Shifting the focus from the company’s journey to the buyer’s journey helps your business find ways to support your customers better.
3 Tips for Buyer’s Journey Mapping
Why is buyer’s journey mapping important?
If you’re like most large companies, you probably have a set of sales stages you use to track your pipeline. These stages can become internal shorthand: “Company X has been in stage 3 for a long time – can we move them at all?”
But often, this set of stages is all about the company – not the buyer. It’s about what we know about them, how far they are through our process.
That’s why companies are turning this on their head with buyer’s journey mapping. Once you understand how your prospects really make decisions, you can adjust your sales and marketing strategies accordingly.
But buyer’s journey mapping isn’t an easy process. Often, companies struggle with knowing how to get started.
Here are some of our favorite tips:
Buyer’s Journey Mapping Tip #1: Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Use segments instead.
Most companies have multiple customer groups – each with their own motivations, processes, business cycles, etc. Don’t try to create one buyer’s journey map that covers them all. It’d likely be too general to be useful.
Instead, segment your buyers first, and then map their specific journey. There are a few common options:
- Map by vertical. If your company serves multiple verticals – they likely have different purchase drivers, processes, players, etc. This can be a clean way to divide your buyer’s journey mapping
- Map by persona. Do you sell to different stakeholders within a company for different reasons? If so, segmenting by persona may be a good path. One watch-out: many companies now have cross-functional purchasing processes. If mapping by persona, make sure to account for the places where they must get signoff and input from others.
- Map by service/product line. If your product portfolio is large and versatile this may be the best option for you. Chances are, the reasons someone buys from each are different – and so are their decision-making processes.
Buyer’s Journey Mapping Tip #2: Go beyond your gut – tap data and research whenever possible.
Most buyer’s journey mapping processes start with getting a company’s experts around the table. They bring insight and years of experience into how buyers make decisions. This is a great starting point for your buyer’s journey map. However, don’t stop there. Even the most seasoned expert has blind spots. And, as decision making processes get more complex (particularly in B2B), you need to test and adapt the journey with data.
Here are a few sources to consider:
- First-person buyer research. Talking to buyers (both who choose your company and who don’t) is a great source of insight. Learn what triggered their process, what the stages were and who participated. People aren’t infallible, but this insight can greatly improve the accuracy of your buyer’s journey.
- CRM and marketing automation data. If you have a CRM and marketing automation tool – you likely have great data built up to analyze! Dig into that data to understand how certain segments went through the process. How long was their buying cycle? What campaigns did they participate in throughout the process? Who did they bring to the table? This detail can provide a more data-driven approach.
- Third-party research and analysis. There’s a lot of data out there already, so don’t be afraid to tap into it! Often, you’ll find that industry groups have already researched the question you’re struggling with. Use their data to help fill in your gaps.
Buyer’s Journey Mapping Tip #3: Ship It, Then Revise
It’s important to get it right, but don’t let your buyer’s journey mapping process drag out for months. Aim to get a strong framework that you feel confident in, and start working from that immediately. Then, schedule monthly or quarterly sessions to refine the buyer’s journey based on new information.
You can also plan to run key experiments during those processes. This can help you collect key data points you’re missing and refine accordingly.
What do I do with the buyer’s journey map once I have it?
Once you’ve completed this process, the first step is to celebrate. Mapping the buyer’s journey is no easy feat! But once you’ve taken your much-deserved moment of joy, it’s time to get to work.
It’s time to analyze your sales and marketing efforts against the buyer’s journey. You’ll probably identify some gaps – areas where you need to create content and strategies to better support the buyer.
For more detail on this process, download the Ultimate Growth Marketing Playbook. See page 18 for a helpful chart for mapping your efforts against the buyer’s journey.
Mapping the buyer’s journey is a great first step in embracing growth marketing. Ready to learn more? Download the Ultimate Growth Marketing Playbook today!