B2B Journeys (or B2B2C)

B2B or B2B2C Journeys

The enormous complexity of business-to-business relationships makes it imperative to understand your customer’s (or agent’s, or client’s, or vendor’s) journey.

Heart of the Customer’s proprietary journey mapping approach reveals the Moments of Truth that matter most in B2B and B2B2C relationships, so that targeted, customer-focused improvements can be made to increase revenue, loyalty, and satisfaction.

Business and Customer Experience Metrics

If All Customers are Important, You have a Bad B2B Customer Experience

“When all customers are important…none will be.” – Syndrome from The Incredibles (slightly paraphrased)

Are all customers worth the same to your business? No! But odds are, your CX program doesn’t recognize this.

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B2B Companies: Focus on Onboarding First

In any customer experience, certain phases have more impact than others – either positive or negative – and create a measurable impact on the rest of the relationship. Positive results lead to customers who trust you, are more willing to forgive mistakes, and are more interested in your other products or services. But if they don’t go so well, customers are more likely to stray; they pounce on every mistake, and they’re very reticent to use your other offerings.

The moments that matter vary by experience, and even by individual. Effective journey maps show these Moments of Truth. But even if you don’t have a journey map – or if yours just isn’t very good – there’s one area that is consistently important in B2B experiences: The new customer onboarding journey. Read more

B2B Customers are not just Consumers 2.0

Frequent readers of this blog know that I’m into all things journey mapping, regularly reviewing articles on the subject. So I was particularly interested in How to: Create a digital customer journey map by Henning Ogberg, the senior VP EMEA of Sugar CRM. As it’s published by B2B Marketing, it’s obviously targeted towards B2B (business-to-business) audiences.

In general, it’s a great article. I especially like four of his five tips:

  • Accept that it won’t be simple. We find this is true of journey mapping in general – not just B2B. In our recent analysis, half of all journey maps weren’t successful. While we didn’t have sufficient numbers to compare B2B vs. B2C (business-to-consumer), business journey mapping is newer, so it seems likely that there would be fewer successful journey maps in this space. Business journeys are significantly more complicated than consumer journeys, since they involve more participants over a longer amount of time.
  • Capitalize on the insight and support of your team. Yes! In the post It Takes a Broad Team to Improve Customer Journeys I talk about the importance of involving a large cross-functional team in your journey mapping initiative. Not only does this provide better input to your map, it also helps to ensure your various teams are prepared to act on the results.
  • Don’t fixate on sales. I don’t often hear this advice, but I definitely agree. Focus first on understanding your customers – then look at your business opportunities.
  • Embrace the opportunity of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). This is a timely piece, since just last week we featured our interview with Dawn Mergenthaler on how to sync up CRM and CX (Customer Experience) in your organization. It’s the only way to institutionalize the insights in your organization.

As I said, I really liked four of his five tips. Read more

Help your B2B clients, help yourself

As a B2B company, you have a great opportunity to see the big picture that is hidden from your clients. By serving multiple clients, you can see something they can’t – and that they most definitely need to know.

Your clients use your products and services in a vacuum. They probably have a good idea as to how they themselves use your services. But they want to know if they’re taking the best advantage of your offerings. Are others using your products and services in a more optimal manner?

It’s time to make your data transparent. You have the unique lens to see how all your customers use your products and services. Proactively share that information with clients to create joint success. Read more

In B2B Relationships, Being a Trusted Advisor Matters

handshake-440959_640There’s nothing more powerful than a trusted advisor. Each of us has our go-to people we call for advice. While a trusted advisor could be a mentor or a past or current co-worker, valued suppliers can also become trusted advisors.

This relationship doesn’t come easy, often taking years to develop the trust needed to play this role. But once you have that relationship, it pays off in multiple ways.

You hear about problems first.

You bring your trusted advisor your most challenging problems – even if they’re not directly solved by his or her company’s products. When we studied a B2B software purchasing process, we found that many prospective clients contacted their existing vendors first – even though those vendors didn’t offer this type of software. They knew their trusted advisors were informed about the landscape and could provide direction. Read more

Journey Mapping Case Study: You’ve Got to Be in It to Win It

document-1446078_640In B2B transactions with large companies, it’s all too easy to forget that no matter how big (or even faceless) a company might seem, individual decisions are still made by individuals, just as surely as if it were a mom-and-pop shop up the street. Journey mapping is the perfect tool to explore the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of those individuals, to boost sales and enhance business relationships.

Case Study on Journey Mapping

Our client, a well-respected powerhouse in the financial services industry, offers software that accelerates manual process. They called on Heart of the Customer for a kind of company “tune-up,” to ensure they were staying one step ahead of the competition, and to grow sales by gaining insight into their customers’ software-selection process.

We began the journey-mapping process by interviewing both existing clients and prospects. This data-gathering phase helped us identify the different phases of the decision-making experience, and to identify the two key segments (or “personas”) that made up our client’s customer base: Frustrated Frank and Inclusive Anne. Read more