In the earlier blog, ‘Understanding Your Customer’s Journey’, we looked at the key steps from awareness to loyalty. Now we can take a more holistic look at how your sales process and the customer journey interact with one another, and how we can use that to make it better.
Extending the customer journey with touchpoints
Despite the customer journey being the same for everyone, as we look a little closer, you’ll see that each customer has their own experience with you at each stage. So, what are YOUR customers’ journeys like with your business?
For example, you may have six steps in your journey that customers go through. If they go through steps 1-3 very smoothly, but at step four they lose interest or the process falls over, you can identify which part of your sales process needs tweaking. This could help you identify where additional, or fewer touchpoints are required, such as emails, phone calls or a meeting.
Considering the key touchpoints allows you to tap into what your customer is feeling at every step of their journey. This is essential for understanding what they need from you along the way.
I recall speaking with a business in London that took out a lot of large adverts along the M4 corridor. They had considered that their primary customers took that route into work and that their actions would be sitting in traffic, looking out of their window. Therefore, they used the advertising space to get their message to their customers at the awareness stage. This could then be followed up with further touchpoints in social media, local radio or industry publications, moving them into the consideration stage where they can ‘lurk’ as they learn more about you.
Emotional decision making
Many people make decisions on an emotional level. Can you solve a problem? Do they care about your sustainability, how does your service make them feel? Do you know what your customers are feeling at each step of their journey?
To help you work this out, I ask you to consider the pain, problem, fear, want, need or desire of your customer as they go through the journey in terms of awareness, consideration, purchase, retention and loyalty.
Relate your learning back to your sales communications
As the customer’s pain, problem or fear comes further into focus with your solution during the journey, your sales communications can soften in alignment.
Likewise, if you need to catch their attention and highlight a particular pain point that you have identified from experience, then you can change your communications to suit. After all, they may not be aware that they have a particular pain or problem!
What came first? Marketing or sales
Quite often a customer either falls between the marketing and sales areas of responsibility, or bounces back and forth between the two. It helps your customer communications if everyone in the two departments are clear on who takes responsibility for relationship building and essentially, moving the customer along each step of their journey. As for smaller businesses or solopreneurs, ensure you don’t blur the lines between marketing and sales, so consider which role you are executing at which stage of the journey or customer interaction.
Using the sales process to find the best solution to your customers’ pain
Once you know what your customer is doing, their touchpoints with your business, and the emotion they’re feeling, then you can consider the best possible solution for them.
That might be a number of communications, the different platforms you choose to build the relationship on, or it might be that you need to receive a referral into that potential customer.
The aim is to use your systems and processes to blend your solutions, so they form a natural flow of communication, guiding your customer from awareness to loyalty. You are considering how to move your relationship from social media, onto your website and onto a telephone call or in-person meeting. The smoother the journey, the more comfortable your customer will be when they arrive!
The customer journey goes through five main steps; Awareness, Consideration, Purchase Decision, Retention, and Loyalty & Advocacy.
My question is, how does your sales process map that customer journey? For help with any of these considerations, whether extending your own customers’ journey or assigning responsibility to teams, I offer an hour of free business mentoring. If you would like to learn more about how to develop your processes may I suggest a look at my Online Business Mentoring, or for more personalised advice and support, I offer 1-2-1 Business Mentoring.
In the meantime, this topic is explored in my podcast: Does your Sales Process Map Your Customer’s Journey? Enjoy!