollars, your team will be more productive.
SCALING A BUSINESS WITH CUSTOMER MAPPING
The foundation of everything here is data. If you build on assumptions, you build an experience for one customer – yourself. When you build on non-ideal customer data, you build a process that pulls in the wrong leads.
Everyone’s job is to help the customer but there are critical roles within a company who should never be without their map:
- Sales and Marketing Professional
- Entrepreneur or Corporate Executive
- Venture Capital Fund or Private Equity Firm
SALES PROCESS and MARKETING ANALYTICS
Talk to any salesperson and they’re going to tell you they need better leads and more time in the day. Most Sales team are held accountable to a quality metric (win rate). The problem is they’re at the tail end of a Marketing process which is designed to increase quantity.
But if you put quality up front by giving your Marketing team a customer journey map, you’ll get more out of your Sales team. They won’t waste time chasing leads who won’t convert or aren’t profitable.
Marketing also gets a bigger bang for their buck because they’re designing their content to attract the most profitable lead.
Marketing and Sales can build their map by analyzing historical customers and their financial KPIs (profitability, lifetime value). After this, they can interview customers to gain even more insight into how to create an efficient and effective funnel.
ENTREPRENEUR or EXECUTIVE BUILDING A BUSINESS
As an entrepreneur or executive, you set the tone for the brand. Your brand is composed of your actions, language, culture, promises, etc. It’s a living thing and it’s what people buy before your product or service.
Your customer map should show what people expect to see from you. A good example is the tone of voice used in your marketing content. If you’re trying to convert Fortune 500 executives you probably aren’t using the meme du jour.
As you discover what genuine content converts, you can ask yourself:
- What keywords are they looking for? This ties to your website conversion optimization goal and SEO strategy
- Are you leading by example by using your own tools?
- What’s your About Us section show? How about yelp.com or glassdoor.com reviews?
PRIVATE EQUITY or VENTURE CAPITAL DEAL FLOW
Private equity firms are advancing by building out their marketing and sales processes. If you’re using software you’re trying to improve your deal flow through process improvement. You just skipped the process analysis, trusting a software company’s solution fills your process gap.
An easy way to start your marketing and deal sourcing strategic plan is with your website. By reviewing your Google Analytics, you’ll get data and insight into where your visitors are coming from and how they engage with your company online.
If you pair this data with customer interactions offline, you’ll be able to flush out your map. Now you can spend your time growing winning portfolio companies instead of chasing deals.
It can be overwhelming to think about all the tools, software or tasks involved in running your business. The only comforting thought is to know that failing processes, bad customers experiences are all part of your journey as a business owner. As long as you keep learning, you’ll make it to the other side.
Learning is just a process so build yourself a boat to ride out the waves instead of getting lost in the storm.