Why You Should Map Out Your Entire Customer Buying Journey

Founder & CEO of elev8.io. Author: The Zero to 100 Million Sales Blueprint & The Goals, Grit & Greatness Planner.A serial entrepreneur since 2002.
LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube


There was one month in sales I’ll never forget. May 2016, at my previous company, WSM. Our churn rate was up to nearly 20%. Despite bringing on nearly 150 new customers that month, our growth had declined. 

There were a million reasons for the spike in cancellations, but one thing was evident. We hadn’t prepared! Despite being years into the operation, we didn’t have a detailed customer journey mapped out. So we didn’t really understand our customers.

Why is this so important? Because companies who hire me to help boost their sales usually ask questions like:

  1. What should our lead-conversion-rate be?
  2. How many emails should I include in my email sequences?, or
  3. How many new customers do you think your company can help us get every month?

All legit questions. I can give you answers or you can just do a simple Google search to reveal some. 

Your Entire Customer’s Journey Comes First

But I refuse to answer this before understanding your entire customer journey, its activities, amount of touch points, how it’s measured, managed and optimized.

Of course, the better you know your customer, the market, the competition and the trends, the better you can influence the emotional triggers of your prospective buyers and lead them through their search, purchase and decision making process to select your company and your solutions! 

Below is a high level overview of what that looks like. Fundamentally there are three core processes: 

  • Demand Generation Marketing
  • Sales Cycle and Lead Nurturing
  • Customer Lifetime Journey. 

Within each, are many tasks to consider and define an implementation plan for. As the wise saying goes, “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood“.

Looking back at my previous companies, if we had mapped out a detailed Customer Journey like this, our growth would have skyrocketed. 

And no successful company, despite defining thorough Customer Journey mapping, can succeed without also placing a high value on:

  • Better cross-departmental collaboration (especially with sales, marketing and operations/fulfilment teams)
  • High employee engagement
  • A genuine customer-centric approach from their teams 

Probing Questions to Ask

When mapping out your Customer Journey in such detail, ask probing questions such as:

  • In order to hit our sales goals, how many MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) do we need?
  • Which sectors and market segments should we focus on to more effectively realize our targets?
  • Through which channels can we cost-effectively reach our target audience and move them down the funnel?

Admittedly, most of my companies have been hardcore-sales fueled, leveraging only a few cylinders sales and marketing-wise. 

Nowadays, especially post-Covid, it’s even more complex, since today’s B2B buyer can do its vendor research and preliminary assessments online to create a short list in which you’re either on or off. 

And all without ever contacting you or giving you the chance to pitch. 

In fact, research shows that today’s B2B buyer already has done 57% of their research before landing on your website and taking an action.

It’s All About the Customer Experience

Phenomenal Customer Experience (CX) is typically linked with incremental revenue gains for companies. However, I’ve come to learn that most companies in the B2B sector are severely lacking an adequate CX when compared with the B2C sector.

By comparison, most B2C companies’ typical CX scores are between 65-85%, while B2B companies average 50%. Just let that sink in for a second or two! 

According to McKinsey & Company B2B companies can expect:

  • A 10-15% reduction in customer churn as a result of an elevated CX
  • A 40% increase in deal win rates
  • Upwards of 50% reduction in your cost-to-serve model via better CX
  • A 3x likelihood of hitting your revenue targets if the CX is sublime

Why? Pretty obvious, right? I rest my case. The big questions are how and who can help you elevate your CX experience so you’re three times more likely to exceed your revenue targets.

The B2B Buying Journey is Non-Linear

Gartner announced in 2018 that the marketing-to-sales handoff should no longer exist. And they identified 6 jobs that buyers perform in a purchase process. 

The study showed that most B2B buyers revisit nearly every “buying job” at least once before they make a purchase. The result: a customer buying journey that resembles more of a maze than a linear path. 

As Brian Adamson of Gartner wrote: “The organizations that succeed …will be those that materially simplify the purchase process for customers. 

“It’s on marketing and sales teams to take the customer by the hand and guide them through the purchase, from start to end.

And More Key Questions That Lead to Success

Why is understanding the B2B buying cycle and consumer attributes so important? Well, if, as I strongly recommend, we always begin with the end in mind, we need to: 

  • Ask the right questions 
  • Conduct proper research to understand the customer fully and know what they truly care about
  • Learn where to find them (online and offline) 
  • Know how to speak to them
  • Understand how to influence them
  • “Get” how to win them over 
  • And ultimately…successfully enter into a marriage with them

Looking back at our critical mistake in my last company, when we initially had a 20% cancellation rate, we were boiling the ocean by selling to all types of verticals and sizes of companies. 

Our new client acquisition approach really became effective, after we pivoted to focus on channel sales and sold to other marketing agencies. 

You see, I had just spent nearly six years as CEO for our own reputable and successful agency, so when we began selling to other marketing agencies, I truly understood my prospective customers, their pains, challenges, pleasures, and what kept them up at night—in great, great detail. 

So selling to them became easier than ever, without any brute force, purely by quickly identifying their pain points and positioning our solution as the answer to that!

In comparison, when we pivoted to this approach, with a small team of salespeople we managed to bring the same volume of revenue as we did previously with a salesforce 20x bigger and with a 10x higher marketing budget! 

6 Benefits of Mapping the B2B Customer Buying Journey

Mapping your customer’s journey is well worth the effort and can bring a range of quantifiable benefits, as follows:

1. Improved Customer Experience

Knowledge of your customers’ specific needs and preferences at every touchpoint in the buying process provides insights that can be used to craft personalized marketing, sales, and customer service strategies, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Increased Sales

You can better identify areas where you may be losing potential customers. By addressing these issues, businesses can increase the likelihood of converting leads into sales, resulting in increased revenue.

3. Better ROI

You can prioritize your marketing efforts and allocate resources more effectively. This can result in a better ROI for marketing campaigns, as well as increased efficiency in other areas of the business.

4. Improved Sales and Marketing Alignment

You can ensure your sales and marketing teams are aligned and working together effectively to move prospects through the different stages of the buying process in a seamless fasion.

5. Increased Conversion Rates

By identifying potential barriers or roadblocks in the buying process and removing them, you can make it easier for customers to purchase. This can lead to increased conversion rates and higher revenue for your business.

6. Improved Product Development

You can identify gaps in your product offerings and learn where to better meet customer needs. By gathering feedback at each touchpoint, you can gain valuable insights into how to improve your products and services to better serve your customers.

That’s how powerful truly understanding your Customer Journey can be. To learn more about these processes check out my book The 0 to 100 Million Sales Blueprint.

Scroll to Top