Must Read: HBR on shortening sales cycles by using customer journeys

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November 4, 2018

Commentary on recent research with a perspective from a UX consultant and trainer.

Mapping customer journeys is crucial in understanding moments of truth.

However, only 17% of marketers have the ability to fully analyze a customer journey. That creates challenges if your customers are evolving faster than you can react.

 

Using Customer Journeys to shorten the sale cycle

David Edelman and Marc Singer from McKinsey wrote last week in HBR about streamlining decision journeys.

The explosion of digital technologies over the past decade has created “empowered” consumers so expert in their use of tools and information that they can call the shots, hunting down what they want when they want it and getting it delivered to their doorsteps at a rock-bottom price. In response, retailers and service providers have scrambled to develop big data and analytics capabilities in order to understand their customers and wrest back control.

They regard companies as being reactive using big data and analytics to figure out customer journeys in this new multi-channel landscape.

Further, they argue that there’s an opportunity to streamline the customer journey by shortening or eliminating the consideration stage.

streamlining-customer-journey

 

Why map Customer Journeys?

This article from SAS provides an introduction and a great rationale for mapping customer journeys.

The biggest takeaway is that done right, customer journey maps can lead to quicker sales cycles

If you take a moments-of-truth approach to your customer relationships, you know that identifying customer moments of truth happens well before you engage a customer. In fact, knowing those moments of truth can help you prepare to be in the moment with the customer, which leads to benefits like bonding and, ultimately, customer advocacy. If you apply this idea, you should expect better qualified leads and quicker sales cycles.

 

Are companies taking advantage? Not according to Econsultancy research

econsultancy-customer-journey-readinessIn partnership with Adobe, Econsultancy surveyed nearly 2000 digital marketers and e-commerce professionals. They found that lack of capability is a key issue in matching channels and content to the customer journey.

The natural progression from developing journey analysis capabilities is to implement marketing activities that correspond with the customer journey.

But only 10% of companies surveyed match channels and content to a ‘well-mapped’ customer journey, while the vast majority (64%) only match them to one that is ‘roughly-mapped’.

 

My perspective:

As a User Experience consultant and trainer, I regularly conduct customer journey mapping sessions inside enterprise organizations and agencies.

I find that most marketers and e-commerce leaders do understand customer journeys as being crucial in understanding customer behavior. Especially with fast-moving, digitally savvy consumers.

But the marketing focus still remains on reactive campaign marketing (social, web or email).

This means mapping customer journeys as a proactive way to decipher consumer actions often falls by the wayside.

The process of mapping consumer journeys is actually quite simple. It can be done on a whiteboard with a simple template in as little as a few minutes for a particular scenario. And it can be learned in a 3 hour workshop.However, the mandate has to be conveyed, especially with integrating it into the regular workflow.

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