This is Part Two of a two-part series on B2B Journey Mapping. We recommend you read Part One first. “Caution: B2B Journey Mapping is Different. Proceed Accordingly.”
Client Journey Mapping is commonly done with a lack of concrete and actionable foresight about what the firm wants to gain from the exercise. We plan your journey mapping with an abundance of forethought about what should come out of the mapping exercise.
Here are a few principles we apply to map :
- Set journey mapping goals the CEO can get behind. Answer the question, “how are we going to improve our firm’s business through this activity. If you answer, “by better understanding our customers,” you need to go back the drawing board and try again. We recommend setting goals such as:
- Increase firm-wide adoption of journey-based marketing
- Decrease cost of acquisition by 10% within 18 months
- Increase firm-wide adoption of Client Lifetime Value as key journey metric
- Improve new employee onboarding scores by 35% in 18 months
- At the very beginning of the journey mapping session, have the highest-level executive, preferably the CEO or President come in and set the tempo. Have them clearly articulate the purpose of the client journey mapping effort and say out loud, what s/he would like in the outcomes when the process is complete.
- Set acceptable ‘ground rules’ for participation. (example, “Be present, or not—but not both.”
- Set proper context for employee participation in client journey mapping. Make it clear why participants are involved in the process of outcome-oriented client journey mapping.
- Tie client journey mapping to every individual participant’s role. Answer the question, “Why am I involved in this journey mapping process?” (examples: “Because you are on the front line every day, accountable for solving client problems.” Or. “Because you are responsible for making prospective clients feel comfortable with our onboarding process.”)
- Do the work in advance to establish consensus on the client segments for which you wish to map. Stick with one client segment at first. When your mapping skills improve, move on to the next segment. Do not try to map all clients in one enormous generic segment.
- Don’t limit your firm to existing client segments. Harness the power of outcome-oriented journey mapping to improve win rates and more business with ideal client prospects.
- Do the work in advance to establish the linear, time-based client journey phases (1. Research providers, 2) narrow list of potential providers, 3) interview potential providers, 4) hire firm, 5) onboarding, 6) work with…. 10) closeout project…etc.) for each segment you wish to map. Do not begin the client journey mapping process by asking the participants to guess the journey phases.
- Invite the right participant cohort. Don’t just invite firm leaders and decision makers. While it’s imperative to have them participate, make sure you have horizontal and vertical diversity in your mapping efforts. Vertically, make sure you have top-level decision makers all the way down to the front desk. Horizontally, make sure you have Sales, Marketing, HR, Finance, Operations, Project Managers, internal administrators, technology/IT participating. Added Bonus: invite a client into your mapping session that represents the segment you are mapping to get up close and personal perspectives that cut straight to the point.
- Remind all participants the specific reason why the firm is journey mapping. The more specific, the better. (Example: We are here today to map one ideal client journey. They represent a prospective high-value segment who has a client lifetime value greater than X in the real estate developer category who is looking to work with an engineering firm with design/build capabilities in the Southeast and has at least two projects exceeding $15 million, each. You all have been invited to participate because each of you plays an important role and are accountable for this key account’s experience with our firm.)
- Make it abundantly clear what the outcome of the journey mapping exercise will yield. (Example: We are journey mapping to improve our win rate with X types of ideal clients. We will use the outcomes of this journey to influence how we attract and acquire this type of ideal client. At the completion of this segment’s journey, we will distribute it to Marketing, Business Development, Finance, HR, for their contribution in shaping our new objectives around doing more business with this segment of prospects.
- Clearly establish whether you are mapping current state journeys (how they are today with an orientation toward improving them in the future) or future state journeys (how we’d like them to be after we make improvements). We recommend mapping current state journeys first for each priority segment, then moving on to mapping the future state. But never both states at once.
- Not all valuable outputs of client journey mapping are objective and numerical or “hard” but some of them should be. Make sure not all outputs are “soft” or subjective and abstract. Examples of hard outputs are: 20% of the time the client does this, when confronted with our invoices, 43% of the time they call a project manager with questions or frustrations. Examples of “soft” outputs might be: at this stage, they probably feel happy or here is the stage where they might wonder what’s next.
- In the process of journey mapping, make sure to isolate and focus on the three critical keys.
- “moments of truth.” These are the points along the journey that matter most both internally and externally. These are also points along the journey where getting it right matters more to those who matter most.
- Points of interaction friction. These are spots along the journey where things tend to encounter obstacles or rough spots in the journey. No favors are done pretending these don’t exist. Make sure you’re being honest with yourselves in spotting these.
- Points of innovation potential. These are spots along the journey where you have the opportunity to either approach it differently or differentiate your firm entirely by performing different or better than all other competitors.
- If your teams are going through the process of client journey mapping, take the next logical step and map what parts of your organization either affect or are affected by actions in each journey phase. With respect to Teams, we recommend mapping “Teams” and “Tools” which are specific parts of the firm that have an impact (outgoing) or are impacted (incoming) by customer expectations or actions. With respect to Tools, we recommend mapping every program, process, and technology/platform that has either an incoming or outgoing impact on the client experience at each phase. (Example: in the onboarding stage of a new client, one Team might be the Sales group and a director. One Tool might be the CRM or the billing and invoicing platform.) Modern, outcome-oriented client journey mapping ties Teams and Tools to specific client journey phases.
- Communications in journey mapping are crucial. Take the time to do upstream, midstream and downstream communications planning around your firm’s client journey mapping.
- Upstream—make sure you are communicating your intentions and that you gather any and all information that matters to a) make the process most valuable to participants, and b) make the fact that you are journey mapping have a positive impact on the whole firm.
- Midstream—make sure you are communicating effectively to the participating team in the process of journey mapping. Everyone should know what, why and how behind the effort. Pulling busy leaders out of their day job without adequate communications is a recipe for disaster.
- Downstream—make sure you are leveraging the power of your journey mapping efforts to inform others who may not have been directly involved in the mapping process. Illustrate what outcomes emerged from the mapping process and what people in specific areas of the firm can learn from the outcomes. Print several large-format posters of the journey maps and post them in high traffic areas of the firm so people can see and learn more about how the firm, its employees and clients interact on a more granular basis.
- Tie the client journey maps to firm economics. Toward the conclusion of the client journey mapping process, do the math on how much time, resource energy, and money it takes to operate at each phase of the journey. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should attempt to answer questions like:
- How much does it cost the firm to acquire a new client along the earlier stages of the journey?
- Can we increase our budget to service client at this phase given there are more “moments of truth” than any other phase?
- Can we move money from that phase into this phase to innovate around client onboarding given the first impression we want to make with this segment?
- How much does it cost to service a client along the middle stages of the journey? Is it optimized or are we spending enough resources to ensure the best possible experience?
- Can we move some resources from one phase of the journey to fortify other parts of the client journey that might be more consequential to the paying client?
- What is the potential cost of losing a client in this segment if we don’t meet their expectations and they leave to work with competitive firm? Are we balancing every potential client loss possibility with an adequate level of experience protections?
- Align journey mapping outputs to Sales and Marketing efforts. Client journey maps done effectively should allow the firm to draw direct connections to content and marketing improvements that are wrapped around specific journey phases and interactions.
- Explore the power of digital, cloud-based customer journey mapping tools as opposed to post-it notes. We recommend tools specific to customer journey mapping such as Suite CX. They are extraordinarily powerful and allow you to do far more with your journey mapping than you could otherwise. If budget is a concern, we recommend using a sharable online spreadsheet such as Google Sheets to collect journey phased interactions that can later allow you and your teams to use pivot tables to align your three keys (moments of truth, friction and innovations) to each mapped client journey.
- Use an outside facilitator.
- Helps keep the participating team focused and on task toward mapping goals and objectives
- Helps maintain a disciplined outcome orientation
- Serves as an outside objective advocate for the client
- Understands the difference between customer and client journeys
- Can probe for depth and mediate tensions in mapping discreet phased interactions
- Can help tie the mapping effort to internal Teams, Tools and Economics
- Can convert the overall outcomes into recommendations for journey-based improvements
- Can design print-ready posterized versions of the map for firm-wide consumption
If you are able to follow these tips, you will be doing Outcome-Oriented B2B Client Journey Mapping.
As you can see there are a lot of guidelines and steps to keep straight. If you would like to take advantage of CX Pilots’ professional B2B Outcome-Oriented Client Journey Mapping, give us a call and let us know. We’ve successfully facilitated hundreds of these sessions and can help make sure you get the most from the journeys that matter most to your organization.