The journey of the buyer or customer to use a product is referred to as buyer’s journey and customer journey. The buyer’s journey is similar to the customer’s journey. However, there are some key differences that set them apart. The buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to evaluate, learn, and purchase a new service or product. Sometimes the efforts for both are confused and interchanges. Marketers need to understand the difference between buyer’s journey and customer’s journey. The two concepts fit well in a customer experience scenario.
The Difference between the Buyer’s Journey and the Customer’s Journey
There are significant differences between the buyer’s journey and the customer’s journey in SaaS. The main difference is with the results and timing. A buyer’s journey is the process that makes a prospect a customer. A customer journey is one that works to nurture existing customers and retain business. In SaaS companies, the timing is especially important since subscriptions are the key for renewals. Let us look at each one individually and learn the differences.
What is the Buyer’s Journey?
The buyer’s journey is the process and stages in which a buyer converts to customer. The stages the buyer goes through to make a purchase is the buyer’s journey. The stages are as follows.
In this stage, the buyer notices the problem or need. He or she comes to know the need for something to be addressed. This may mean they don’t know the core of the problem.
Here, the buyer understands the problem or need. They know what it is called. They can now research various options to solve it. Here they start looking at various solutions- this includes your brand and even competitors.
In this stage, the buyer is ready to make a purchase. They are busy finalizing the key aspects of the products they have chosen. In this finalizing stage, they are into details of the product.
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Buyer’s Journey in SaaS
In SaaS, the revenue model plays a pivotal role in influencing the buyer’s journey. SaaS has a recurring revenue system that requires customers to be with the company. The core focus in SaaS companies is retention and advocacy. In the buyer journey for SaaS, the most important thing is to add value to the buyer. You must display the value of the product or service to ensure the customer is sure of their choice. Ask questions like-
- Does the customer require the solution?
- How can I improve the communication?
- Is there any chance users are getting lesser value than possible?
Also, you can look at enriching each stage of the buyer’s journey through content, email marketing, and reinforce your value proposition. This is in the form of –
- How-to guides
- Blog posts
- Product updates
- Email newsletters
- Support information
- Training courses
- Regular product information
- NPS surveys
What is the Customer’s Journey in SaaS
The customer’s journey starts from the point of sale. It is not meant to make the buyer more aware of their problems and issues. Or educate the buyer about how the product can help solve a problem. The customer journey in SaaS is strengthening and improving brand loyalty with targeted content and messaging that delights customers and keeps them invested. In this, customers look to improve their experience as a customer. Customer’s journey has a goal to make the customer association with the company long term. This is supplemented with additional purchases and recommendations of products.
In case, energy and time is not spent with customers, they might churn. This will reduce the potential for growth and revenue. Also, you will get a better chance at keeping them for a longer time and they are becoming brand ambassadors. The main aim of the customer journey is to maximize customer lifetime value.
How to Improve Customer Journey
Content is the most important aspect here. Customers expect more from a company after they are signed up. They do not want messaging that is intended for a pre-purchase effect. They prefer messaging that is designed for improving their understanding of the product.
- Target customers via email, social media, and in-app messaging
- Educate customers about brand values
Create customer personas and send messaging as per that. This includes tweets, surveys, merchandising, newsletters, product tips, sponsorships, and giveaways.
You also need to introduce loyalty and promotion programs to keep customers invested, engaged, and active. Seeking feedback from customers on products or services is also important to them. Also, differentiating existing customers from new is necessary to improve the overall experience.
Connecting and communicating with customers in-person, over a video call, or through social media is important. Customer engagement at all levels will help enrich customer behavior and value.
The Difference: Buyer’s Journey and Customer’s Journey
One cannot be a customer unless they have experienced the buyer’s journey. So towards the end of the decision stage depending on the choice made, you will become a customer. Every customer is a buyer, but not every buyer is a customer. Buyer journey is when you nurture people by understanding their pain points. You need to make sure you meet the customer’s goals and solve their problems.
Once you have completed the buyer journey, you become a customer. Following a customer journey plan will help establish loyalty. The main difference in both the journeys is nurturing with a different objective in mind. Keeping various outcomes is what differentiates these two journeys.
In a buyer’s journey for SaaS companies, you look to instill trust about the company, product, values, and position. In the customer journey, the aim is to nurture them enough to make them brand ambassadors. These happy customers are walking testimonials of a better customer experience and an increased chance of customer retention.20
The key in either the buyer journey or the customer journey for SaaS is keeping the customer/buyer at the core. A buyer’s journey leads to a purchase and the customer journey is one that continues post the purchase to advocacy and customer retention.
Niyathi is an experienced content marketer with a love for SaaS tech products. She reads a lot (mostly fiction) and is a huge news junkie. Niyathi loves exploring different forms of inbound marketing and taking on challenges.
Published May 25, 2021, Updated May 25, 2021