Developing a sales strategy that delivers results is a challenge for many companies. This is because, on top of traditional market obstacles, the way people buy and relate to brands has changed considerably in recent years. Nowadays, it is essential for companies to be part of the personal growth of their audience, using customer journey onboarding.
Previously, any contact which consumers had with companies was basically face-to-face, and with very little interactivity, i.e. radio or TV advertising. Today, however, dissemination and consumption itself also take place on the internet and across its multiple channels.
Therefore, it is necessary to understand the trajectory which your customer takes, from the first time they contact you to the moment they make a purchase, how they evolve together with your company, making their way through the contact channels, and what is their experience with each one of them. We call this process the customer journey.
What is the customer journey?
The customer journey is the path taken by each consumer throughout their relationship with a company. It is your customer’s story with your brand, from the first contact – a visit, service, printed material or online content – to closing and after-sales. Some teams use a free flowchart maker to organize the customer journey map.
That is why each point of contact with the public is important when it comes to developing your relationship with the customer, seeking to take them to the next stage of the journey. In practice, what marketers do is create a narrative in order to understand the doubts, pains and needs of the public at each stage of this journey.
In this process, we can include the services provided by different teams to the consumer, the visits that this person makes to your website, the impressions that they have of your products and services, engagement through social networks and any other interactions that occur across different service channels – digital or otherwise.
The journey tells the customer’s story with your company, from the moment they identify that they need your product or service, through the process of information search, evaluation and comparison, and culminating with conversion and an ongoing relationship.
In this way, we can design a personalized strategy capable of attracting, educating and transforming consumers, who were once distracted, into engaged customers. This approach assumes that it is not just the characteristics of a product or service which determine its purchase.
Today’s most successful companies are precisely those that develop personalized content to increase their points of contact with the target audience, always seeking to send the right message at the right time and at all stages of the customer relationship.
What are the stages of the customer journey?
Different journeys can be envisioned according to the characteristics of each audience, the market or the business itself. However, in a Marketing strategy, we usually work with the following essential stages:
- Learning and discovery: the consumer does not yet fully understand their problem, and your company must help them identify it;
- Consideration of the solution: your potential customers are already aware of the problem, and start looking for further details and solutions;
- Purchase decision: your potential customers are analyzing the available solutions, many of which become sales opportunities;
- Loyalty: your sales opportunities become customers, and maintain a relationship with your brand.
For each of these steps, there is an appropriate way to communicate and drive your actions.
The customer journey map: what is it, and why should we create one?
The customer journey map is the visual record of the experiences your customers will have with your business.
Making this type of record may seem unnecessary at first; but it will help your team to tell the story of the customer experience step by step and; as a result, identify points of improvement in your relationship with your customers.
When creating your customer journey map, your team is likely to begin to realize that the journey is much more complex than it appears and that it can often be much more diverse than you assumed. Basically, the objective of mapping your customer’s journey is to generate more revenue; through the retention, expansion and referral of new customers.
Mapping the customer journey is a way to create a methodology for your strategy. That way, when a prospect makes contact with your company; you will know what to do and where to refer them to so they can move forward on their journey.
Similarly, if the prospect already knows what they want; your previously defined actions can be recognized by them as a possible solution. And when they are finally ready to buy, but unsure which company to choose; you can go one step further to make sure that company is yours.
In a nutshell, defining the customer journey is a means of being prepared to adequately respond to customer needs throughout their relationship with your company.
How to map your customer’s journey?
Personas are semi-fictional characters that represent a company’s “ideal customer”. This approach goes beyond classic descriptions of target audiences; and seeks to understand people in a more personal way – their values, habits, pain points, goals and more.
Once your persona has been defined; it is time to map and plan the best actions for each stage of your audience’s buying process:
Learning and discovery:
this isn’t the time to talk about your brand or your product; but rather to educate your persona so they appreciate the value of what you are offering.
To do so, aim to publish broad, didactic content which seeks to help your audience to identify a problem and begin looking for solutions.
your future customer now knows that they have a problem, and their focus has begun to shift to potential solutions. You may be eager to talk about your product, but it pays to stay low-key at this stage.
Your persona is not yet ready, and there are many questions to be resolved. Instead, focus on producing more in-depth content – technically-minded, rich and containing comprehensive explanations.
your future client has come a long way, learning a lot from the materials which you’ve provided; and has already created ties with your company. This alone is a net positive: your brand is being recognized in the market; your business has gained authority and your audience is engaged.
Now is the time to reveal the details of your product or service; making it clear to your persona why your solution is the best option for them. We recommend featuring the stories of satisfied customers; or providing an open channel on which they can express their opinions; such as review sections on your website or social media channels.
if your brand has remained attentive and present throughout the customer journey; the biggest mistake it could make is to simply disappear once the purchase has been made. This posture will not only arouse distrust, but also waste all the work invested up until that point.
Loyal customers can be great advocates and promoters of your brand. That is why you need to maintain a strong relationship with your customers, whether via your blog, email or social networks. Share news about your company, keep providing relevant content and offer all the necessary support.
Remember that the goal of mapping the customer onboarding journey is to highlight what can be improved in the customer experience, heighten your target audience’s opinion of your brand, reduce points of friction and ultimately generate better results for your company.