The customer journey represents all ‘manual’ and automated interactions that an organisation conducts with its customers, from the moment they are discovering a need and looking for a solution, to being a happy paying promotor for your product or service.
This is defined by the actions an organisation is taking at each phase of the process, either being produced by automation tools (Marketing Automation, CRM, Ticketing, Project Management, Supply Chain…) or by human interaction.
A different traditional approach
The traditional approach to defining customer-facing processes, is to divide operations into ‘marketing’, ‘sales’ and ‘customer support’ disciplines. It is however imperative to also recognise that customer processes intrinsically need to be aligned in order to provide each individual buyer persona a seemingly personal and continuous communication, in his/her implicit context at each stage of the process.
Keeping track of context
Each prospect travels through a customer journey, from the moment a piece of content is being discovered or being pushed, to the moment the purchase agreement is being signed, further down to the moment he/she is happily using and even promoting a solution. In order to optimally guide that journey, a company needs to track each individual prospect, and gather relevant information at each individual stage of the process.
Blind dating, inbound-style
Companies should use their explicit buying personas challenges and goals to attract strangers to a controlled environments, where tracking can start. The simplest controlled environment a company possesses is its own website, or own-branded landing-page platform. The way to attract audience is by publishing and promoting awareness content on public marketplaces and social media, and seduce them on activating a ‘call-to-action’ which will redirect them to earlier controlled environment.
In most countries, it is illegal to reach out to someone without prior consent. In enterprise environments, this can be circumvented by asking to ‘speak to someone’. Yet, in both cases, potential prospects hate it! And if not handled carefully, this can bring bad reputation to the company.
Once prospects leave their details, they will become part of regular ‘drip campaigns’ through which they will be ‘offered’ relevant awareness and consideration content about their problem, until they either indicate an interest and become a sales-qualified lead, or unsubscribe…
A simple way to keep track of visitor interest, is to keep history of actions and fitting scores. Each time a visitor will call an action, or visit blog post, points will be added to his/her score. As such, returning visitors with the highest score are most likely to become a lead.
“Each company must define and understand all dimensions of the customer journey in order to achieve long-term success.“
Harvard Business Review
Indicating interest for an offer, an identified visitor or ‘marketing-qualified lead’ now becomes a ‘sales-qualified lead’. With tracking history to work with, inside sales will now know what missing knowledge to enquire for, before appointing that lead to an account executive, or dropping the lead if not relevant.
Inbound sales closure
Armed with a fully-qualified profile from the sales lead, and knowing that lead to be already quite educated on the solution canvas, the sales executive can now highlight relevant features to various account-stakeholders, solve the customer’s problem, and close the deal!
Decision Making Units
Larger organisations will require the account executive to adopt an organisation-driven approach to conveying awareness, consideration and solution messaging to various stakeholders—each with their own reservations. Such approach will require an account plan with a decision-role matrix (DMU) and individual outbound actions.
A next step in the customer journey is to delight a happy new customer to remain happy. A happy customer will not likely churn, and potentially even buy more. A best way to achieve this is to ensure a flawless on-boarding through either a dedicated team, either a well-trained partner with high-level direct 2nd-line support.
By actively seeking customer-feedback in decision-making processes, as in allowing them to have their voice in defining future features on the roadmap, a company will not only increase its promotor/fan-base, it will obtain crucial information for further product/market fit and go-to-market strategy exercises.
Net promotor score
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s offer to others. While surveying the existing customer base, individual actions should be undertaken to avoid detractors churning.
Thoughts & Experiences
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