Mapping the customer journey has long been a goal of marketers. The light at the end of a long, darkly-lit tunnel. Some have made it across the finish line only to realize the maps created are based on assumptions about what customers might do, rather than what they actually do.
Automated journey maps flip the tables to make journey mapping all about actual customer behavior. You can learn a lot more about the paths your future customers will take by looking at past behavior than you will by making guesses or assumptions.
What is a Customer Journey Map?
To start, we should clarify exactly what a customer journey map is. A journey map tells the visual story of the relationship between you and your customer. From the first interaction with your brand, right up to the relationship they currently have with your organization, hopefully as a customer advocate.
While you could create a nice, static image based on the steps you hope or expect a prospect to take (and many companies have), an accurate map requires looking at your data to identify all the touch points when a customer has engaged with the company and the sequence in which they’ve occurred.
The most useful customer journey maps stretch beyond the steps it takes for a prospect to become a sales qualified lead. They consider an extended sales cycle to include data past the point where the sale is made to show what that prospect is like as a customer. They also provide invaluable insights into what steps lead to ‘closed won’ deals.
For example, do they always read new product update emails? Do they invest in high-dollar products or upgrades your company offers? Perhaps most importantly, are they advocates? Do they talk about your brand to colleagues and help create new leads for your products?
A customer journey map should show you not only what’s working to help close business, but what helps you win the customers that are most valuable to your company.
What’s Different About Automated Customer Journey Maps?
What we’ve described thus far can be started manually, so long as you have a comprehensive data set that captures lead and customer behavior and the right mix of skills in your marketing department. That said, the time and effort required without the guarantee of actionable results is often deterrent enough to stop the project before it begins.
For instance, you’d need to pull all the data you have on the touch points of past leads and customers, put your data analyst(s) to task identifying the trends in what each buyer’s journey looks like, and bring in your graphic designer to help create a visual that shows the whole (static) story that would be different tomorrow.
Or, you could just let a dedicated software solution take all those steps for you. Hive9 recently released an automated customer journey maps tool that will take all the disparate data you already have on lead and customer behavior and turn it into interactive, visual stories that answer the main questions marketers have, such as:
- Which marketing activities are the most likely to lead to a sale?
- Which are most likely to lead to customers that become advocates?
- How does the journey vary for different personas, industries, geographies, etc.?
- Which activities most frequently lead to prospects dropping off the journey?
- Which lead them to take another action? What’s the next action they usually take?
- What’s the next best message we should be delivering to a particular group of prospects based on what’s historically worked best?
- What are the best data-driven steps we can take now to improve future results?
With Hive9, the work on your part is minimal. You can see actual customer journeys, compare the journeys for different products and personas, and drive more people to action along the journeys that prove to reach your goals.
Automated customer journeys pack a lot of valuable information into an elegant, easy-to-read visual format. If you’d like to learn more about how journey maps work and what they can mean for your business, set up a demo with one of our representatives.