We’ve all heard of mapping customer journeys in B2C marketing but less about mapping prospect journeys in B2B marketing. It is important to map the journey to the point they become a lead or an opportunity in the sales pipeline (at which point sales can take over the lead management). The value of each lead is such that it is important to ensure that target prospects get the same attention on their path to becoming a customer as our customers get as a customer.
Mapping the prospect journey makes sense in B2B marketing in many ways:-
• It creates a repeatable successful process for lead generation between marketing and sales
• It ensures that the right prospects end up in the sales funnel
• It provides a measurable activity that enables the illusive cost of sale to be calculated as well as which touch points have the greatest influence
• It provides a strong case for marketing/lead gen budgets
• It helps to knock down the barriers between marketing and sales (well partially lets not go too far!!)
Your Prospect Journey Mapping Process
This needs to be done for each target segment and target function within the segment ideally.
1. Awareness – making sure that all your target market segments and the relevant contacts within those segments are aware of why you would be of value to them. This is less about making them aware of what you do but explaining why you do it and why this is important to them. Having a simple business value proposition is key to this. A simple value proposition can be presented across all channels and in all forms, words, visual, video and sound. Ask yourself the question if I was a prospect would I understand what value we offer to them and why they should buy what we do?
2. Engagement – getting your prospect audience to engage with you is the next challenge. Achieving successful engagement is often a function of timing/proposition/need – I am not a mathematician but if I was there must be some sort of formulae to represent this. Our experience is that if you have correctly identified your target market and they have a need for what you do and you make it easy to understand then you can achieve engagement. Remember however that your competition will also be trying to get mind share so you always need to be one step ahead and better than them.
3. Interest – prospect engagement indicates a level of interest but not necessarily an ability to buy, this is where sales engagement is key. Sales need to have the tools available to support their efforts. The right commercial models, the right product information, case studies, ROI calculators, demos, trials etc. The need is to turn interest into buying action and prove the value of your offering to help your prospects buy.
4. Desire – your prospect is now informed about your offering, they know and understand what it can do for them but they still haven’t bought. Timely communications here can make a difference, messages to strengthen the buying decisions, build credibility around what you are offering and make it clear that it will make their lives easier, better, cheaper etc. Marketing shouldn’t stop when a prospect is in the sales funnel but it does need to be even more personalised to the prospect recognising that now you do know more about them. So definitely no blanket marketing.
5. Action – the prospect journey has worked and you have turned a prospect into a customer – fantastic now is the time to reinforce that they have made the right decision. Make their customer experience as professional as their prospect experience and keep the engagement going.
Mapping prospect journeys provides visibility of the marketing process and helps to align budgets with results. Recording and measuring each prospect touch point with your business isn’t easy but it is important and will lead to better prospect to lead to customer ratios and lower cost per lead.
By Emma Muir founder, CMO centre