customer journey mapping couple rock climbing indoors

The Value of Customer Journey Mapping for a B2B Company

Do you want to know what customers are really thinking? You might be surprised by the answer. Customer journey mapping is a powerful tool for any B2B company looking to understand its customers and improve customer experience. In this post, we’ll take a look at how customer journey mapping can help your business make more money while increasing customer retention rates.

What is Customer Journey Mapping?

Customer journey mapping is a detailed illustration of how your target business customer interacts with your company and its products and services. The purpose of mapping is to better understand motivations and how customers react to various touchpoints with your company. For example, do most of your B2B customers interact with your website or do they find you on social media? Do your customers have a positive experience on your website or is ordering and finding the product they want frustrating? What messages are they getting when they interact with your company? Is that message consistent with your branding?

The customer journey for a B2B company is fundamentally different from that of a company that sells directly to consumers. For example, a B2C consumer can make an impulse purchase. Whereas, for B2B, you’re not dealing with a single person making a decision, let alone purchasing on a whim. This is why customer journey mapping for B2B companies is so critical. You need to be able to move multiple stakeholders through your funnels, meeting their often different needs in order to convert them into customers.

What’s more, as much as 87% of B2B customers are looking for streamlined, self-served buyer processes. This demonstrates the large shift seen in buyers’ relying on independent research over spending time engaging with sales representatives. Additionally, an average buyer is going to use 6.9 different sources to gather information to make a purchase decision. Ultimately, this leads to a large blurring between marketing and sales as traditional B2B sales methods are no longer effective in this format.

Thus, B2B customer journey mapping means:

  • Understanding who is part of the buying decision
  • Knowing what each member of the decision making team needs inside and out.
  • Understanding where they will seek out solutions and information.
  • What information they will need most and when.
  • When they will be most influenced to convert from a lead, to a marketing qualified lead, to a sales qualified lead and ultimately into a customer.
  • Then, putting into action how to make that happen.
  • B2B customer journey mapping is all about knowledge and timing.

Benefits of mapping the customer journey, especially for B2B companies

Why spend resources on customer journey mapping? First off, understanding how your customers interact with your company and evaluating their experiences will lead you to a better understanding of what they are looking for and help you provide it. That will logically lead to lower churn rates; the rate of customers leaving your orbit, either as subscribers or as buyers.

In addition, the information and knowledge you get from customer journey mapping can help you provide better customer service and a better experience for those visiting your social media pages, your website, and/or other digital touchpoints.

Ultimately, the most important purpose for in-depth customer mapping is to be able to deliver the right information needed by your target at the right time in their journey to move them closer to becoming a customer. This is the goal and it’s the benefit of effective customer journey mapping.  Without it, your B2B company will stall.

customer journey mapping gameboard with game pieces

How to Map a Customer Journey Gather Information

The first step to creating a useful and accurate customer journey map is to gather information about your customers. You may think you already have this information, but it’s wise to re-visit this task. Your information may be outdated or based on intuition rather than fact. This information for your B2B customers differs from what you’d collect for B2C customers. You’re going to want to know:


  • The size of your customer’s business
  • Their industry
  • How much influence they have on the ultimate buying decision
  • Your customer’s competitors
  • The company’s buying process

Most of this information can be found online via sources like LinkedIn.

In addition to this information, you’ll want to factor in your customer’s motivation for buying your product, their frustrations with the buying process, and their expectations.


Build a Buyer Persona

Armed with all of this information, you can start creating a buyer persona. This is a fictional description of your target customer. For B2B customers, you’ll want to focus on where the customer works, what sources of information they trust, and who influences their purchasing decisions. Having a buyer persona allows you and your team to relate better to your customers as people rather than just statistics.

As a B2B company, the most important aspect of building a buyer persona is remembering you’re rarely dealing with a one-person decision. Rather, you need multiple personas for all the decision-makers and stakeholders requiring information and convincing to make your sale. Part of these buyer personas, then, will also include how they work to influence one another in the decision-making process. This is in part what makes B2B customer journey mapping more complicated.

Define the Stages of Your Customer Journey

Next, you’ll want to identify and define the stages of your customer’s journey as it relates to your sales and marketing funnel. Most journeys will include the following stages:

  • Awareness
  • Research
  • Choice evaluation
  • Commitment and purchase
  • Use

Depending on your marketing and sales funnel, you might also include things like taking advantage of a free trial period or downloading a free white paper.

customer journey mapping

Determine Your Influencing Touchpoints

Lastly, you’ll want to determine the touchpoints or interactions that influence your target customers at each stage of the journey. For example, a customer might visit your social media page and then follow a link to download your mobile app. Your social media page and your mobile app are both touchpoints.

Part of this step is also defining the behaviors needed for your customer to move from being a lead to becoming a market qualified lead (MQL) and from an MQL to a sales qualified lead (SQL). It’s important to note, different stakeholders may require different information to create the desired behavior. Further, your most influencing touchpoint for one stakeholder to move forward will likely be different for another within the same decision-making process.

What’s more, not all of your influencing touchpoints will be in your control. For B2B sales, often it’ll be the junior member of the decision team presenting your information to the senior level members without anyone from your sales team present. The junior member then becomes a highly significant touchpoint in moving potential customers from an MQL to a SQL.

Customer Journey Maps Improve Customer Experience and Your Bottom Line

It’s a cliche to say “when you know better, you do better”, but it applies. Customer journey mapping is not optional if you want to both close sales now AND be agile enough to pivot and close sales in the future. When you know who the decision-making players are the way B2B customer journey mapping allows, then you’re able to adapt instantly and even anticipate changes in their behavior. What’s more, you’ll be responsive to why buyer behaviors change and provide solutions for their reasons, not yours. This agility is what you need amidst unpredictable circumstances (like a global pandemic) and the reshaping of B2B decision-making.

Yes, creating a customer journey map involves an initial investment of time and effort. However, at this point, customer journey mapping isn’t just one way to approach B2B marketing and sales. It’s non-negotiable and is necessary for the development and success of every aspect of your business.