10 Tips for Mapping Your Customer Journey

November 19, 2020
3 min

It’s a long road from product awareness to sales conversion, which is probably why it’s called a journey. Mapping your customer journey from start to sale (and beyond) can reveal opportunities to fine-tune your buying funnel.

Understanding your customer’s journey is the first step if you’re just diving into lead nurturing or content marketing programs. But this process is helpful no matter where you are in other areas of marketing. So here are our best 10 tips for mapping your customer journey.

1. Analyze Your Data

Take a look at your own data to understand top-of-funnel traffic sources and key conversion points further down the funnel. Look at your website analytics, CRM campaign ROI information, and marketing automation platform data. Look for conversion rates at key points in the sales process and identify areas to improve.

2. Map Your Business Unit Journey Stages

Map out the stage or stages in your sales process. These may be different depending on business unit. For example, a consumable sale may have a different journey than a capital sale, especially in the post-sale stage. If this is the case, create a map of journey stages for each business unit. Below is an example of common journey stages:

  • Stranger: No awareness of product
  • Converted Lead: Lead becomes a member of your database
  • Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL): Lead is ready for nurturing by marketing
  • Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL) / Opportunity: The lead is sufficiently nurtured to become ready for a sales conversation
  • Sale: The lead becomes a customer
  • Post-Sale: Customer onboarding/nurturing for future consumable sales (if applicable)

3. Establish Goals for Each Customer Journey Stage

For example, at the “Stranger” stage, you want to make the prospect aware of your product offering and convert them into your database so you can warm them up for sales.

4. Talk to Sales

After you have the journey stages mapped and goals set, share your preliminary draft with your sales team. The “feet on the street” often have insights marketers behind the analytics dashboard can’t see.

5. Audit Your Existing Content

Document your educational materials, sales assets, and forms/lead conversion points. If you have a lot to work with, rate each asset based on quality. This will help to determine which content should be on your short list for consideration. If you don’t have much content, that’s okay! Include a wish list of the content you want to create.

Related Article: 5 Marketing Campaign Ideas That Repurpose Content You Already Have

6. Match Content to Customer Journey Stage

After you’ve cataloged your content, identify which pieces of are most appropriate to accomplish your set goals within each journey stages. For example, a blog post is great for generating awareness at the Stranger phase. Alternatively, an in-depth webinar is ideal for an MQL that you want to convert to an SQL.

Establish the criteria that moves the lead to the next stage of their journey. This creates clear gates that indicate progress to a new stage. Make sure these criteria are easily segmented in your CRM and automation platform. This will allow you to automate delivery of different content based on data-based triggers.

7. Identify Top-of-Funnel Hooks

Enticing hooks progress prospects from awareness to conversion. Look for high-interest topics or synergistic solutions to common problems that your product can address. Identifying market pain points and aligning solutions is a surefire way of catching awareness at the top of the funnel.

8. Identify Influencers and Decision Makers

Chances are your product sale has two key groups of stakeholders: decision makers and influencers. Tweak your journey goals and content solutions based on these two roles. For example, technicians and practice managers will need different content at each stage of their journey based on their different roles.

9. Align Marketing Channels with Customer Journey Stages

Which channels will help you accomplish your goals at each stage of the marketing journey? Your answer will determine the most effective message distribution channels. For example, for growing awareness, you may rely heavily on digital channels, such as your website, blog, and social channels. At the SQL stage, you may rely more on sales interactions and email remarketing.

10. Don’t Forget Customer Retention

Many businesses forget the post-sale stage of the buyer journey, which is a missed opportunity! It costs more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, so don’t forget retention. Make sure it’s part of your map. This will help you be intentional about your onboarding and re-activation for up-sells or future sales of consumables.